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Roy Buchanan – American Axe – Live In 1974

 
American Axe - Live In 1974

It’s not too far of a stretch to say Roy Buchanan was one of the most unique guitar players in the past 40 years. This recording, done at two shows in 1974, does nothing to dispel that.

Very few rock guitarists were delving into the world of chromatics like he does on “Too Many Drivers.” His volume swells on the slow-blues version of “C.C. Rider” are an amazing thing to hear. Yes, plenty of folks do it now, but then, it certainly was not something you heard every day. The same song has a long solo that has two-and-three note bends that are truly a treat to hear. There’s a version of “Johnny B. Goode” here that has the goofiest, but most fun intro you’ll ever hear to that song.

Numerous songs here, including a wonderful version of “The Messiah Will Come Again,” have Roy’s trademark pick harmonic chirps. His very quick right hand makes him unique among his peers and helped him play unique licks and solos that developed in a way nobody else could. There are 11 songs here, and no boring guitar solos.

That’s the good news. The bad news is some of the problems that have always plagued Roy’s recordings show up here. The vocals, at best, are listenable. At their worst, well… It’s a pleasure when nobody is singing and Roy’s soloing.

The recordings are not bad, but not as clean as some may like. I personally loved the feel and sound. It felt like you were there, right down to the nasty buzz of Roy’s amp on some cuts.

This project was put together by Tom Principato, a pretty darn good player in his own right, and he did a nice job of assembling what a Roy concert might have sounded like.



This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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