I don’t suppose there’s a whole lot more that can be said about Mr. Buchanan. And some might argue that we really didn’t need another collection. While it’s true the Sweet Dreams: Anthology set released a few years back covers some of the same ground, this is a really nice package for folks who just want his essential early work. And, it does feature a couple of tunes not on that one.
It’s pretty much impossible to ignore Roy’s impact on guitarists. His monster tone, incredible volume manipulations, nasty honks and squeaks, and plain-old licks helped a generation of players that includes Jeff Beck to expand their playing vocabulary. His instrumental take on “Sweet Dreams” is a perfect illustration. Gorgeous fade-ins, followed by a ton of fantastic bends, and some brutally cutting runs, make it a perfect showcase for his talents.
And that could be said for pretty much all of the 12 cuts here. “The Messiah Will Come Again” lets Roy do some soulful soloing mixed with nasty open-string hammer-ons that end somewhere in the stratosphere. The volume swells here truly do have a soulful, “crying” quality.
This CD, as you’d expect, is best when Roy’s playing guitar. His vocals, spoken or otherwise, were always just a short bridge to get to the next solo. And even on cuts that feature a different singer, things are pretty boring until the guitar cranks it up.
MCA’s done a fine job with their millennium series. And this is a perfect addition to the catalog. If you’re not familiar with Buchanan, latch on to this. It’ll lead you to lots of other stuff
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.