Saturday, 14 December 2013

Pink Floyd - London, Rainbow Theatre 1972 02 17 (Bootleg)

Pink Floyd - France Single (Front) 1973


Size: 97 MB
Bitrate: 320
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Found in OuterSpace
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Rainbow Theatre, London
Music venue: 1960s. One-night concerts were held on the stage in the 1960s, with the building becoming one of the premier music venues in the capital.

It was at this theatre that Jimi Hendrix first burnt a guitar, with the collusion of his manager Chas Chandler and a journalist from NME. Press agent Tony Garland was dispatched to purchase lighter fluid and Jimi proceeded to set fire to his Fender Stratocaster guitar on 31 March 1967 on the opening night of the Walker Brothers tour, resulting in a hospital appointment for Jimi's burnt fingers and a moment that set the precedent for rock performances.[citation needed] Jimi later repeated the stunt at Monterey. Frank Zappa was given the burnt Astoria guitar by ex-Hendrix roadie 'H' at Miami, he had apparently acquired the guitar at some point and was then working for Zappa. When Jimi left the stage at The Finsbury Astoria, the guitar was intact apart from burns. The guitar handed to Frank Zappa in Miami was also intact, but the neck was removed later and ended up badly rotted after years left exposed to damp at Zappa's house.

The Beach Boys' album, Live In London, was recorded here in 1968.

Pink Floyd - France Single (Back) 1973
Music venue: 1970s-80s. Renamed "Odeon" on 17 November 1970, the theatre was closed by the Rank Organisation on 25 September 1971 with Bill Travers in Gorgo and Hayley Mills in Twisted Nerve.

The Odeon was converted into the Rainbow Theatre from 4 November 1971, when The Who performed the first concert in the newly named theatre. The Who later wrote and recorded the song "Long Live Rock", which celebrates the theatre.

Pink Floyd played a four-night stand at the venue during the beginning of their Eclipsed Tour, on which its main set is mostly known as the "pre-Dark Side Of The Moon" set, from 17–20 February 1972. The last night performance was partially broadcast on BBC Radio. The band also played two benefit concerts at the Rainbow on 4 November 1973 for Robert Wyatt, who had been recently paralyzed from a fall.


Yes filmed their concerts on 15 and 16 December 1972 at the Rainbow for the 1975 film release Yessongs. These are not necessarily the same recordings used for the triple live album Yessongs which was recorded from February through December 1972 and released in 1973. However, the two performances that are the same on the album and the film are "Close to the Edge" and "Würm".

June 1, 1974 is date of the collaborative performance at the Rainbow Theatre by Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Nico and Brian Eno. Other well-known musicians, including Mike Oldfield and Robert Wyatt, also contributed to the concert.
Queen recorded a concert at the Rainbow on 19th and 20th November 1974 called Live At The Rainbow; released on VHS in 1992 box set called: Box Of Tricks. 

Genesis performed many times at the Rainbow over their career. Their concert of 20 October 1973 was recorded and released as Live at the Rainbow Theatre. The concert recording was included on the first Genesis Archive set, released in 1998.

The Sweet also appeared at the Rainbow Theatre on 21 December 1973 and subsequently released a live album called Live At The Rainbow 1973.

Eric Clapton recorded a concert there in January 1973. Featured artists who played with him were Pete Townshend, Stevie Winwood, Ron Wood, Rich Grech, Jim Capaldi, Jimmy Karstein & Rebop.

Van Morrison performed two nights at this venue in July 1973, with his band at the time The Caledonia Soul Orchestra. The second of the performances was broadcast in May 1974, as the first ever simultaneous broadcast, on BBC 2 and Radio 2. The concert was voted by Q magazine readers as one of the top live performances of all time.

Pink Floyd - Money Single 1973 (Country Unknown)
Several of the songs featured in the two concerts were included in Morrison's 1974 double live album It's Too Late to Stop Now.

Kool & the Gang recorded three live tracks at the Rainbow for their Love & Understanding album, released in 1976.
In 1977, the Ramones played two gigs at the venue, on 31 December and 1 January 1978. The New Year's Eve concert was recorded and released as the It's Alive album.

On 1–4 August 1977 Little Feat played 4 nights there, with the Tower of Power horn section. The concerts were recorded and some material was later released on Waiting for Columbus. Mick Taylor was guest guitarist on the third night and played on two songs, "A Apolitical Blues" & "Teenage Nervous Breakdown".

Bob Marley & the Wailers played on 1, 2, 3 and 4 June 1977 at The Rainbow Theatre, as part of the Exodus Tour. The last show of the tour was released as the album Bob Marley and the Wailers Live! at the Rainbow. Thanks largely to this album Bob Marley was established as the Third World's first superstar
, a legacy that survives thirty years after the album's release. In the UK alone it stayed on the chart for 56 consecutive weeks and birthed 3 hit singles. In July 1991 a video documentary, Bob Marley and the Wailers: Live! At the Rainbow directed by Keef,[9] was released in the UK. On 16 October 2001 Tuff Gong released five songs from the 4th of June 1977 Rainbow Theatre performance on disc two of Exodus (Deluxe Edition).

Thin Lizzy recorded part of their Live and Dangerous album at the Rainbow in 1977. Classic Rock magazine readers voted it the best live rock album of all time.

About the song "Money": 
"Money" is a track from English progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. Written by Roger Waters, it opened side two of the original vinyl LP, and is the only song on the album to enter the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Money" is noted for its unusual 7/4–4/4 time signature, and the tape loop of money-related sound effects that opens the song.

Roger Waters and David Gilmour stated that the song had been composed primarily in 7/8 time; it was composed in 7/4,according to Gilmour in an interview with Guitar World magazine in 1993.

The song changes to 4/4 time for an extended guitar solo. The first of three choruses which comprise the solo was recorded using real-time double tracking. Gilmour played the chorus nearly identically in two passes recorded to two different tracks of a multi-track tape machine. The second chorus is a single guitar. The doubled effect for the third chorus was created using automatic (or "artificial") double-tracking (ADT).

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One of Gilmour's ideas for the solo section was that, for the second chorus of the solo, all reverb and echo effects would be completely off (referred to as "dry"), creating the sense of just four musicians playing in a small room. For this "dry" chorus, all musicians played softly and subtly, with Gilmour's solo, now one single guitar, playing very sparsely. Then, for the third chorus, the dynamics would suddenly rise, with heavy use of reverb and echo (a "wet" sound), additional rhythm-guitar parts in the background, and the drums becoming heavy and almost chaotic.

The form and chord progression are based on the standard twelve-bar blues in the key of B minor, with the vocal melody and nearly all of Gilmour's soloing based on the pentatonic and blues scales.[7] Two twelve-bar verses are followed by a twenty-bar instrumental section that features a blues-style tenor saxophone solo (played by Dick Parry) along with keyboard, bass and drums and a further two-bar intro in 4/4 leading to the guitar solo, which is structured like a twelve-bar blues, but doubled to a twenty-four-bar length.

The lyrics are briefly referenced in the film Pink Floyd The Wall, when the protagonist, Pink, is caught writing poems in class by his teacher. The teacher snatches the poem from him and reads it in a very sarcastic, demeaning manner, practically encouraging Pink's classmates to laugh. The poem is a verse of lyrics to "Money".

The demo tracks for the song, including some of the sound effects, were recorded in a makeshift recording studio Roger Waters had in his garden shed.

 As recorded by the band, the song has a bluesy, Transatlantic feel, unlike Waters' original demo version, which he later described as "prissy and very English". As heard on Classic Albums: Pink Floyd – The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon, the demo is in G-sharp minor, as opposed to the B minor of the final version.

The instrumental jam was a collaborative effort, with Gilmour overseeing the time change as well as his own guitar and vocal work, and Richard Wright and Nick Mason improvising their own parts. Dick Parry contributed the tenor saxophone solo that precedes the guitar solo. Gilmour's input is also discernible in the final mix, which features contrasting "wet" sections, with thick reverb and delay effects, and "dry" sections. In particular, during the second chorus of the guitar solo, all the reverb and delay effects are suddenly pulled out, creating a much smaller and more intimate virtual space. To produce the distinctive piercing high notes that distinguish the final chorus of his solo, Gilmour played a customized Lewis guitar with twenty-four frets, allowing a full four-octave range.

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One of the most distinctive elements of "Money" is the rhythmic sequence of sound effects that begins the track and is heard throughout the first several bars. This was created by splicing together recordings Waters had made of clinking coins, a ringing cash register, tearing paper, a clicking counting machine and other items to construct a seven-beat effects loop.[2][10] It was later adapted to four tracks in order to create a "walk around the room" effect in the quadraphonic mix of Dark Side of the Moon.

In the video Classic Albums: Pink Floyd – The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon, engineer Alan Parsons described the recording of the band's initial backing track for the song: They used the sound-effect tape loop as a sort of metronome, but Parsons gradually faded out the loop before the vocals started. As the song progressed, the band gradually sped up, yet later, between the second verse and the saxophone solo, Parsons briefly raised up the volume of the effects loop, and just by coincidence, it turned out to fit the beat. After this point, the loop is not heard again.

From 1972-75, "Money" was a regular feature of the band's Dark Side of the Moon set, and it was routinely performed as an encore during the band's 1977 tour. These later performances would typically last as long as twelve minutes. From 1987-90, the band performed the song during tours supporting A Momentary Lapse of Reason, their first album without Waters, who had left the band in December 1985. In 1994 the band performed the song during tours supporting The Division Bell, their second album without Waters. An extended version of the song, again lasting up to twelve minutes, was regularly performed during Gilmour's 1984 US tour in support of his solo album About Face.

Waters has also regularly included it on his solo tours. For his tour supporting The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, he sang the lead vocals himself. For his Radio K.A.O.S. tour, guest vocalist and keyboardist Paul Carrack sung the lead. For his In the Flesh tour, it was sung by Doyle Bramhall II. For The Dark Side of the Moon Live, it was sung by Dave Kilminster. "Money" was also performed by Waters at Live Earth's Concert at Giants Stadium on 7 July 2007.

"Money" was performed during Pink Floyd's reunion show, for which Waters rejoined the band (after more than two decades), at the Live 8 concert in London in 2005, along with "Breathe" (including the reprise that follows "Time"), "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb". Unusually for a live Pink Floyd performance, at Live 8 the band kept the song's solo to three choruses, as it is on the album.

Pink Floyd
London, Rainbow theatre
February 17, 1972

David Gilmour (Guitar, Vocals)
 Nick Mason (Drums)
 Richard Wright (Keyboards)
 Roger Waters (Bass Guitar, Vocals)

01. Breathe 02.59
02. On The Run (variation) 06.26
03. Time, A Great Gig In The Sky (variation) 11.27
04. A Great Gig In The Sky (variation) Money 08.55 
05. Us And Them 02.33
06. Any Colour You Like 4.43
07. Brain Damage 03.57
08. Eclipse 01.22

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Friday, 13 December 2013

Not to be missed: John Compton - To Luna (Very Good Rock Album US 1973)



Size: 136 MB
Bitrate: 256
mp3
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Parker Compton co-founded the acoustic band APPALOOSA with violinist Robin Batteau in the late '60s. Both musicians had been heavily influenced by the folk scene in their hometown, Cambridge, MA. Compton got his start singing in a Cambridge church choir before he and Batteau began playing the coffeehouse circuit together.

As the 1972 press release for Compton's solo album, To Luna, tells it, John Compton showed up at producer Al Kooper's Columbia Records office in late 1968, hoping to show Kooper his songs. Uninterested, Kooper told the kid (Compton was 18) to come back some other time. But a little while later, Kooper came in on Compton and Batteau performing for the office secretaries. Won over, Kooper recorded their demo, and within a year the newly signed musicians had an album out, the self-titled debut from their group Appaloosa. Also including bassist David Reiser and cellist Eugene Rosov, Appaloosa was joined in the studios by members of Blood, Sweat & Tears, and by Kooper himself.

A year after Appaloosa's 1969 release (which was produced by Al Kooper) on Columbia Records, a 19-year-old John Compton got to take the stage at Fillmore East the last weekend of December, along with the Allman Brothers, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Appaloosa soon gave way to a duo project of Compton & Batteau, and the two musicians recorded Compton & Batteau in California for Columbia. By 1971, Compton was on his own with a new LP, To Luna, but after this, it would be over 20 years before he returned to the studios. His return was marked by 1995's Mother of Mercy, which was followed by a six-song self-released recording of Compton on a Vermont radio station.

John Compton interview by Nick Warburton: "John Parker Compton talks to Nick Warburton about Appaloosa, Compton & Batteau and his early solo career."

Am I right that you are a native of Boston? Tell me about your early musical influences and what prompted you to take up the guitar and write such brilliantly observational songs?

I grew up in Cambridge, MA across the river from Boston. It was a ten-minute walk from my house to Harvard Square and the infamous Club 47. As a young and impressionable teenager I got to see many great performers like Joan Baez, Tim Hardin, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Richard & Mimi Farina, and Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Club 47 was a small and intimate club and all these shows were mind blowing. Boston also had some fantastic folk clubs at the bottom of Beacon Hill, like the Sword in the Stone Coffeehouse and the Turk’s Head Coffeehouse and also two great jazz and blues clubs on Newbury Street called Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop that featured acts like Chuck Berry, Pharoah Sanders, John Hammond and Mose Alison.

The Beatles’ “Michelle” was a worldwide hit in 1964 and it really made a huge impression on me and helped me to understand that the violin and guitar should be right next to the singer in the mix. Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” and Donovan’s “Jennifer Juniper” really set the stage for the era of mellow folk rock. The two records that had the most influence on me at that time and still today are the amazing Tim Hardin I and Tim Hardin II recordings. The production is so beautiful and Tim’s poetry and vocal delivery are just too much. I used to listen to these records non-stop. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Tim Hardin’s “Misty Roses” on the radio late one night. It totally blew my mind. Tim Hardin I & II are un-like any other records except for George Moustaki’s French masterpiece recorded in 1969 that features his hit songs “Il Est Trop Tard” and “Ma Solitude” that my wife introduced me to.

What prompted me to take up the guitar was listening to the delicate double-octave guitar style of Peter, Paul & Mary, where one guitar is playing in C and the second guitar is playing in G with a capo on the 6th fret creating a rich harmonic symphony. After hearing their music I quickly ended my classical guitar lessons and moved over to folk music.

When I was sixteen I attended a small boarding school in farm country in upstate New York and was fortunate to have a great English teacher who taught poetry brilliantly. I wrote the lyrics to “Tulu Rogers” and “Pascal’s Paradox” first as poems for a poetry homework assignment and soon turned them into songs.

You began playing as a solo artist in folk clubs in Boston when you were only seventeen. I believe you ran into Van Morrison during 1968 when you were only a year older and he critiqued your early songs. That must have been quite an experience?

Paul McNeil who I will always think of as the “Gordon Lightfoot of New England” helped me get my first job at the Sword in the Stone Coffeehouse and from there at the tender age of seventeen I started playing the folk circuit as a solo performer.

I remember in 12th grade coming home for vacation from boarding school and hearing that Van Morrison had just moved to Cambridge. I didn’t believe it at first. Then I heard that my friend John Sheldon who was 16 at the time was playing lead guitar in Van’s new band! This was just too much and sounded like some unreal movie plot. I didn’t believe it until a second friend confirmed the story.

One evening I rode my bicycle over to John’s parents house and lo and behold, as I walked into John’s basement there was Van Morrison singing “Rosie” backed by an electric trio. The intensity and power of Van’s vocal delivery was incredible. It knocked me out. After attending Van’s rehearsals, I got up the courage to walk up to and talk to Van and ask him if I could play one of my songs for him sometime. Much to my amazement Van replied in his thick accent, “Sure, stop by his house sometime.”

Standing on Van’s porch a few weeks later, excited and nervous, I rang his doorbell. Van’s wife Janet Planet opened the door and invited me in and showed me into their kitchen as Van’s children ran around their small house. Van came downstairs and I handed him a reel-to-reel tape of my recordings and he threaded them onto a Wollensak tape recorder sitting on his kitchen table. He listened to my song “Subway” and a few others and then he replied, “I like your songs.” That was a meeting that I will always cherish.

In 1975, I tracked down Van’s production company in England and sent him an “Appaloosa” LP and the Compton & Batteau “In California” LP. A year later, Van played a concert at the Harvard Square Theater in Cambridge and I ran into him walking in front of the theater just before his concert. I asked Van if he ever received the LPs that I sent to him, to which he replied in his strong accent, “Yeah John, thanks, I put them on cassette.” I couldn’t believe it.

Soon after this encounter, you started working with David Batteau, who introduced you to his brother Robin, a violin virtuoso. What were your first impressions of your soon-to-be collaborator and what attracted you to him in terms of working together?

David Batteau and I were former schoolmates, so one day I invited David (who later wrote many hit songs like Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” and a great song called “Tell Her She’s Lovely”) to play cello at one of my early gigs in Boston. One afternoon while practicing at David’s house his brother Robin walked in with his violin and it just clicked. Robin intuitively played each song perfectly the first time, after only listening to it for a minute.

One weekend I invited Robin to a gig that I played every Sunday afternoon at Christ Church’s Outdoor Concerts Series hosted by Bob Gordon on the Cambridge Common. We were the only acoustic folk act and people liked us. From that point on we performed there every weekend during the next two summers.

One of your shows as a duo – a gig at the Turk’s Head Coffeehouse – was captured on tape and released by MC Records in 2006. How did they stumble across the tapes?

I found the tapes a few years ago and sent them to Audio-Resorations.com – not knowing how many songs were on them. The tapes had been in storage for 35 years but amazingly they sounded fine. The recordings really highlight Robin’s unique violin live performance style. I released the songs on my VMC label. (I highly recommend Mark Lyons at Audio-Restorations.com. He does an incredible job restoring tapes and also transferring LPs to CD).

Among the seven tracks from this show are a couple of songs – “Subway” and “Green Brown Sound” – that were not used by your subsequent project, Appaloosa. How come?

When we first met Al Kooper, he booked a demo recording session at Columbia Studios and we recorded twenty-two songs. Al picked eleven of the twenty-two songs for our LP.

The remainder of the tracks on the VMC CD “John Parker Compton – Live at the Turk’s Head Coffeehouse” were sourced from a recording at WHRB studios in Cambridge and a home reel-to-reel tape machine. Tell me about these recordings because once again there are a handful of songs that you didn’t revisit such as “Loving Her Makes Today” and “We Can Forget.”

It was customary after playing a radio show in those days to get a reel-to-reel tape of the radio broadcast. The home recordings were done at boarding school and at Robin’s house on a Wollensak tape recorder.

It’s fascinating listening to these live recordings because the songs that turned up on the Appaloosa album sound pretty well formed and this was only months away from you demoing them for Al Kooper. Can you reveal some of the inspirations behind these songs?

Robin and I had played the songs at coffeehouses for about a year before we recorded “Appaloosa.” I wrote most of the songs for “Appaloosa” for my girlfriend at boarding school. The inspiration for “Pascal’s Paradox” came about in a chemistry class while having the theory of Pascal’s Paradox explained and drawn on the blackboard. I wrote “Thoughts of Polly” for my stepbrother’s girlfriend and soon to be wife Polly. The song is in open D tuning. ”Rosalie” is another girlfriend song and in open G tuning. The song “Glossolalia” came about in a funny way. We got a gig a Gordon College in a town north of Boston. We didn’t know until we arrived at the college that it was a religious institution. Our concert was held in the college chapel and while standing on the steps of the stone church waiting to go in, I noticed a service schedule on the side of the door that mentioned the word “Glossolalia.” I had never seen the word before but I liked the way it sounded and used it for a girl’s name.



How did you meet the other musicians that made up Appaloosa and where did the name come from?

David Reiser and I were former schoolmates. Eugene Rosov was easy to find: he was living at the Batteau’s house and going to Harvard and rounded out our sound perfectly. Prior to recording our “Appaloosa” LP, Robin and I recorded two of my songs, “Rosalie” and “Downtown Row” at Intermedia Sound in Boston. It was a beautiful studio. We asked David to play Fender bass for the session. David was only 16 but a real pro bassist and played with several bands at many of Boston’s jazz clubs. The recording session went so well that the owner of the studio offered to print us a hundred 45s. I remember that we got them added to some jukeboxes at various locations around town. David suggested the name “Appaloosa” for the band.

Can you tell me about the recording of Appaloosa’s album? Did you record as a band and then Al Kooper brought in members of Blood, Sweat & Tears and other side players to complete the tracks or did you record together?

We recorded all of the songs as a live band, doing several takes and picking the best one. Bobby Columby (BS&T drummer) recorded with us on songs like “Feathers”, “Yesterday’s Roads”, “Rosalie” “Thoughts of Polly” and “Georgia Street.” It was such a thrill to watch Bobby play in his theatrical drumming style. Bobby’s timing was always perfect and he really put his heart and soul into each song. He was a super funny guy and also telling us jokes in between sessions and this really helped relax us since it was our first time in New York.

Fred Lipsius added the great saxophone part on “Thoughts of Polly” as an add-on track. He recorded it in the control as we all sat there and then Al said, “Let’s play the saxophone track backwards”. That’s why his part sounds so mysterious.

We recorded “Now That I Want You” and “Bi-Weekly” live in CBS’ larger studio in the center of Manhattan with a horn section. Al brought in Charlie Calello (Laura Nyro’s producer/arranger) to do the horn arrangements. Al also asked Laura Nyro’s guitar player to the session and he added the nice Glen Campbell-ish lead guitar on “Bi-Weekly.” Kooper was also super kind to us. I remember one evening he invited us to apartment to meet his wife and they both made us popcorn.

“Now That I Want You” screamed to be released as a single and I am sure would have been a hit. How well do you think the label promoted you as an act and got behind the album?

“Now That I Want You” was our signature song at live shows. Robin’s violin lead allows wowed the audience and me everytime. His double-string violin technique is really something else. I fondly remember how Clive Davis, Columbia’s president at the time, was such a gentleman to us and was super-friendly and supportive. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a manager so we had no one to talk to Columbia. We were just teenagers and so naive and amazed to be in a big city.

Are there any memorable live dates from this period that you performed as a group?

Playing the Filmore East was exciting. We opened for the Allman Brothers. I remember Gregg Allman saying to us when we walked past their dressing room, “Hey, where are your groupies?” and Eugene Rosov our cellist held up and pointed to a book by Francis Bacon that he was carrying from one of his courses at Harvard. I’d love to find a tape of that show. We also opened for the Young Rascals at Harvard Stadium on a beautiful autumn day and we opened for Van Morrison in Boston. Earlier, in 1968, Robin and I opened for Tim Hardin for his weeklong gig at the Jazz Workshop. I was scared to meet Tim Hardin in person, having personally seen him when I was younger throw a glass ashtray at someone in the audience after he asked everyone to be quiet. But Tim Hardin was a gentleman and invited us all out to dinner with him after the concerts.


Appaloosa performed on two television shows, one on PBS Television for Boston and also on “Steve Paul’s Scene” a music show in New York City. I tried unsuccessfully to find the tapes of the broadcasts.

You penned all of the songs for the Appaloosa album. Did the others see it as a democratic band or really your musical baby? What prompted Eugene Rosov and David Reiser to leave?

I came with the songs and Robin, Eugene and David added the arrangements. Eugene Rosov went back to Harvard University and David joined a jazz band.

With the group dead in the water, you and Robin decided to head for California. What made you decide to relocate to the West Coast?

Robin’s wife at the time was attending one of the Pomona College’s outside of Los Angeles so I convinced a friend of mine to drive out to California and visit them. As soon as we arrived, Robin and I drove into Hollywood and met an A&R guy at Columbia named Eddie Mathews and he signed us to do our second Columbia record.

Like “Appaloosa” I am a huge fan of Compton and Batteau’s “In California”. Even though you dominate the songwriting, it seems to be more of a partnership with Robin now singing and writing a couple of tracks, one of which I believe was issued as a single.

Robin asked to add two songs. Robin’s song “California” is a great song and really has an AM radio vibe. The song was released as a single.

How did the “In California” album come about? Did you write the songs for it once you’d got out to Los Angeles or were some written prior to moving?

We got signed to Columbia the first week I arrived and we immediately started working with our producer Abner Spector (no relation to Phil Spector). I wrote some of the songs prior to the trip west and rest of the songs in California while living there.

The support group features keyboard player Bill Elliott who also turns up on your debut solo album. How did you find him?

Bill grew up in a town next to Cambridge where I lived. The first time I heard Bill play was with Lorin Rowan and I was knocked out. He’s like a modern day Mozart and really looked the part back then. So I called Bill and invited him out to record with us in California. Bill is one of the most gifted keyboard players I know. He’s right up there with Al Kooper. Like Robin, Bill only needs to hear a song once and he already knows it perfectly. Bill’s piano playing adds so much to my songs. I remember we went to a musical rental store and rented a harpsichord for my song “Essa Vanessa.” And of course the studio was well stocked with beautiful grand pianos and Hammond B3 organs. I miss those days when you had to spend an hour setting up the microphones around a piano. Now pianos are recorded using computer chips.


John Compton 1972
Who was responsible for bringing in Poco members Jim Messina and Rusty Young and Rick Nelson sidemen Randy Meisner and Pat Shanahan? What do you think these musicians added compared to the musicians that Al drafted in on the Appaloosa album?

Poco was recording in the studio across the hall from us at CBS in Hollywood. One day in between sessions I saw Jim Messina sitting playing electric guitar wearing bright red cowboy boots. What a thrill to have Jim offer to record with us. His lead guitar work on “Honeysuckle” is so upbeat. And having Randy and Pat record live with us on songs like “Homesick Kid” was a dream come true. We recorded the songs as a live band.


Did you go out and play any live gigs as a duo once you hit the West Coast? Any notable shows?

We played at the University of Ohio for a week and recorded all the shows. I had the tapes for years but one day they disappeared. We also performed at the Anti-Vietnam War Concert in Washington, D.C. in 1971 to a crowd of 50,000 people and the following day to a similar crowd at an outdoor concert in Boston at the Boston Commons.

Am I right that while you were recording “In California”, Sly & The Family Stone were recording next door?

Yes. Everyday we would see Sly arriving in his Winnebego mobile home wearing these knee-high fur boots. It was quite a sight. One of my all-time favorite records is Sly & the Family Stone’s masterpiece “Fresh.” What an amazing record.

There are some absolutely brilliant songs on this record like “Laughter Turns to Blue”, “Proposition” and “Homesick Kid” – what prompted you to write this new batch of material?

“Laughter Turns to Blue” was inspired by the great lyric imagery in the Christmas song “Good King Wenceslas.” I wrote “Propositions” as my response to the U.S. army draft and being ordered down the U.S. Army barracks in Boston to take a physical. Living through the days of the Vietnam War was so intense. I wrote the song because at least I lived. I wrote “Homesick Kid” for a girl that I met in Berkley, CA.

There was a three-year gap between “In California” and “To Luna”. How did you keep yourself busy?

I bought a farm built outside of Cambridge and played at various clubs in the area.

I always think your image on the cover of “To Luna” reminds me of Beck twenty years later. Where was that shot taken?

A photographer named Frank Siteman (www.franksiteman.com) who was a friend of Robin’s and mine offered to take the album cover for the “To Luna” LP. I showed up at Frank’s place having no idea what to expect for the photo session. We drove out to a nearby beach where Frank took the album cover photo with the lunar-looking landscape. The Muslim clothing that he brought for the session adds a unique look. Frank also took the B&W photos that I feature on my You Tube video for “Feathers” (Live at the Turk’s Head Coffeehouse) on www.youtube.com/appaloosa1969.

“Polinate The Blue” ventures into new territory for you – a sort of bluesy, funk stew. Did you feel as a solo artist you were freed up to experiment in a heavier material?

That song and also the songs “Lookout”, “Maker” and “Ona Find Me Home” are the result of me listening to a record that really influenced me: Dr. John’s Cajun-stew funk classic recording “Dr. John the Night Tripper.” Gris-Gris Gumbo Yah! (I later used the female back up singers influence on my second solo recording “Mother of Mercy” CD in 1995.) Dr. John’s grumbly lead vocal set against the female back up singers and wild percussion and lead guitar creates such an incredible atmosphere. I wonder if his classic song “Walk On Guilded Splinters” has ever been used as a movie picture soundtrack?

Harvey Brooks and Billy Mundi were regulars up in Bearsville but where did Roland Dufault, who adds some sparkingly lead guitar, David Mowry and Stu come from?

First, I want to say that recording with Harvey Brooks and Billy Mundi was an unbelievable experience. They were like a high performance engine in the studio. Roland Dufault went to my boarding school in upstate New York. I met David Mowry at the Cambridge Common concerts. David’s vocal delivery in those days sounded exactly like Richie Havens. When you were walking up to the concert from a distance you would swear that it was Richie Havens singing on stage. David plays guitar like an acoustic Carlos Santana and is an incredible live performer. Both Roland and David really added a great vibe to my “To Luna” LP.


How did you get to record up at Bearsville, most famous being the Band’s home patch?

It was a fluke. Robin and I were driving somewhere and Robin’s VW broke down just outside of Woodstock, NY on a cold winter night. I worked on the engine in the cold but there was one part that wouldn’t budge. We hitchhiked into Woodstock and we ended up at a bar named the Bear Cafe. We had our instruments with us and someone yelled out, “Hey, play us a song!” Peter Edminston was in the audience and called me a year later and offered to produce my “To Luna” LP.

What is the intriguingly titled “Leave My Casos in Laos” about?

It’s about the insane wars that America waged in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I wrote the song in the spirit of someone who had been drafted into the army and killed in action and who left a note saying that they would like to be buried in the foreign land.

My personal favorite on the album is the hypnotic “Shortlands” which features Bill Elliot, first heard on “In California” providing some heart rendering piano work. What inspired this song?

I wrote the song about my girlfriend at the time, as a way to say that we had plenty but in actually we had nothing. The guitar is a variation of an open D tuning. I was planning to record the song with just vocal and acoustic guitar.

After playing the song once in the studio, Bill Elliott said over the studio intercom system, “Hey John, I’d like to come in and try something.” Mark Harmon our engineer miked the grand piano with stereo microphones to get the full rich piano sound. We recorded the song in a few takes. Bill’s piano playing really is theatrical.

“Verandas” harks back to Appaloosa and Compton and Batteau in style. Was this an old song that you rediscovered? It has a really beautiful feel about it. 

[Source: www.garagehangover.com/johncompton/]

01. Colano Sound  3:59
02. Short Lands  3:56
03. Lookout  4:25
04. Verandas  3:41
05. Maker  5:50
06. Polinate The Blues  4:29
07. Yorkshire Pines  4:30
08. Hot Cross Buns  2:39
09. Ona Find Me Home  4:49
10. Leave My Casos In Laos  5:14

Bonus Tracks
11. Bob Dylan's Cap  6:42
12. I Like It  3:19
13. The City Looks So Big  2:46
14. Spaceride  2:53
15. Sally Go 'Round The Roses  3:30

1. Link
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2. Link
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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Roy Buchanan - At My Father's Place, Roslyn, Long Island, NY USA, 1978-05-06 (Bootleg)


Size: 182 MB
Bitrate: 320
mp3
Found in my BluesMobile
Some Artwork

Buchanan's reputation as a hot-shot guitarist extends back to the beginnings of rock & roll itself. On the road and recording with Dale Hawkins by his teens, Buchanan became the law of the land around the Washington, D.C., area by the mid-to-late '60s. His use of the Fender Telecaster, using high harmonic squeals in place of feedback and distortion, was part and parcel of rock guitar's vocabulary by the early '70s. A reluctant superstar, Buchanan later became more unfocused as his career waned, but his unique stylings remain etched into his best records. Sadly, when Buchanan seemed on the verge of a comeback in, he was said to have hung himself in a police cell in 1988, after he was arrested on a drunk-driving charge. Many have a hard time with this claim of suicide - The truth may very well be he was killed by the police - Kneed in the throat??? then made to look like he hung himself. He left behind a wife 6 kids and grandchildren and a number of records which testify that he was a consummate guitarist, capable of tones and techniques that other guitarists only dream of.

Roy Buchanan - 1972 Album
In 1960 Roy Buchanan replaced Fred Carter Jr. as guitarist in Ronnie Hawkins' Hawks. After a short period, he left the Hawks and teenager Robbie Robertson took over the lead guitar. Buchanan, one of Robertson's main guitar influences, also performed as an opening act for the reunited Band on their 1987 tour.

This Article originally appeared in Vintage Guitar Aug. '99 issue.

His battered 1953 Telecaster guitar got inside your head and grabbed you in the gut. He had eclectic musical tastes, an arsenal of techniques, a devotion to craft, and something to say. And he said it with soul.

Those are mere generalizations, of course, and Buchanan commanded such diverse skills it is hard to generalize about him. The single impression emblazoned upon my mind, 25 years after seeing and hearing him perform for the first time, is his emotive power - he conveyed feeling. Buchanan serenaded, saddened, exhilarated, riveted, and hypnotized his audiences, all in the space of an hour's performance at the small clubs he preferred. On his Tele he expressed the known range of human emotions and more, including intuitive matters of the heart and mind that defy description. In Buchanan's hands the Telecaster sang, soared, screamed, whispered and wailed like it never had before, or has since. He could play virtually anything he imagined, and his imagination knew few boundaries. He was that damn good.

Buchanan could be hypnotic, but that's not to say his playing was exclusively ethereal or transcendent. On the contrary, it was often the gut-grabbing immediacy, the attention-demanding, trebly nature of his Telecaster sound that took country, blues, rock and roll, or anything else he tried someplace it hadn't been. In contrast to many lead guitarists, his genius often poured forth as he backed a singer. As a sideman, sometimes in his own band, he produced imaginative rhythm work and fills. When it came time to solo, he composed riffs of astonishing dexterity and beauty. 

Roy Buchanan - 1974 Album
Often he took time to craft them for maximum melodic and emotional effect, for he had little compulsion to impress. At other times Roy came out, as one reviewer put it, "...with his pants on fire," cranking out commanding leads from the get-go. At the climax of a solo, he might go over the top, working the strings from the nut to the bridge, using all five fingers of both hands to create a mind-bending orgy of sounds. The fingers of his right hand could move in a fingerpicking blur that has been described by a former bandmate as resembling dancing spiders. He pioneered numerous techniques, from the pinched harmonic (or "squealer") to his manipulation of the Telecaster's simplified tone and volume controls to produce wah-wah effects that predated pedals by a decade.

Buchanan's techniques stunned, puzzled and intimidated other players. Still, it was always his expressions - the musical and emotional effects he achieved through technique - that set him apart. Roy had a way of playing a note, a chord, a whistling harmonic or a steel guitar-like lick at the precise moment it produced the greatest emotional impact. It seems natural, in retrospect, that Buchanan made his mark primarily as a performer, not a recording artist. Though he made a few hit records, his music came alive on the stage of a darkened nightclub in a way that bred affection and loyalty in his audience, the devoted denizens of the midnight hour. He took listeners to places of ineffable beauty, or seared them with tortured blues. Crowds rocked clubs to their foundations with demands for "More!" Buchanan's music was consistently soulful, searing and mysterious - words that describe both his guitar style and his personality. One reflected the other.

Roy Buchanan Advertise 1973
Though many great electric guitarists might be said to combine technical virtuosity and emotive power, with Roy Buchanan there was always more, and not all of it good. His seemingly boundless talents were matched by a penchant for forbidden fruits and a confounding predilection for anonymity. Sensibly, he enjoyed his privacy and time with family and kept fame and its attendant pressures at arm's length. Neither good fortune nor bad luck ever changed Buchanan's natural aversion to the spotlight. One has to admire his humanity, even as forces beyond his control swept him up and pushed him onto center stage. After his "discovery" by various media in 1971 - 15 years after he began his professional career, a career that seemed permanently stalled - and recording and touring offers poured in, Buchanan told an interviewer, "This star business scares the hell out of me."

Roy's homespun approach often protected him, but it also took its toll. Through a combination of Scottish taciturnity, deep shyness, a sensitive spirit, a rural upbringing and a journeyman's cynicism, Buchanan carved out a crooked path for himself, one strewn sometimes with obstacles of his own making. There is much to puzzle over in Buch-anan's contradictory character, his extraordinary musical gifts, the ups and downs of his lengthy career and his horrible death. He could be humble and kind, and when he indulged his taste for forbidden fruits he could be opaque, difficult, even menacing. Asked about his past or his techniques, Buchanan often bent the truth - as any good storyteller does - to a point just shy of breaking. He dispensed his own brand of "country mojo" at will and, for the most part, people bought it. "Country mojo" could be a powerful thing. As it turned out, however, it could not banish demons, or bend steel bars.

Roy Buchanan Poster 1976
Despite all this, Roy Buchanan contributed as much as any individual to the vocabulary of rock and roll. His work drew admirers from every field in popular music, from rock and roll heroes to jazz stylists, from R&B belters to country rednecks, from stars to anonymous fellow journeymen. The firmament of stars who discovered in Buchanan the essence of American roots music included John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The Rolling Stones, so it is said, asked Buchanan to join their band (he is said to have declined). Eric Clapton saw Buchanan perform once and proclaimed him "...the best in the world." Buchanan set a youthful Robbie Robertson (later of the Band) on a stylistic course of his own. Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead touted Buchanan's "...amazing chops." Jeff Beck learned Telecaster techniques from him, became a friend, and continues to hold him in awe. In jazz circles - not often a source of admirers for rock and roll players - Les Paul, Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessell, and Mundell Lowe were quick to recognize and praise Buchanan's talents (and they still do).

These nods might embarrass or seem ridiculous to Buchanan, were he still alive, for his modesty and matter-of-factness matched his musical talent. In fact, in a career that reached from the inception of rock and roll in the mid '50s to rock's tattered shadow in the '80s, Buchanan acquired a reputation in small but knowledgable circles as one of the very best. Yet on the night of his death he remained as anonymous to the general public as he had been throughout his life.

So the story of Roy Buchanan's life and times follows a hard road riddled with pathos. Nonetheless we must allow room for warmth, humor, and compassion because he himself so often exuded those traits. Buchanan was a simple country boy who, despite life's hardships and disappointments, wished to live a private life. In any effort to understand this complex artist and his contributions, one theme seems apparent: Roy Buchanan and his music and guitar playing should be described and appreciated, if not explained, as the sum of certain quintessential American influences. A sense of place is important. Growing up in rural Arkansas and California shaped him in the traditions of country music. His urban explorations in Los Angeles, Shreveport, Chicago, Toronto and Washington, D.C. provided access to blues, rhythm and blues, and jazz. Hitting America's roadhouse circuit in '56, at the dawn of rock and roll, propelled him on an odyssey of road trips that lasted 32 years - an unusually long career in which he continued to evolve and garner new audiences and admirers.

That story, though it is just one man's life, has wider implications. Following it illuminates the travails of this country's working musicians, the men and women who are somehow compelled night after night to produce joy for millions, despite the overwhelming odds that such a pursuit virtually guarantees perpetual anonymity, poverty, and perhaps, an early grave.

Roy Buchanan at Paradiso in Amsterdam
(20 Feb 1985)
Roy Buchanan was born Leroy Buchanan on Sept. 23, 1939, in rural Ozark, Arkansas, which straddles the Arkansas River in the northwestern corner of the state. Today, Ozark remains a sleepy, peaceful place, but you can get there via highway. In the '30s, by contrast, "Goin' to Ozark was like goin' to China!" said one local.

Leroy's father, Bill Buchanan, was of Scottish extraction and farmed the river bottoms there as a sharecropper during the Depression. Bill and his wife, Minnie Bell Reed, eventually had four children: J.D. (born in '26), Betty ('33), Leroy ('39), and Linda Joan ('44). Two years after Roy's birth the family moved to Pixley, California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, where Bill worked as a farm laborer. In Arkansas, sharecroppers kept a share of the crops they raised and paid the rest to the landowner, while in California laborers followed the harvest in a thousand fields belonging to others. Roy himself would one day tell the fib that his father had been a preacher, a story repeated ever since by writers who never asked questions (J.D. Buchanan once told me, "If my father ever went into a church, the roof'd fall in on him!").

Minnie tried to improve her children's lives by getting Leroy music lessons. He'd flirted with the guitar when he was about five years old, learning a few chords. At age nine, Leroy's folks got him a red Rickenbacker lapsteel and lessons from Mrs. Clara Louese Presher, an itinerant music teacher from nearby Bakersfield. Leroy took lessons for three years. Near the end, Mrs. Presher found out that Leroy had never learned to read music. Instead, he had learned his lessons by ear and repeated them note-for-note. She broke down and cried. But she imparted a lesson Buchanan never forgot. "If I can't feel the music, I can't play," he once told an interviewer. "Mrs. Presher was really into that. She would say, 'Roy, if you don't play with feeling, don't play it.'" Leroy listened to steel players on the radio and grooved to Jerry Byrd and others who made steel guitar part of modern country music. Nearby Bakersfield had its own distinct country sound, flavored by Telecaster guitar players like Buck Owens and Roy Nichols. Leroy absorbed it all and impressed school assemblies and church recitals with his ability to play the steel guitar parts to any song on the radio. "He played all the Hank Williams songs that were playin' back then just exactly like they were on the record," said Freddy Ramirez, a childhood friend.

Marvin and Paul Kirkland hired Leroy to play lapsteel in their band, The Waw Keen Valley Boys, in '50 or '51. Leroy was about 12 years old and night after night he stole the show. About '52 he picked up a standard, flat-top guitar and learned to pick in the Roy Nichols style. Within a couple years he experienced the blues on a jaunt to Stockton, California, with his older brother.

Roy Buchanan Advertise 1977
At high school, Leroy put together a band called The Dusty Valley Boys, with buddies Darrell Jackson and Bobby Jobe, then he and Jobe got professional work in the San Joaquin's honky tonks with bandleader Custer Bottoms. Leroy's interest in the guitar eclipsed his interest in school and by age 16 he'd left home for Los Angeles to stay with his older sister and brother. He took his Martin acoustic and a hollowbody Gibson electric. By this time he could make his electric guitar sound like a steel, bend strings, and play anything he heard on the radio. The radio was playing new sounds, like Elvis Presley's "Mystery Train." Rhythm and blues had given birth to the frenzied sounds of rock and roll, and Buchanan wanted a piece of it.

A Hollywood shyster named Bill Orwig hustled Leroy Buchanan into a cheesy rock and roll orchestra with drummer Spencer Dryden (later of the Jefferson Airplane and New Riders of the Purple Sage) called The Heartbeats. This band can be seen briefly in the loopy period film, Rock, Pretty Baby.

"We had a similar love of rhythm and blues and down-home rock and roll, so we hit it off real well," said Dryden. "We had a band and all of a sudden we're making money! This is at the beginning of everything. 1956. Elvis is king. James Dean is still alive. Bobby sox and rock and roll. Everybody was looking for an in. None of us knew what we were doing. But Bill Orwig had a scheme."

Orwig's scheme, essentially, was to rip off The Heartbeats and make money for himself. When Orwig stranded the band in Oklahoma City it was every man for himself. Roy nabbed a job as staff guitarist on "Oklahoma Bandstand" in Tulsa. The Human Tornado - Dale Hawkins - made an appearance, capitalizing on his super-hit, "Susie Q" (recorded with James Burton the year before), and Buchanan followed him to Shreveport. Thus began Buchanan's real rock and roll career. In June of '58 Hawkins and Buchanan recorded Willie Dixon's "My Babe" (a hit for Little Walter in '55) at Chess Records in Chicago, Roy's first commercial recording. His edgy, dead-thumb intro and his Scotty Moore-style cascading notes still sparkle.

Hawkins and Buchanan toured the country for nearly two years, Dale honing his stage performance, Roy whipping out the best rock and roll licks anyone had ever heard. Of course, Hawkins had a reputation for picking guitarists, and a litany of greats filled that spot before and after Buchanan: Sonny Jones, James Burton, Carl Adams, Kenny Paulsen, Scotty Moore, and Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland, to name a few. Hawkins and Buchanan learned to drink, fight, and sleep sitting up in a station wagon doing 60 miles per hour, and to take little white pills that eased a barbaric rock and roll lifestyle. And of course they learned how to bring the house down every night. Rock and roll required a lot of sweat and blood to make it good.

Roy Buchanan - 1975 Album
"I was one of the hardest task masters in the world," Hawkins told me with a hard look in his eye. "After each set we'd have a meeting and I would go over whatever went wrong. And go over it and over it. I was one of the few people that could handle Roy. Not physically, but spiritually. I could make him play what I wanted." Hawkins wanted a band that knew how to back him, but which could break loose on cue. "I was adequate, but Dale would really make you work," Roy would recall later. "He wouldn't leave you alone for a second and I was all for that."

The next few years found Roy and famed studio bassist Joe Osborn (VG, October '98) in a succession of bands, from Jerry Hawkins to Bob Luman (who took Roy to Tokyo in December of '59), making records and touring the country. By 1960 Buchanan based himself out of Washington, D.C., and that year he recorded two versions of "After Hours," sometimes referred to as "the black national anthem" (waxed first by the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra in 1940, Buchanan modeled his own version on Jimmy Nolen's 1956 take for Federal Records, where Nolen's guitar follows the original piano solo). Buchanan recorded one take at a languid pace, another at a raging clip. The results establish that he had become one of the most dexterous electric blues guitarists of his day, at age 21 (the "raging" take is likely to appear on Alligator Records' upcoming box set - see "First Fret" column in this issue). There were other white blues guitarists around, to be sure; Lonnie Mack, Link Wray, Travis Womack, and Steve Cropper were already working, as well as the earlier crop of black blues musicians exemplified by, say, Hubert Sumlin. But few could claim superiority to the country boy from Pixley. By this time Roy had grown a beard and let his hair grow. To complete the bohemian look he developed a set of unnerving, strange eyes. He'd also traded in his Gibson hollowbody for a Telecaster.

In Buchanan's hands the Tele came alive. He could play blues so sweet, or accent country music with sounds like a steel guitar. He learned to make the guitar cry by striking a note, bending it, and making the sound swell by manipulating the volume knob with the pinky on his right hand. Using the pinky on the volume control and his ring finger on the tone control gave him a wah-wah sound. He did it his way, the hard way.

In October of '60, Dale Hawkins and Buchanan were playing The Rocket Room in Washington, D.C., when a young female admirer named Judy Owens introduced herself to Roy. She liked the way he played guitar, she told him. A year later they were married, forever altering Buchanan's professional trajectory. Before settling down, however, Buchanan joined Hawkins on a trip to Canada in January '61 and changed rock and roll history.

Roy Buchanan Billboard
Article January 1975
Hawkins' band played Toronto, where his cousin, Arkansan-turned Torontonian Ronnie Hawkins, ruled Yonge Street - the town's entertainment strip. Ronnie lured Roy away from Dale, mostly to tutor the Hawk's talented but unsophisticated guitarist, Robbie Robertson. As Roy explained once, "Ronnie was very strict about how he was backed, and Robertson would either overplay or underplay. He'd be playing lead when Ronnie was singing and it just wouldn't work out. So I showed him how to do it, because that's what I was really into, backing up people and making them sound good."

When Robertson asked where he'd learned his licks, Buchanan told him he was half wolf.

Robertson later recalled his first encounter with the bohemian ace guitarist.

"He did all these tricks, weird sounds, and bending things down and bending the neck and playing with volume control. It was a very, very frightening experience," he said.

"He could play anything I wanted him to play, and play it better than anyone else," Ronnie Hawkins said. "Robbie was super good for his age, but Roy had been out there longer. He was the master. Anyway, Roy had many things to do and it just wasn't going to work out. What he needed was discipline - playing day and night with a goal. He was too much of a free spirit for the times. I've always been the boss."

Besides, Hawkins added, Buchanan seemed to be getting into mind games. "You didn't know if he was superintelligent or just out of this world!"

In the summer of '61, while playing in Virginia with a band of friends dubbed the "Bad Boys," Buchanan married Owens and his wandering days were numbered. He put in nearly two years in the Philly area with Bob Moore and the Temps, the house band at Dick Lee's Musical Bar in Belmawr, New Jersey, where Seymour Duncan got to know him. Les Paul himself stopped by to investigate rumors of Buchanan's genius, and was amazed.

"We'd never heard anything quite like what Roy was doing," Paul said. "He interested the hell out of me. He's not playing an arpeggio the way you learn an arpeggio. If you had studied the instrument you played it right straight on, the chromatic scale you're taught in school. This guy was anything but conventional - he was just out there. He was unrestricted, as far as what he played. If he felt like getting from here to there, it didn't matter how he got there. If he didn't pick it, he plucked it with his other fingers. There were no rules with Roy. He was cruisin' down his own lane."

Roy lent his explosive guitar work to dozens of records on Dick Clark's Swan label in Philadelphia with various artists, including the Temps, and under his own name. He'd never had a hit of his own, though he'd played on a few. When drummer Bobby Gregg recorded and claimed credit for "The Jam," built around Buchanan's signature riffs, Roy got a solid dose of disillusionment with the music industry. "The Jam," without his name, hit near the top of the R&B charts for 1962 (incidentally, Roy made guitar history when his pinched harmonic appeared on another Gregg release, "Potato Peeler"). With the birth of their first child, and with Roy getting wacky on pills, the couple moved to Mt. Rainier, Maryland, straight into the house of Roy's mother-in-law. He'd lived the first era of rock and roll, 1956 to '63, but his roaming days seemed gone for good.

Roy Buchanan at Paradiso in Amsterdam (20 Feb 1985)
1964 brought The Beatles to America, and America's appreciation of its own homegrown talent seemed to fade. Journeymen like Buchanan could have blown George Harrison off the stage. Instead Roy made do, as with legions of blues and jazz players before him, playing in area clubs as a hired gun. Washington, D.C. and the surrounding Maryland suburbs harbored innumerable venues and live music ruled the day. Throughout the '60s Buchanan's reputation grew in the D.C. area as he gigged with Danny Denver, the British Walkers (an all-American group looking to cash in on the British craze), the Kalin Twins, and a numbing procession of other groups. Meanwhile, Roy's family grew to more than a half-dozen children. Buchanan played constantly to feed them, but he sometimes tarried after gigs, disappearing for days, aggravating an already fractious domestic situation. By '67 Buchanan could be found playing covers and intergalactic blues at a kaleidoscope of Georgetown bars. While the Beatles ruled, Hendrix burned, and Townsend smashed, Buchanan blazed in obscurity. A nearly 90-minute tape of one of Buchanan's bar sets from this period reveals the guitarist toying with new ideas on renditions of Hendrix's "Purple Haze," Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me To Do?" and Bill Justis' "Raunchy."

In March of '68 John Gossage gave Roy tickets to see the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Washington Hilton. Buchanan was dismayed to find his own trademark sounds, like the wah-wah that he'd painstakingly produced with his hands and his Telecaster, created by electronic pedals. He could never attempt Hendrix's stage show, and this realization refocused him on his own quintessentially American roots-style guitar picking. A local guitar-playing youngster named Danny Gatton began showing up at Buchanan's gigs, striking up a friendship and a rivalry. Buchanan, the elder, mentored his young friend. Gatton had lightning speed and other uncanny abilities, but he never exuded soul like Buchanan.

These were bleak days. He set aside his guitar and in January of '69 enrolled at the Bladensburg Barber School, hoping to acquire a skill that would help feed his family. Only a country as big and great as America - so full of promise and heartbreak - could submerge and disguise a talent as amazing as Buchanan's. Given the circumstances, it should not surprise that the chronology for this period remains murky. At some point rocker Charlie Daniels signed Roy to record a studio album for Polydor Records, and they assembled enough tracks in Nashville, but Buchanan canned the LP, complaining that Daniels had made him sound too much like everyone else (four tracks turned up on Polygram's 1992 collection, Sweet Dreams). Buchanan later told journalist Tom Zito that at this point he turned down - through Daniels - a job offer from the Rolling Stones stemming from Brian Jones' death in July 1969. It's a great story: a guitarist too hot, too disinterested in fame to join the Stones. Unfortunately, Daniels himself told me he had never even heard that story, nor spoken to the Stones. Could this oft-repeated tale simply be one of Roy's "greatest hits," one of the greatest stories ever told in rock and roll circles?

Roy Buchanan - 1977 Live in Japan Album
Buchanan's stories were always plausible, yet one wonders. Consider the tale of how he acquired his trademark '53 Tele. Buchanan told an interviewer that someone with a battered old Telecaster under his arm walked past the barbershop where he worked by day.

"I knew that guitar was mine, you know?" Buchanan would recall. "I walked out, right in the middle of a haircut, and I said, 'Where'd you get that guitar?' ... I just told him, 'I want it.' ... I said, 'I'll get you the most beautiful guitar you've ever seen, and I'll trade you straight across.' I left work that day and went to a friend of mine with connections and said, 'I want a purple Telecaster.' He had it before the sun went down... We swapped guitars, man. That was it. It was like, he knew it was my guitar, too."

By 1970 Buchanan had resumed playing for lounge crooner Danny Denver at The Crossroads bar in Bladensburg, and it was from there, with his '53 Tele doing the talking, that word of Roy's talents finally spread. Locals had long known about him, and his reticence to record had already become mythic. He got his own band together, The Snakestretchers, and strained his friendship with Danny Gatton by luring away the latter's organist, Dick Heintze. Buchanan bucked his contractual obligation to Polydor by releasing a down-and-dirty LP of the Snakestretchers in performance, which was sold in a burlap bag at the group's gigs (today the "Burlap Bag" album is a highly valued collectible).

The press took note. An article by Bill Holland in the Washington Star introduced Buchanan to area readers and a prominent feature in the Washington Post by Tom Zito that followed caught the interest of Rolling Stone, which reprinted Zito's article. Zito immortalized the Crossroads by describing it as "...dark and musty and the waitresses constantly pick up your beer bottle to ask if you want another." Zito observed that, "Buchanan reacts to [attention] with a...disinterest that creates its own mystique. 'I'm only a guitar player,' he says, scoffing at praise others heap on him."

WNET television producer John Adams read Zito's reprinted piece in Rolling Stone, took a close look for himself and moved ahead with a documentary on Buchanan. Fame finally came a-callin' for Roy Buchanan. In the documentary, however, sitting by his boyhood home in a cotton field outside Pixley, California, Buchanan articulated his own vision of musicianship and success.

Roy Buchanan
Billboard Article 1974
"Probably the reason I never made it big is because I never cared whether I made it big or not. All I wanted to do was learn to play the guitar for myself... You set your own goals for success. And when you succeed, it don't necessarily mean that you will be a big star, make a lot of money, or anything. You'll feel it in your heart, whether you've succeeded or not."

Adams arranged to have Roy play with musicians who had influenced him, including a set with Merle Haggard and his Strangers, featuring Roy Nichols on Telecaster, with Johnny Otis with Margie Evans singing ("Goin' Down Real Slow" is featured on the upcoming Alligator box set) and with jazzman Mundell Lowe (Buchanan's lovely rendition of "Misty" is also on the Alligator set). The resulting film, interspersed with a live broadcast with rocker Nils Lofgren from WNET's New York studio, was broadcast on November 8, 1971, and got rave reviews. The documentary shined a spotlight directly on Buchanan, who was too broke to protest. He bit the bullet and ventured forth.

Events snowballed. An American University student, Jay Reich Jr., asked his music appreciation teacher, guitarist Charlie Byrd, who the best rock and roll guitarist in the world was and Byrd advised Reich to see Roy Buchanan at the Crossroads. Reich found Buchanan playing with his back to the audience - Roy often explained this by saying he didn't want people stealing his licks - and with his Fender Vibrolux amp pointed toward the back of the stage. Buchanan told Reich he didn't want people to see the notes coming out of his amplifier either, but the reason was more practical - he felt turning the amp backward softened his sound for a small room. Reich became Buchanan's manager and engineered gigs up and down the East Coast, culminating in an appearance on June 21, 1972, at New York City's Carnegie Hall. The show sold out and, despite Buchanan's nervousness, he played well (at least one track from Carnegie Hall, "Since You've Been Gone," will be featured on the upcoming Alligator release).

Peter Kieve Siegel, a producer at Polydor with experience recording American folk and roots musicians, lured Buchanan back to the studio with assurances of artistic control.

"I went to see his set at the Crossroads," Siegel said. "Somehow we carved out this compromise that Roy and his band would come to New York and record exactly what they wanted to."

The Siegel-Buchanan partnership resulted in the eponymous Roy Buchanan (recorded in July '72 and rush-released a month later) and Second Album (recorded in October '72 and released in early '73). The first featured an eclectic mix of Buchanan's own compositions, blues and country standards ("The Messiah" became Buchanan's signature, with its stately, haunting melody of stinging, ringing guitar notes and its autobiographical lyrics, "...I've walked in a lot of places I never should have been, but I do know that the messiah, he will come again."). Second Album offered a number of deep blues, including Buchanan's remake of his old favorite, "After Hours," some old time rock and roll, a country number, plus another autobiographical piece, an intimate portrait of Buchanan's sanctified inner life titled "Thank You Lord:"

Thank you Lord, saw your sunshine today,
Bless you Lord, got to see my children play,
May not be the right way to pray,
But I want to thank you anyway

In a reverential tone, Buchanan sketched his devotion with ethereal circular picking and a quiet burst of gorgeous scales. The blues and rock numbers on the album - including the classic "Tribute to Elmore" - were sparingly recorded, and represented American roots music at its best.

Critics loved both albums, though sales did not measure up to Polydor's expectations, leading to Siegel's departure. Buchanan had long ago disbanded the Snakestretchers and assembled a crack live band with Heintze still on organ, but that band too disintegrated after returning from England in May '73. That fall, Buchanan made a third LP, That's What I'm Here For, produced by Reich, which proved uneven and was roundly condemned by Rolling Stone. The stronger tracks were fiery indeed, however, and included "Hey Joe," Buchanan's tribute to Hendrix, as well as "Roy's Bluz" and a beautiful country blues titled "Nephesh" - Hebrew for "soul" (one story that has been confirmed: During the sessions for this record, Buchanan met John Lennon, who was mixing an album in an adjacent studio. Lennon offered to play on Buchanan's album, and invited the guitarist to lay down some licks on his LP, but Buchanan blew him off).

Despite the reviews, Buchanan toured with perhaps his best band ever, including a blue-eyed soul singer, Billy Price, bassist John Harrison (both from Pittsburgh), and drummer Byrd Foster. Heintze had been replaced by protege Malcolm Lukens on organ. In the summer of '74 the guitarist recorded In the Beginning with studio musicians, another Polydor effort. The LP proved more consistent than its predecessor, though less brilliant. Buchanan and Reich settled on the idea of a live album to satisfy the remaining provisions of Polydor's contract. Two sets at New York's Town Hall were recorded the evening of November 27, 1974, resulting in Live Stock, a spellbinding showcase of Buchanan's talents and one of the best live electric guitar records ever made (this author attended both shows that evening and can recall thinking that Buchanan's playing seemed a bit more restrained than usual - small wonder, as he obviously had recording on his mind and, indeed, achieved near studio-like perfection in his playing).

The record included "Reelin' and Rockin,'" a pure swing number. Price offered "Further On Up the Road," the rhythm and blues song made classic by Bobby "Blue" Bland. Roy sang "Roy's Bluz" and "I'm Evil," both incendiary blues songs that showcased his ability to shred an audience to pieces. He even played "Hot Cha," a soft country melody set to a cha-cha beat and once performed by Junior Walker.

While mixing the album, Reich ran into Eric Clapton in the lobby of a New York hotel and pressed a tape of Live Stock mixes on him. Shortly afterward, Reich noticed Clapton had added Buchanan's arrangement of "Further On Up the Road" to his own repertoire.

"I knew he'd gotten that from Roy, from that tape, because he leaves out the same verses Price left out on Live Stock," Reich said. "It wasn't Roy's song and it wasn't the most obscure song in the world. But [he should have acknowledged Roy] in some way."

By this time, Jeff Beck had encountered Buchanan and his Telecaster-fueled American roots music. Beck told an interviewer, many years later, that he'd caught the WNET documentary on television in November '71 and "...just sat there aghast for about an hour. It was some of the best playing I've ever heard. I just said, 'Who is this man?' The next time I saw Bill Graham, I said, 'Tell me about Roy Buchanan.' He defied all the laws of verse-chorus-verse and just blazed."

Buchanan built a word-of-mouth reputation for taking clubs by storm, though the general public remained largely oblivious. Fans preaching the Buchanan gospel in that day were often met with the disheartening query, "Roy who?"

Roy's guitar; a 1953 Fender Telecaster he called Nancy
Buchanan turned to Atlantic Records, where he had a standing offer to record since Ahmet Ertegun had seen him perform at Carnegie Hall in '72. Roy obtained an enormous advance and went into the studio to record A Street Called Straight, a reflection of his struggle to stay sober and clean. This uneven effort, produced by Arif Mardin, contained several great tracks including a version of Hendrix's "If Six Was Nine," and "Good God Have Mercy," by Billy Roberts (who wrote "Hey Joe") specifically for Buchanan. The guitarist dubbed one powerful instrumental, "My Friend, Jeff," in honor of Beck. Later that year Beck released Blow by Blow, featuring "'Cause We've Ended As Lovers," dedicated to Roy Buchanan.

For his next album, Loading Zone, Atlantic assigned fusion bassist Stanley Clarke as producer. Clarke allegedly advised Buchanan not to play any upstrokes during the sessions. Initially overjoyed by a duet with Steve Cropper on the Booker T. & the MGs' "Green Onions," Roy's hopes were dashed when Clarke sped up the tape to make the duet seem like a battle.

Another LP, You're Not Alone, followed. Despite solid sales, the records didn't measure up musically to Roy's first two, and Atlantic wasn't thrilled by sales. To be fair to Clarke, Buchanan had a habit of showing up at a studio with little or no prepared material, leaving producers to scramble for an approach. But whatever had worked with Pete Siegel, the Atlantic recording sessions frustrated Buchanan, who later acknowledged his responsibility for a passive approach to making records.

All was not dim: the tapes from a June '77 Japanese tour resulted in another great performance album, Live in Japan, which would never be released in the U.S. (though two tracks were released on Polygram's Sweet Dreams), so it was revealing of the guitarist's predilection for mystique when he declared this hard-to-find record one of his best performances.

Roy Buchanan Album 1973
By the end of the '70s several factors conspired to send Buchanan's career into a tailspin. His favored band had called it quits after the '77 Japanese tour. Over the next half-dozen years he rarely fielded his own combo, often relying on pickup bands for a tour or one night. An attempt at producing his own album, My Babe (recorded at the Record Plant and distributed by the independent Waterhouse Records), fizzled. Buchanan took a hiatus from recording.

During the My Babe period, Buchanan was hospitalized with unknown but severe injuries. He and his wife always insisted that he had been beaten up by cops when arrested for some ill-defined reason. At least one close observer of the family asserts that Buchanan was injured in a botched attempt at suicide by hanging while spending a night in jail around New Year's Eve 1980.

By the early '80s Buchanan's fortunes had ebbed. He traveled from gig to gig, playing with different pickup bands, sometimes shining in alliance with rockabilly singer Scot Anderson. The fact his wife, Judy, booked his gigs - despite a total lack of experience in the music business - might have complicated the struggle. And the ubiquity of cocaine in the early '80s added a dash of danger.

Close observers point out that during this period Buchanan abandoned playing his favored '53 Tele, hinting at underlying meanings. The Tele, in any case, had been the subject of numerous attempts at theft over the years. Buchanan said that alone did it for him. But there is an unconfirmed story he lent the guitar to another player or tech for repairs, and received it back with the pickups damaged. He tried Strats, new Teles, even Les Pauls and, finally, just before his death he had a custom model built for him (and commercial sale) by the Fritz Brothers.

The sun broke through the clouds once again when Buchanan played Albert's Hall, a club in Toronto, in late '84/early '85. Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer happened to be at the club and he was impressed. The next time Iglauer saw Buchanan, at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, his amplifier blew a fuse in the middle of his set and Iglauer adroitly stepped forward to change it, an act that cemented a trust between the two men - and a recording deal.

Mindful of past problems, Iglauer determined to shepherd Buchanan through a successful recording process. Alligator producer Dick Shurman also worked on the Buchanan sessions and suggested material by older blues artists that might fit the style and limited vocal range. Buchanan brought home demos to develop original compositions, as well.

Roy Buchanan Album 1977
"Roy loved to smoke his cigars and Bruce would be firing up, as well," Shurman told me. "My wife would cringe when we'd have our pre-production weekends here at my house because of the cigar smoke. Roy used lemon Pledge on the neck and strings of his guitar, for lubrication. So I always knew it was a Roy project if the air was full of cigar smoke and lemon Pledge."

In '85 Alligator issued When a Guitar Plays the Blues, an evolution from previous efforts. Those who knew Roy in the '70s thought his raw emotive power had been compromised, while others found the slicker approach musically savvy and stunning in its own right. Iglauer and Shurman reached for an uptown gloss, using singer Otis Clay and veteran Chicago session players to complement Buchanan. On this and two more Alligator releases, Larry Exum played bass and Morris Jennings played drums. Roy used a new Telecaster for the initial sessions. Later, for another Alligator album, he would use a goldtop Gibson Les Paul.

According to Dave Whitehill, a talented player Buchanan befriended in this period, Roy made another major departure from custom - he plugged in a Boss DD-2 Delay Pedal.

"The pedal beefed up his sound and could recreate tape echo effects," Whitehill told me (Whitehill's transcription of Buchanan classics, The Roy Buchanan Collection, has just been published by Hal Leonard). Roy enjoyed his new sound and he addressed criticism by saying he wanted to evolve and attract a new generation of fans. Critics agreed with the result, and When a Guitar Plays the Blues garnered a Grammy nomination for best blues album of the year.

The guitarist's reinvigorated career led to professional management and tours followed. Buchanan and his new power trio format traveled across the U.S., to Europe, Australia, and Japan in the next several years. In '85 and '86 he played with six-string bassist Jeff Ganz and drummer Ray Marchica, while in '87 and '88 he often gigged with bassist Cary Zeigler and drummer Vince Santoro.

Buchanan returned to Alligator's studios in '86 to record Dancing On the Edge, with Delbert McClinton on vocals, Donald Kinsey on guitar and Stan Szelest, a former Hawk, on keyboards. Hot Wires, issued in '87, relied on many of the same players, with Kanika Kress replacing McClinton on vocals. The mix of Buchanan instrumentals and good-natured blues covers on the Alligator records proved consistently popular, though sales were never spectacular.

On a personal level, Buchanan's renewed success seems to have re-awakened old demons, as well. The late '80s were marked by hit-and-miss efforts at staying on the wagon, though observers differ on how much anguish this may have caused the man himself.

In '88 Buchanan toured the U.S. opening for The Band. Robbie Robertson had been gone since The Last Waltz in '76, and Richard Manuel had ended his fight with his own demons in March of '86, when he hung himself in a shower using his own belt. Buchanan and the remaining Band members jammed memorably on "Willie and the Hand Jive" from their early days. Before taking off for Australia that spring, Buchanan shaved his head completely. Some thought it had to do with a stricter, self-imposed approach to sobriety, but drummer Vince Santoro recalled that the guitarist was losing his hair and simply wanted a new look.

Buchanan's summer tours took a temporary hiatus after an August 7, 1988, outdoor show at Guilford Fairgrounds, in Connecticut. His last encore had been his take on Albert King's "Drownin' on Dry Land." Then he went home to Reston, Virginia, for a break. He had an upcoming gig with Johnny Winter at the Toronto Blues Festival and plans for a fourth Alligator LP. He'd been talking about making it an all-instrumental record. He had just received the first production models of the Fritz Brothers' guitar. On the afternoon of August 14 Roy recorded a short sketch of a new song he'd been working on, then his wife gave him a ride to a nearby shopping mall to run some errands.

Roy stopped by a tobacco store to buy some cigars and headed over to Ruby Tuesday's for a few beers. When he returned home that evening he was loaded and had a stranger in tow. Judy became incensed and called the police. Buchanan tore the phone from the wall and walked out. He was picked up by Fairfax police near his home, walking down tree-lined Glade Street. Two officers in one car proceeded to the Buchanan home and talked to Judy. Two officers in another car transported Buchanan to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where he was turned over to the sheriff's department, charged with public intoxication.

According to Carl Peed, now sheriff, then PR officer, shortly after Buchanan was placed in holding cell R-45, he was discovered with a crushed larynx and died en route to the hospital. The sheriff said an investigation showed that the 220-pound Buchanan had hung himself from a waist-high bar in the cell door using his own t-shirt.

There are still missing pieces to the puzzle of what happened that night. Even 10 years later, a hard look at the evidence requires withholding judgment. At Buchanan's funeral, one former band member recalled that Judy opened the coffin for them.

"It was obvious he'd had his head bashed in," this witness said. "There were bruises on his head. I saw them." The Fairfax County coroner's report did not mention bruises on Buchanan's head. Thus questions have arisen that still call out for answers.

If he took his own life, perhaps darkness won out in the end. If he was killed, we've done him a disservice by drawing attention to his demons. Roy Buchanan had something musical to say - something deep inside him, often beautiful and too often painful - and it only came out when he had a guitar, preferably his '53 Tele, in his hands. Despite the difficulties and missed opportunities, Buchanan's soulful honesty lives on. [Source http://www.roybuchanan.org/bio.html]

Roy Buchanan 1978-05-06
My Father's Place, Roslyn, Long Island, NY  USA
Pre-FM for WLIR 92.7 FM Radio Broadcast

Personal:
 Roy Buchanan: Vocals, Guitar
 Fred DeLu: Hammond B3
 Al Britton McClain: Bass
 Ron 'Byrd' Foster: Drums, Vocals

01. Intro (soundcheck)
02. Just Got Back From New York (soundcheck)
03. Intro
04. Further On Up The Road 
05. Soul Dressing
06. I'm A Ram/I'm Evil
07. Walkin' Talkin'
08. Baby Won't You Tell Me Where You're At 
09. Can I Change My Mind (Cut)
10. Hey Joe-Foxy Lady
11. Slow Down
12. The Messiah Will Come Again
13. Crowd
14. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights
15. Outro

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