Thursday, 4 May 2017

"Roy Buchanan/Second Album" by ROY BUCHANAN (April 2002 Beat Goes On Reissue – 2LPs onto 1CD - Andrew Thompson Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Haunted House..."

Arkansas-born Telecaster virtuoso Roy Buchanan (born Leroy) was once described on American TV (in 1971) as "The Best Unknown Guitarist In The World". He was even feted by The Rolling Stones as a possible replacement for Brian Jones (along with his fellow Polydor label mate Rory Gallagher) - luckily neither took up the job.

And on the evidence of these two albums (his 1972 debut and its 1973 follow up) - it's easy to hear why they wanted ROY BUCHANAN. This guy could bend a string - make that Tele sucker cry - especially when it came to his beloved musical genres of Blues and Country. Here are the fretful details...

UK released April 2002 – "Roy Buchanan/Second Album" by ROY BUCHANAN on Beat Goes On BGOCD 541 (Barcode 5017261205414) features two Seventies LPs Remastered onto one CD and breaks down as follows (66:18 minutes):

1. Sweet Dreams
2. I Am A Lonesome Fugitive
3. Cajun
4. John's Blues
5. Haunted House
6. Pete's Blue [Side 2]
7. The Messiah Will Come
8. Hey, Good Looking
Tracks 1 to 8 are his debut album "Roy Buchanan" - released August 1972 in the UK on Polydor 2391 041 and in the USA on Polydor PD 5033.

BAND was:
ROY BUCHANAN - Lead Guitar
CHUCK TILLEY - Lead Vocals
DICK HEINTZ - Organ and Piano
TEDDY IRWIN - Rhythm Guitar

Four tracks on the debut album are Buchanan originals (3, 4, 6 and 7) - the other four are "Sweet Dreams" (a Don Gibson cover), "I Am A Lonesome Fugitive" (a Liz and Casey Anderson song covered by Merle Haggard), "Haunted House" (a Bob Geddins cover) and "Hey, Good Looking" (a Hank Williams cover). Chuck Tilley sings Lead Vocals on "I Am A Lonesome Fugitive", "Haunted House" and "Hey, Good Lookin'" - while Roy Buchanan gives a Spoken Lead Vocal on "The Messiah Will Come". Tracks 1, 3, 4 and 6 are Instrumentals.

9. Filthy Ted
10. After Hours
11. Five String Blues
12. Thank You Lord
13. Treat Her Right [Side 2]
14. I Won't Tell You No Lies
15. Tribute To Elmore James
16. She Once Lived Here
Tracks 9 to 16 are his 2nd LP "Second Album" - released March 1973 in the UK on Polydor 2391 062 and in the USA on Polydor PD 5046.

Five tracks are Roy Buchanan originals (9, 11, 12, 14 and 15) - the other three are "After Hours" (an Avery Parish cover, Pianist with The Erskine Hawkins Orchestra), "Treat Her Right" (a Roy Head cover) and "She Once Lived Here" (a Gene Autry cover). Chuck Tilley sings Lead Vocals only on "Treat Her Right" with Roy Buchanan singing Lead Vocals only on "Thank You Lord" - the other six tracks are Instrumentals. The Band is the same for the second album except that DON PAYNE replaces Peter Van Allen on Bass.

The 12-page booklet has typically superb liner notes by JOHN TOBLER on Buchanan's strange career that ended in sadness and not nearly enough albums sales (he took his own life in 1988 aged only 48). It doesn't say who remastered these albums (or where it was done) but the audio is great - remarkably clear - especially on the stunning Blues Rock workout standouts like "Pete's Blues".

His first album is actually a weird one - an uncomfortable mixture of hick country songs sung by the ah-schucks Chuck Tilley - sided with blistering Blues Rock instrumentals like "John's Blues" (sounding like Stevie Ray Vaughan a decade before the event) and the decidedly weird doom and gloom of "The Messiah Will Come Again" spoken by Buchanan as if he's been attending too many Bible classes. And while Polydor/Chronicles decided to name their 1992 2CD Retro Anthology “Sweet Dreams" after his clever instrumental re-working of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams" - the debut album belongs to the 7:17 minutes of "Pete's Blues" which slowly lets rip his playing – utterly amazing stuff.

The second record goes for five instrumentals over the debut's four - allowing his virtuosity to shine through. It opens with the rather dull "Filthy Teddy" but better is the Bluesy "After Hours" - the kind of Blues tune Gary Moore used to adore and play with the abandon the song allows. Dick Heintze's piano playing gives a nice backdrop to "Five String Blues" - our Roy bending strings to get those pinging notes almost the whole way through (it's virtually one long solo). The pretty ditty "Thank You Lord" is shockingly sweet - it opens with acoustic guitar and laid back singing like he's suddenly become Nick Drake overnight - but then fades halfway through into an electric guitar strum that is quite beautiful.

Side Two opens with a potential single - his cover of Roy Head's "Treat Her Right" complete with Chuck Tilley vocal and a wicked guitar-driven dance beat. We go into an Atlanta Rhythm Section "So Into You" rhythm with the Funky "I Won't Tell You No Lies" where Heintze plays a blinder on the piano - and along with Roy's guitar playing - the whole near seven-minute makes for a very tasty instrumental shuffle. Blues Rock returns with a vengeance on "Tribute For Elmore James" where Roy gives in some slashing guitar at first (aping Elmore's style) then goes off into his own boogie - making the whole song sound like Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac meets Wishbone Ash (a combo I'd buy into any day of the week). It ends on the rather lacklustre Gene Autry cover "She Once Lived Here" - a disappointment after what went before.

Both of these albums have their highs and lows (more highs that not thankfully) and show why his loss so young is grieved by fans the world over.

Well done to BGO for getting these two Seventies corkers out there...

BGO CD reissues/remasters for Roy Buchanan are...

1. Roy Buchanan/Second Album
August 1972 and March 1973 debut and second studio albums – reissued April 2002 as a 2CD set on Beat Goes On BGOCD 541 (Barcode 5017261205414)

2. That’s What I’m Here For/Rescue Me
February 1974 and February 1975 third and fourth studio albums – reissued August 2008 as a 2CD set on Beat Goes On BGOCD 806 (Barcode 5017261205414) Note: Rescue Me was known as "In The Beginning" in the USA

3. Live Stock/A Street Called Straight
November 1975 and October 1976 fifth and sixth albums (fifth is live) – reissued April 2005 on Beat Goes On BGOCD 682 (Barcode 5017261206824)

4. Loading Zone/You’re Not Alone
June 1977 and May 1978 seventh and eight LPs - reissued February 2017 on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1279 (Barcode 5017261212795)

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