Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Roy Buchanan
Guitarist Roy Buchanan had the talent to be a star but not the desire. He just wanted to play guitar. His Polydor albums of the early 70s were successful because of word of mouth. Sweet Dreams was the opening track on Buchanan's 1972 debut album. Later attempts to have him sing and commercialize him were unsatisfying. And he died a tragic and needless death in 1988. He was born Sept. 23, 1939 in Ozark, AR and moved with his family to Pixley, CA near Bakersfield. His father was a sharecropper. Buchanan got into music listening to gospel at revival meetings. And he listened to R & B on the radio. He started playing steel guitar as a child and switched to guitar as a teen. He moved to Los Angeles to work for Johnny Otis at age 15. After recording with Dale Hawkins in 1958, Buchanan moved to Toronto to work for Dale's cousin Ronnie Hawkins. He also taught guitar to Robbie Robertson. Buchanan moved back to the US and played sessions in the 60s and even trained as a hairdresser. He settled in Washington, DC and played local gigs with the Danny Denver Band. By the late 60s, musicians like John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Merle Haggard took notice of Buchanan. He supposedly turned down an offer to join The Rolling Stones. This led to the 1971 PBS documentary Introducing Roy Buchanan and a contract with Polydor Records. Buchanan's version of the Don Gibson classic Sweet Dreams was the opening track on his 1972 debut album. Buchanan recorded five albums for Polydor and a sampling of them is on this budget comp. He moved to Atlantic Records in 1976. His albums sold well but Atlantic tried to commercialize Buchanan by having him sing and play with bigger bands. Buchanan quit the music business in 1981 until he could do things his way. He signed with Alligator Records in 1985 and recorded three albums. On Aug. 14, 1988, Buchanan was arrested for intoxication after a domestic dispute in Fairfax County, VA. He spent the night in jail and was found hanging with his shirt around his neck the next morning. The death was ruled a suicide. Roy Buchanan was dead at age 48. Several guitarist have acknowledged Buchanan's influence. Jeff Beck was probably his biggest fan. Roy Buchanan is probably forgotten today. Blues fans should check him out. Here's Roy Buchanan performing Sweet Dreams on Austin City Limits 1976.