Personnel includes: Roy Buchanan (vocals, guitar); Billy Price, Billy Sheffield (vocals); Neil Larson (arranger, keyboards); Teddy Irwin (guitar); Malcolm Lukens, Dick Heintz (keyboards); John Harrison (bass, background vocals); Kenny Tibbetts, Pete Van Allen, Don Payne (bass); Ned davis, Jerry Mercer, Robbie Magruder, Bill Stewart, Byrd Foster (drums).
Producers: Peter Kieve Siegel, Jay Reich Jr., Ed Freeman.
Compilation producer: Bill Levenson.
Principally recorded at The Record Plant, New York, New York; The Record Plant, Sausalito, California; Amazing Grace Club, Evanston, Illinois between July 1972 and March 1975. Includes liner notes by Dave Thompson.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This is part of Universal's "20th Century Masters The Millenium Collection" series.
Personnel: Roy Buchanan (vocals, guitar); Billy Price Keystone Rhythm Band (vocals, background vocals); Bill Sheffield (vocals); Dick Heintze, Malcolm Lukens, Neil Larsen (keyboards); Ned Davis, Bill Stewart , Byrd Foster, Robbie Magruder (drums); John Harrison (background vocals).
Recording information: Amazing Grace Club, Evanston, IL (07/1972-03/1975); Record Plant, NY (07/1972-03/1975); Record Plant, Sausalito, CA (07/1972-03/1975).
Photographer: David Gahr.
Arrangers: Neil Larsen; Roy Buchanan.
Roy Buchanan's five albums for Polydor, released between 1972 and 1975 and excerpted on this midline-priced best-of, were a worthy compromise between artistic expression and commercial considerations. In the late '60s and early '70s, record companies and music journalists beat the bushes looking for guitar heroes on the scale of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and came up with at least a couple, Johnny Winter in Texas and Buchanan in Washington, D.C. Polydor no doubt signed Buchanan hoping it had a Clapton/Hendrix-size star, but he lacked the temperament for the big time and merely fulfilled his contract, though he was then scooped up by Atlantic for another try. The tracks here, a good if brief summary of the Polydor years, illustrate both his strengths and weaknesses. The major, perhaps sole strength is the guitar work, which is utterly distinctive within a blues context and at times overwhelming. Buchanan can wring tremendously emotional runs from his axe and then, as in the version of "Hey Joe" here, let forth a sonic assault that rivals any Hendrix ever managed. To listen to this album is to hear a great blues guitarist inventing his art before you. On the tracks from the early albums (the compilation is sequenced chronologically), producer Peter Kieve Siegel was mostly content with that, but on the later albums, more of an attempt was made to turn Buchanan into a singer (his voice was limited and hesitant), or to add other elements, including horn sections and backup singers, to expand the music's appeal beyond blues aficionados. The results are less interesting, but that's what you expect at a major label. So, while not actually the best of Roy Buchanan, this compilation encapsulates his tenure at Polydor and provides a taste for the neophyte of what he sounded like. ~ William Ruhlmann