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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Roy Buchanan- Shredding The Blues - Live at My Father's Place 1978 & 1984 - Guest writer Stilladog - New release review

Let me preface this review by stating I am an unabashed fan of Roy Buchanan and have been since I was 18 years old. I have heard a lot of his recorded material both production and bootleg varieties. I've seen him play live numerous times, particularly during the time period of these recordings. So there's a degree of bias here. The recordings took place for tracks 1 through 7 during a gig at My Father's Place, a famous house of blues on Long Island, NY, back in 1978. The final 3 tracks were recorded in 1984 with a completely new band when Roy returned to that venue. I believe these recordings which come from the sound board were once available as bootlegs. There once was a Yahoo! fan group called Roy's Live Recordings which traded in non-production bootlegs of Roy's concerts. And that's where I think I may have first heard this stuff. But even that's been more than 10 years ago so I cannot be sure. Anyway, this is a production release by Rockbeat Records that you can buy at Amazon or wherever. The sound quality has been re-engineered well for being from old source (analog) tapes. Albums of this nature inherently suffer from weak source recordings to begin with and Shredding the Blues is no exception. The best part about this release which sets it apart from a truly weak offering marketed under Roy Buchanan's name, Shake, Rattle, and Roy, is that it actually accentuates Roy's guitar. On Shake, Rattle and Roy (which I believe is mostly Danny Denver and His Soundmasters featuring Roy Buchanan) you can barely hear what Roy is playing. Live at My Father's Place is none of that. The set starts out with a version of the Howlin' Wolf tune, I'm Evil. A few minutes in Roy warms up and unleashes a barrage of his classic licks and runs which sets the audience on edge. On this tune, and actually most tracks that Roy himself sings the vocal track is weak. Now if you've ever seen Roy sing you know it's was not his strong suit and he practically whispers the words anyway. But the guitar is fantastic! More guitar is featured on the second track, Soul Dressing. However the feature of this tune is a nice extended piano solo, something which is rarely heard on Buchanan's recordings. A very nice keyboard break is in Baby Won't You Tell Me Where You're At also. I'd like to tell who is playing it but personnel was not provided. I'm pretty sure Malcolm Lukens was in the depths of heroin addiction by 1978, or recovering, so it wasn't him. Most all the numbers feature Roy just lighting it up on the fretboard. He makes the Telecaster scream, he makes it cry, he makes it wah-wah without a pedal. Fast as your ears can follow to slow and easy in a heartbeat. Tone like nothing you will ever hear elsewhere. And of course there's a ton of "pinched harmonics" for which he is famous. On Hey Joe he thanks Jimi Hendrix, then ends the tune with an extended Foxy Lady riff. And the unparalleled Messiah Will Come Again is in there as well. The final three tracks from 1984 were songs in development for his albums When A Guitar Plays The Blues and Dancing On The Edge, Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn and the title track for When A Guitar Plays The Blues. This is a fair representation of what Roy sounded like when he played live back in the 70s and early 80s. Vocals are rather weak and crowd noise at times becomes a distraction. But if you want to hear some electrifying guitar work, you should check this one out. If you've never heard Roy play, this probably isn't the place to start (Livestock is a much better live album). But if jaw dropping axe work is your thing you're gonna love Shredding The Blues.  

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  1. Thanks for the great review, Bman. As always you dig into the ether and strive to bring forward the best. Cheers mate!