" Live at Rockpalast DVD "
BluesWax Rating: 7
"A new DVD of Roy Buchanan has been released, only the second available. Reviewer Bob Putignano tells us why this may be a "must have" for many fans." Chip Eagle for Blues Revue & Blueswax.com
One of Only Two Buchanan Videos Available and It's a Good One
Who can forget the buzz around Roy Buchanan when he came to national and international prominence? I remember seeing Buchanan on his first trip to New York City at Carnegie Hall, and his first Polydor LP hadn't been released, yet, because of the PBS special, the concert sold out. After some research, I noticed that Buchanan DVDs are previously singular. The only other commercially available DVD is his Live from Austin, Texas. But this is not the only reason to own this DVD, as the concert footage is sharp, the audio is crisp, Buchanan is on his game, and Roy's in a particular smiling mood, though he doesn't speak to the audience often.
"Roy Buchanan Live" at Rockpalast was recorded in Hamburg, Germany, on February 24, 1985. The crowd is enthusiastic throughout, even though (not counting Buchanan) the band leaves a bit to be desired mainly because there's virtually no one in the band to prod Buchanan on, but Buchanan needs no such nudging. Nonetheless, Buchanan is highly charged and extremely creative throughout. It's no wonder that, of the thirteen tunes included, there are only four vocals, and one is by John Steele, who also plays second guitar, (un-credited) harp, and piano.
The instrumental "Thing In G (Short Fuse)" offers a glimpse of the high-speed antics that would follow. I'm not sure that Booker T. & MG's would approve of Buchanan's cover of "Green Onions," but this version goes into another zone, making it one of the most unique covers of this classic piece. Buchanan's "Roy's Blues (Roy's Bluz)" starts slowly, Buchanan talk-sings through parts, but it eventually evolves into a stone-cold hard rocker that clocks in at over ten minutes. "Walk Don't Run" is short and sweet at 2:23. Buchanan's stroll on "Sweet Dreams" is drop-dead gorgeous. Roy leaves the zone on "Peter Gun," which is wild and just sizzles. Buchanan attempts singing on "Hey Joe" which segues into "Foxy Lady" where the playing is incredible. His guitar roars into the stratosphere, but there's no doubt as to why Roy didn't sing often, as his over-the-top singing (especially on "Foxy Lady") are (kindly) weird. Roy doesn't even sing on his "Messiah (Messiah Will Come Again," which (as usual) is performed slowly, but there's no lack of intensity and passion, and this selection closes the set. But there's more as they encore with "Night Train" (oddly credited to Buchanan) and it's driven at warp-speed, astral flash-traveling tempos. The second encore song, "Linda Lou," is sung by Steele who's an awful singer. The band exits again and returns with their second round encore with Buchanan's instrumental "Wayfaring Pilgrim," where there's a fine piano segment by Steele, and closes this performance soft and sweetly.
Just three years after this performance Roy chose to leave the planet, which is hard to believe as he looked extremely happy here. In between one of the earlier songs segments someone must have yelled what sounded like "You're number one" as Roy calmly replies, "There's no such thing as number one." It's an interesting reply from Buchanan, and might explain what demons were going through his mind. In summary, this DVD is well worth your time and dollars to seek-out, as Roy's healthy and in top form. For Buchanan fans this will obviously be a necessity, non-Roy fans will also dig Buchanan's beautiful, stunning, delicious, and wild-rocking guitar playing. Enjoy.
Note: This DVD is also available as a CD.Unfortunately, In Session is their only known recording together, but thanks to Concord/Stax, this disc lives on and on.
Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: email@example.com
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com