Monday, April 6, 2015

I’ve got a couple of crates full of old vinyl albums that I haven’t listened to in years due to lack of equipment to play them. Over a period of about a year and a half I revisited each album on the internet or bought the CD and ranked the songs. I also recorded some brief thoughts, rated the album, and posted the results on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists comment section. I’m recycling and categorizing/grouping  the posts on this website.

When a Guitar Plays the Blues
Roy Buchanan was a great blues guitar player who was smart enough to resist trying to be anything else. This is a straight up 12 bar, 3 chord R&B album that sufficiently serves its purpose if you’re in the mood for nothing but blues. His guitar can be a bit too piercing for my taste at times (I don't know why, but I want to use razor blades as an adjective here), but at the same time it does add an element akin to a primal scream which is conducive to the blues, so fair enough. An OK album, but nothing that breaks the mold or stands out as exceptional.
Scale of 1 to 10:  C -

1- Short Fuse
2- When A Guitar Plays the Blues
3- Mrs. Pressure
4- Chicago Smokeshop
5- Why Don’t You Want Me
6- Hawaiian Punch
7- Country Boy
8- A Nickel and a Nail
9- Sneaking Godzilla Through the Alley

Roy Buchanan Second Album
I’m going to recycle a previous comment: Roy Buchanan was a great blues guitar player who was smart enough to resist trying to be anything else. And that’s a good thing when it comes to this album. Good stuff. Buchanan should probably have earned a spot on the Guitarist list for this album alone. “Filthy Teddy” is a killer jam so I guess it’s kinda strange that I would give the first spot to an out of place song that’s so simple I could play it. But there’s something about a great guitarist that can make the simplest of songs sound beautiful. Professionalism, I guess.
My initial reaction is to give this album a B-plus simply because, as much as I like hard core R&B, it usually isn’t my first choice. But when you look at this album in the light of what it’s trying to be – straight up R&B jam – it hits the mark dead on.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A –

1- She Once Lived Here
2- Filthy Teddy
3- After Hours
4- Five String Blues
5- I Won’t Tell No Lies
6- Tribute to Elmore James
7- Treat Her Right
8- Thank You Lord

Dancing on the Edge
I remember this album’s version of “Peter Gunn” was playing at the record shop as I was sifting through the bins. Sold! I asked who it was and bought the album. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here again, the best thing about Roy Buchanan was he knew what he was – a smoking (mostly blues) guitar player – and didn’t try to be anything else. On many of these songs he doesn’t even bother with any vocals. There’re a couple of exceptions, but most of this album is standard hardcore R&B. In most cases picking a favorite mainly depends on which blues riff you prefer to back up his guitar playing. I know I say it often, but my rankings on this list are tight. The songs could be listed in any order.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B

1- Cream of the Crop
2- Baby, Baby, Baby
3- Drowning on Dry Land
4- Petal to the Metal
5- You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover
6- Jungle Gym
7- Peter Gunn
8- Matthew
9- Whiplash
10- Beer Drinking Woman
11- The Choking Kind

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