Roy Buchanan “Live at Town Hall 1974” 2 CD’s Review
By BOB PUTIGNANO

eHezi Arts & Entertainment, History, People, Radio 1 Comment

Roy Buchanan “Live at Town Hall 1974” 2 CD’s Review

 www.RealGoneMusic.com

Bob Putignano is Music Editor at the Yonkers Tribune.

Though mass appeal eluded him, and that it has been nearly thirty years since Roy Buchanan’s passing, the superlative guitar hero is rarely forgotten.

The two sets captured from these performances at Town Hall in New York City from around Thanksgiving of 1974 were recorded by the Record Plant’s mobile facility. Given the fine acoustics of Town Hall and the Record Plant’s well-known recording abilities, I would have expected that these performances would glisten with audiophile-like dynamics. Unfortunately both sets fall flat. Not as much for the performances, but mostly because of the dull sound that offers minimal punch.  It is also embarrassing when Buchanan stops playing on “I’m Evil,” as the lifeless backing band plods along to a shortened and abrupt ending. 

Yet while there are several standout moments displaying Buchanan’s virtuosity, many (if not all) guitar blasts go unchallenged, and often fall flat with a sterile/cold feeling. From the times I first saw Buchanan, including his first NYC concert at Carnegie Hall, I never understood why Buchanan regularly toured with sub-par musicians. That being said, this is just another one of those Buchanan concerts with dull sidemen who just don’t deserve a passing grade. These lackluster sidemen add little to the mix to assist Buchanan reaching a higher playing field that all of us knew he was capable. As expected, both sets include repetitive song selections, which has me wondering why this two-CD box-set should not have been reduced as a one-CD release consisting of the best from both sets. 

As per the usual Real Gone Music treatment; Phil Carson, Buchanan’s biographer, and author of “Roy Buchanan: American Axe”, wrote the liner notes for the eleven-page booklet that helps to elevate this double CD release. 

In summary, categorize this Buchanan Town Hall release as essential for Buchanan fanatics who will likely revel with these previously unreleased Buchanan tracks. But not-so-much for most Blues-Rock and Roots music fans.  

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eHeziRoy Buchanan “Live at Town Hall 1974” 2 CD’s Review
By BOB PUTIGNANO

Comments 1

  1. I was disappointed to read that Bob Putignano suffers so much ear damage that he couldn’t hear the sound quality or the performance quality on this release. Perhaps he should seek medical help.

    As for Bob’s ability to assess good music, or understand what an “archival release” is, no doctor can help him.

    Disclosure: I worked on this project by penning the liner notes. I attended the two shows at Town Hall in November 1974. And I witnessed Roy Buchanan in performance probably 75 times over a 12-year period.

    Instead of this ill-considered trashing of a fine release, I recommend that readers head over to Amazon.com where a wide swath of reviewers give the release five stars, both for performance and sound quality. The sound quality on this release is stunningly clear and strong, a tribute to Roy and his band, Town Hall and the Record Plant’s mobile unit that recorded it.

    Roy was in fine form that night and, indeed, the highlights of this archival release became the best LP of Roy’s career: Live Stock. The point of this archival release is to put both full sets into the hands of the fans who can appreciate it. That’s the definition of an archival release.

    In my estimation, the first set on the first disc is a beautiful, wrenching tribute to both Roy’s talents and the amazing quality of his band. Billy Price’s singing tugs at the heart. Malcolm Lukens’ thoughtful and deft B3 organ is the perfect counterpart to Roy’s stinging guitar solos. John Harrison on bass and Byrd Foster on drums handle rhythm duties with a swinging solidity that perfectly complements the lead players.

    The obvious intent of the performance was to ensure that an album’s worth of material was recorded and the result has been lauded by guitar fans everywhere for the past 43 years. Thus the second set on the second disc repeats songs from the first set. Interestingly, the first set yielded most of the Live Stock LP, with one song from the second set and one from a later performance.

    To dismiss this release’s sound quality and the band backing Roy as mindlessly and inarticulately as Bob Putignano does here only reveals his own hearing loss and lack of musical judgment. He truly has no idea what he’s talking about.

    But don’t take it from me — buy it and enjoy it. Here’s a great document of one of the most musically and technically explorative and soulful guitarists to ever live, backed by a killer band.

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