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