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Roy Buchanan

On 23/09/1939: Roy Buchanan was born. He was born in Ozark, Arkansas and his full birth name was Leroy Buchanan. When he was young he would go with his mother Minnie to revival meetings and he became inspired by Gospel music. He would draw from various influences though whilst he learned to play the guitar. He would also claim that some of his ability came from being "half-wolf". Roy would start playing on the steel guitar and then changed to the guitar in the early 50s. When he was 15 he joined Johnny Otis's rhythm and blues revue.
In 1958 he made his first recording when he recorded with Dale Hawkins.
In 1960 whilst touring in Toronto, Buchanan left Dale Hawkin's band to play for his cousin Ronnie Hawkins. Whilst with Ronnie's band he tutored their guitar player Robbie Robertson. Buchanan would play bass on Ronnie Hawkin's single "Who Do You Love". Roy would then return to the US, Ronnie's band would later gain as The Band.
In 1961 he released "Mule Train Stomp", which was his first single for Swan.
In the early sixties, Buchanan was the sideman for various bands and played on sessions with Freddy Cannon and Merle Kilgore amongst others. By the late sixties, he had briefly retired from music to train as a barber.
In the early seventies, he performed in Washington DC and Maryland, Virginia with the Danny Denver Band.
In 1971 he was the subject of an hour-long documentary on PBS called "Introducing Roy Buchanan". The show would get him a record deal with Polydor Records. He would also receive praise from John Lennon and Merle Haggard. It has been rumoured he turned down the opportunity to join the Rolling Stones. He would record five albums for Polydor.
In 1973 he released his second album for Polydor called "Second Album". It would go gold.
In 1977 he appeared on PBS again on the music show Austin City Limits.
In 1981 he quit recording as he stated he wanted to be able to record his music in the way he wanted.
In 1985 Buchanan started recording again when Alligator Records convinced him to record for them. He would record three albums for Alligator and would have complete artistic freedom to the recordings.
In 1987 he recorded his last album "Hot Wires" for Alligator.
On 13 August 1988 he was arrested for public intoxication and domestic dispute. He was found hanged from his own shirt in his cell the next day. The cause of death was officially recorded as suicide, some of his friends and family dispute this however. It was believed that Buchanan had gained control of his drinking habit in the period leading to his death.
Buchanan has influenced many guitarists, these include Gary Moore, Danny Gatton, Arlen Roth, and Jeff Beck.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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