Review: “When A Guitar Plays The Blues”

I don’t know if it’s the emotion evoked through the music or the excellent instruments, but something makes the blues one of my favorite genres. This album is by the fanatical blues guitarist/vocalist Roy Buchanan. It mixes many different guitar techniques and styles with the basic blues rhythms such as, shredding & abnormal guitar tones, which stretches the boundaries of blues guitar and guitar technique in general. Using pinch techniques is also one of the keys of his style as well as having a very distorted, full volume guitar tone.

The opening track to the album, also shares it’s name. “When a Guitar Plays the Blues” starts off with a bizarre whining noise, made by a guitar. It was a noise I’d never quite heard anything like, especially not by a guitar. Quickly, after he smoothly blends it into your basic electric/Chicago-styled blues. The song clocks in at just under six and a half minutes, containing only one verse, but cramming in many solos.

Another outstanding track on the album is the five-minute instrumental “Chicago Smokeshop.” The song has a ZZ Top styled boogie riff, which is used to exemplify and amplify the stellar blues guitar playing. About halfway through the song, Roy goes into a shredding mode which lasts till the end of the song.

The song “Short Fuse” featuring saxophone player Steele “Sonny” Seales is one of the other pieces on the album that I couldn’t help but love. The song comprises of Roy and Steele exchanging solos in a head-cuttin’ blues style over a Ray Charlesesque rhythm.

All in all, the album has some decent vocals and blues styled rhythms, but the lead instruments (mainly guitar) are what makes it so wonderful.

Rating : 9.2/10