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Biography (23 Sep 1939 - 15 Aug 1988)

Roy's biography at Alligator Records.

See also the Life and Times section for this Biography



Roys career starts around 1957, where he played in Dale Hawkins band and provided guitar work for Hawkins rockabilly and blues records on Checker (a subsidiary of Chess). He replaced James Burton who had previously worked for Hawkins but had left for a more promising career working for Ricky Nelson and others.


"Buch & the Snakestretchers": Buch was a Roy's nickname used often by Chuck Tilley (current band vocalist). "One of Three" was the first release of what was planned to be a trilogy. Roy Buchanan and the Snakestretchers were the house band at the Crossroads Night Club in Bladensburg, Maryland in 1971 when the album was recorded. The sessions, over a week or two, were engineered by Hal Davis ( also RB manager ) along with Bob Ahrens.

Roy had established an affiliation with Polydor by doing a recording with Charlie Daniels in 1969. He wanted Polydor to release "One of Three" as his first release for them. They refused ( it was this refusal that caused Roy to name the label BIOYA) and he eventually did a studio album wich contained some of the same material on it.


A guitarist of incredible ability who sadly lacked the public acclaim he rightly deserved. The nearest he ever got to fame was when Eric Clapton reputedly asked him to join Derek And The Dominoes in 1970. Buchanan politely refused saying he had his own band, The Snakestretchers.


Premiere blues guitar player and WAMA Hall of Famer Roy Buchanan discovered by Washington Post and secures first solo recording contract after playing in local groups such as the British Walkers and developing career as sideman for Dale Hawkins, Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks, Freddy Cannon and many others.


Roy Buchanan's debut LP, Buch & The Snake Stretchers, recorded at Crossroads Restaurant in Bladensburg, Md.


Roy dies in a police cell (FAIRFAX, VA).
Roy apparently came home from the local bar with some male person, who then along with Roy acted up, so Judy threw them out, then called the cops. The cops picked up Roy and, the county sheriff tells Jim Buchanan, he was jovial when locked up. Sheriff says they didn't even arrest and book him and told him to sleep it off. A routine check supposedly found Roy hanging from his shirt in the cell, from a low window grate that would make that difficult if not impossible. Marc Fisher, a friend, claims to have seen Roy's body afterwards and reported bruises about the head. It is possible Roy did himself in. It is also possible that he grew belligerent at being picked up, gave the cops a hard time, and they used a choke hold or something that resulted in his death and the need to stage a suicide. Roy may indeed have been fatally remorseful that he couldn't stay on the wagon (reports differ on why he shaved his head that summer) or he might have been the victim of murder.

My name is Jerry Hentman, I was in the cell directly across from Roy's on that fateful night. I can say with confidence that I was the last person to speak to him. I was locked up in the DT block at Fairfax jail for a B.S. charge (argument w/ girlfriend). I fell asleep only to be awakened several times by Roy throwing some toilet paper at me and cussing at me. I got fed up with it so I told him to shut the "F" up. We went back and forth several times and it just ceased. I was awakened early the next morning to some commotion, I looked from out of my cell and saw the Deputy Sheriffs open Roy's door and cut his shirt from around his neck from the door. I was the only person contacted by I.A.D. several times after this and what I saw was that Roy had taken his own life. They tried in vane for about 15 minutes to revive him but it was too late. Look, I know that it is easy to put the blame on someone else but sometimes the truth is hard to handle. I did not know who Roy Buchanan was, in 1988 I was 24 years old and was into heavy metal rock and roll. Jerry

RRoy Buchanan Thumbstone


Last Modified: 24-Mar-2018 11:26

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