07 Oct 1988
A virtuoso guitarist, the son of a preacher, raised in a Californian farm community where traveling revivalists and their gospel music led him into abiding interest in blues. He was highly regarded for his exquisitely taut sound on the Fender Telecaster. Buchanan played with Dale Hawkins (Suzi Q) and later Ronnie Hawkins. His reputation as a hot-shot guitarist extends back to the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll itself. He struck up a friendship with Robbie Robertson of The Band. Of Buchanan, Robertson has said: “He was the first great rock guitarist I ever heard…wonderful, just wonderful.” From 1959, when he married, Buchanan worked out of Washington recording with the likes of Freddy Cannon and for ace producers/writers Lieber and Stoller. It is said that Buchanan employed his battered Telecaster in more than 100 different bands.
Bill Harris was another Washington virtuoso guitarist, as comfortable with European classics as with down-home blues. “…one of the finest solo guitar players to take on classical guitar, jazz, and blues.” He was lead guitarist, composer/arranger, and singer with The Clovers in early 1950 to 1957. His 1956 “Bill Harris” album was the first solo jazz guitar album. In the 1970s Bill operated Pigfoot a combination restaurant nightclub and art gallery. Harris was a former WAMA Board member and a professor of music at Howard University.
Content courtesy of Washington Area Music Association.