Album review: RORY GALLAGHER – Kickback City/Live In Cork

Kickback City

Sony Music [Release date 28.10.13]

This release is a rather interesting twist on an artist’s legacy.  In recent years we’ve been treated to definitive remastered albums under the careful eye of Rory’s younger brother Donal but ‘Kickback City’ is an altogether different proposition.

As a package it emphasises Rory Gallager’s fascination with the crime thriller genre – clearly reflected in many of his songs – and an interest in the dark horse or outsider.  Bring together ace crime writer Ian “Inspector Rebus” Rankin and DC Comics graphic artist Timothy Truman – both declared Rory fans – and you have a compelling new release.

There are three CDs including appropriate studio tracks (all previously available), live tracks available on CD for the first time (from the 1987 Opera House gig in Cork) and a narration of the short story ‘Kickback City’ plus Rankin’s novella ‘The Lie Factory’.  The short story is enhanced by Truman’s graphics, there are four postcards,  and of course all is inspired by the song titles. 

Indeed this might explain the selection of certain tracks, and there seems to be an emphasis on the later pieces.  Perhaps Rankin was particularly inspired by ‘Defender’ (Rory’s 1987 studio album) because four tracks are included.

The live tracks are actually a nice complement to the recent Eagle Vision release Live In Cork (EREDV986).  Again, the emphasis is on ‘Defender’ (Continental Op, I Ain’t No Saint) but also included are a handful of earlier classics (‘Tattoo’d Lady’, ‘Messin’ With the Kid’, ‘Loanshark Blues’) as well as the instrumental ‘The Loop’ which would appear on the last studio album ‘Fresh Evidence’ in 1990.

The Cork Opera House gig marked the return of Gallagher to his hometown and is an excellent companion to the classic ‘Irish Tour 74’.  In 1987 he showed no sign of slowing down although sadly the ensuing years would take their toll: a legendary performer wrestling with ill health, personal demons, and a changing musical industry. 

Both these releases further attest the durability of the Gallagher phenomenon and with brother Donal maintaining the quality control we can hope that more Rory riches are still in store.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Reissues (2013)


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 23 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 25 August 2020.


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