Album review: RORY GALLAGHER – Blues

In this archive interview, Donal Gallagher chats to David Randall about Rory’s music. Recorded in February 2012 for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio prior to the release of the remastered seventies albums. A second interview in 2013 brought the story more up to date and is repeated occasionally on the station. (30:00)

Chess/Universal Music Group [Release date 31.05.19]

Not just one of Ireland’s finest, Rory was the man everyone bowed down to. Gary Moore and Bernie Torme sung his praises, as did the likes of Eric Clapton, Ace Frehley, Joe Bonamassa, Brian May, Slash and Peter Frampton. If there was ever a blues/rock guitarist who could make some old piece of kit talk, no, sing, it was Rory. A man taken from us too soon.

Raised in Cork, Rory started off in Taste, before going solo, and musicians who passed through his ranks include the recently departed drum legend Ted McKenna. I was lucky enough to see him live in the early 90s, a couple of years before he died, and I have interviewed his brother and manager Donal since.

This 3CD set (other versions are available) comes from the vaults with a plethora of rare and many unreleased works.

Disc one is the Electric Blues set, opening with the fine boogie of ‘Don’t Start Me Talkin’ (from the Jinx album sessions), before the bluesier ‘Nothin’ But The Devil’ (1975). The latter clearly the type of blues an influence on the likes of Gary Moore.

The 12 tracks on this disc include unreleased tracks, live BBC sessions, and other tracks include ‘Leaving Town Blues’ (from the Rattlesnake Guitar Peter Green tribute album) and tracks by Lonnie Donegan and Muddy Waters featuring Gallagher as a guest. It’s honest and earthy and rocking all in one. Whether slow, fast, boogie or storytelling, the blues here is just fantastic. And a fine addition to any Rory collection.

Disc two is the Acoustic Blues set, and follows a similar trail of previously unreleased tracks (or outtake versions) from classic albums including Blueprint, Tattoo and Deuce, along side live tracks recorded for Radio Two, Radio FFN, German TV and Irish TV. Not only is this a real goldmine, but proof of just how good a guitarist Rory was; his slide on an acoustic was just as eclectic and there’s nowhere to hide. Honest brilliance.

Live was really the place to experience Rory, and the Live Disc (3) shows why. Some explosive energy and amazing guitar, what’s not to love? ‘When My Baby She Left Me’ is the first of three previously unreleased live tracks from the Glasgow Apollo 1982, and a very fine ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ from 1977, and an extended jam from the Old Grey Whistle Test. The disc finishes with a short interview with Rory too.

This is a wonderful collection of some of Rory’s rarest and finest. Sadly no ‘Daughter Of The Everglade’s or ‘Bullfrog Blues’ (check them out, seriously), but given how long it is since we had any serious coordinated Rory Gallagher reissue campaign, this is a fine reminder of how good he was and also of what is out there. Universal take note.  *****

Review by Joe Geesin

Reissues (2012)
Reissues (Kickback City/Live In Cork, 2013)
Reissues (Irish Tour ’74, 2014 plus interview with Gerry McAvoy)


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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