Album review: RORY GALLAGHER – The Best Of


UMC [Release date 07.10.20]

Irish guitarist and vocalist Rory Gallagher is one of THE names in blues guitar; he was considered The Man by both Jimi Hendrix and Joe Bonamassa, no mean feat. Finding fame in the late 60s with Taste, it is his solo career in the 70s and early 80s that saw him reach legendary status. A man who dared venture to Belfast during The Troubles, he lived to play live on stage and united a lot of people in doing so.

It’s been a long time since we had a serious catalogue overhaul (2000, in fact, when I interviewed brother and manager Donal Gallagher), and it’s long overdue. But on the recent success of the Blues 3CD set and the recent Check Shirt Wizard live set, we get a fine Best Of, 30 tracks over 2 CDs that start wit 1969’s “Taste” LP and up to his last studio album, 1990’s “Fresh Evidence”. In fact, the latter’s Ghost Blues (8 minutes of magic) showed he was playing the finest blues and some neat slide guitar right up to the very end.

The blues throughout is magnificent, raw, honest, refined, superb. And tracks like Daughter Of The Everglades, an absolute classic, prove his guitar could do accompanying piano justice too.

And as a bonus there’s an outtake of I Can’t Get No Satisfaction with Jerry Lee Lewis. If you own much Gallagher, you may not need the album, but if you don’t this is essential listening. Either way it’s a fantastic compilation and a wonderful listen beginning to end. Gallagher was The Maestro, with playing and songwriting to match. Shame there’s no Bullfrog Blues or anything live from Irish Tour ’74 (one of the best live albums of all time), but nothing not to enjoy here. Blues rock guitar at its finest and no question. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

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