Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Irish Connection …a Tribute to Rory Gallagher (1948-1995)

Living in Ireland as I have been for 37 years now it’s fitting to say a few words about Ireland’s most revered and respected Guitarist----the Late Rory Gallagher.

Most of you who had the privilege of being acquainted with the Gallagher Band will of course know that his trademark instrument was a battered but sweet Fender Stratocaster which I believe is now being reproduced as a special edition by the Fender Company. He used this same 1961 instrument throughout his career and also used the beautiful 1931 National Resophonic along with a ’61 Fender Telecaster and a Gretsch Corvette.

My first exposure to Rory’s completely inimitable style and stage presence was in his very early days with the band Taste. Finding myself alone and rather forlorn in London in the Autumn of 1969, what better to get out of this state than to go in search of some Blues. Sifting through the gig guides in the evening paper I stumbled across the entry for the RoundHouse, a very well known Rock Music venue in the Northern suburbs of the city.

Hearing of Rory’s rise to fame with Taste during my year in Dublin and thought it would be cool to see the band live .I wasn’t disappointed…in fact to this day the first glimpse of Rory as he arrived on stage about two feet off the ground from somewhere on the right wings is an image I shall never forget! What an entrance …it was spectacular and gave us all an idea of what was to come. 21years old and a more accomplished showman and stage presence you could not have witnessed at that time.

Some five years later his Irish Tour 1974 came naturally to Dublin at the Savoy and his new Band continued the evolutionary process that had begun in his early teens. Still the same ‘Strat and his trademark Lumberjack shirt and more energy released in a two hour set than a 20 kiloton Nuclear missile.

He remained true to his Blues roots throughout his career assimilating many styles of the old Bluesmen into his phenomenal technique. I particularly admired his slide guitar work which always found a place in his Album tracks and in live performances. For those of you who have not yet become familiar with his body of work I strongly recommend that you give a close look at the newly released Double Album entitled…”Big Guns…The Very Best of Rory Gallagher” There are twenty four tracks on this release covering his whole career and include the essential:-

1. What’s Going On ( Taste…1970)
2. Bullfrog Blues (Live at Brighton Dome 1974)
3. Messin’ With the Kid (live at Brighton Dome 1974)
4. Born on the Wrong Side of Time (Taste 1969)
5. I’ll Admit You’re Gone (1976)

Probably my favourite track, which highlights his song writing ability and his skill at producing a meaningful ballad is the haunting “I’ll admit you’re Gone”. However it is difficult to find a song that is not completely unique such was his talent.
Rory has gone to the Great Gig in the Sky but his music and effervescence will be there for future generations of Guitarists to learn from and marvel at. One of the most sincere and skilful Guitarists of his Generation. An extraordinary Irishman!

Rory Gallagher…….. Born 1948---------Died 1995

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Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Hi Robin, good to see another Rory fan here.

3:14 PM  

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