“There are a million guys who sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but I never heard anybody who could really pull off sounding like Rory Gallagher.” Slash
“As soon as I heard Cradle Rock, I was hooked. I thought, ‘This is what I want to be when I grow up’.” Joe Bonamassa
Anyone who knows anything about blues rock or electric guitar playing knows what a talent Ireland’s Rory Gallagher was. Born in County Donegal, his light shone brightly in the late 1960s to the 1980s, as he played and recorded with Taste and then in a solo career that saw him sell over 30m albums.
UMC has now released the 50th Anniversary Box Set of Gallagher’s eponymous 1971 debut album Rory Gallagher. The sumptuous packaging of the album, now newly mixed, along with previously unreleased tracks, rare outtakes and BBC Radio sessions will be a delight to existing and new fans alike. The deluxe 5-disc box set comprising 4 CDs and 1 DVD, a hardback book and a rare never-before-released concert “Pop Deux”filmed in 1971 for French television, could make someone you know very happy this Christmas (or possibly yourself!).
If you can’t stretch to the CD+DVD Box Set, there’s also a very nicely packaged 2CD or 3LP set to content yourself with. It’s the 2CD version that I acquired, and I can tell you, it makes a fine addition to the CD collection.
Aside from the music, there’s a nice liner booklet included with lengthy contributions from Rory’s brother Dónal Gallagher and his bass player, Gerry McAvoy. Dónal was not only Gallagher’s brother, but his manager and confidant gives a nice bit of background to the making of Rory’s first album after the breakup of Taste, while McAvoy provides an intriguing musician’s take on Rory and the album, as well as some personal background.
The debut album features some of Gallagher’s most popular songs including Laundromat, I Fall Apart and Just the Smile, the delightful and amusing acoustic blues of Wave Myself Goodbye, the country rock of It’s You and the piano-driven I’m Not Surprised. The album is beautifully varied – it’s clearly a break with Taste’s approach, even though some of the songs had been written with Taste in mind. Dónal comments that, “in general, the sound of Rory Gallagher was much softer than either of the Taste records.” The blues are never far away, although Gallagher’s approach, even now, sounds fresh and alive. The blues rock of Laundromat, for example, shows Gallagher to be not only hugely capable of fast, accurate fretboard runs, but of intelligent, innovative music making.
Gallagher’s previous band Taste had disbanded in October 1970, and after recruiting Gerry McAvoy and Wilgar Campbell (drums), two Irish musicians who had played in support of Taste in the past, he recorded his first solo album at the legendary Advision Studios in Fitzrovia, London, one of the hottest recording studios of the time and home of classic albums recorded by The Yardbirds, The Who, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Elton John and many more.
CD2 contains a number of alternative takes for songs on Rory Gallagher, as well as Advision Jam, a rocking instrumental and four live BBC recordings from 1971. The latter are excellent recordings, as are the John Peel BBC recordings provided on the 4CD set.
Overall, this is a classy production with much to enjoy if you’re a Gallagher fan. If you’re not, you might well be content with fewer alternative takes and settle for the superb 2CD set. Either way – highly recommended.
Formats and Track Listing
4CD+1DVD Deluxe Set / Super Deluxe Digital
Laundromat – 50th Anniversary Edition
Just The Smile – 50th Anniversary Edition
I Fall Apart – 50th Anniversary Edition
Wave Myself Goodbye – 50th Anniversary Edition
Hands Up – 50th Anniversary Edition
Sinner Boy – 50th Anniversary Edition
For The Last Time – 50th Anniversary Edition
It’s You – 50th Anniversary Edition
I’m Not Surprised – 50th Anniversary Edition
Can’t Believe It’s True – 50th Anniversary Edition
Gypsy Woman – Tangerine Studio Session
It Takes Time – Tangerine Studio Session
I Fall Apart – Tangerine Studio Session
Wave Myself Goodbye – Tangerine Studio Session
At The Bottom – Alternate Take 1
At The Bottom – Alternate Take 2
At The Bottom – Alternate Take 3
At The Bottom – Alternate Take 4
Laundromat – Alternate Take 1
Just The Smile – Alternate Take 1
Just The Smile – Alternate Take 2
I Fall Apart – Alternate Take 1
Wave Myself Goodbye – Alternate Take 1
Wave Myself Goodbye – Alternate Take 2
Hands Up – Alternate Takes 1 – 6
Sinner Boy – Alternate Takes 1-3
For The Last Time – Alternate Takes 1-3
It’s You – Alternate Takes 1-2
I’m Not Surprised – Alternate Takes 1-2
Can’t Believe It’s True – Alternate Take 1
For The Last Time – Live On BBC “Sounds Of The Seventies” / 1971*
Laundromat – Live On BBC “Sounds Of The Seventies” / 1971*
It Takes Time – Live On BBC “Sounds Of The Seventies” / 1971*
I Fall Apart – Live On BBC “Sounds Of The Seventies” / 1971*
Hands Up – Live On BBC “John Peel Sunday Concert” / 1971
For The Last Time – Live On BBC “John Peel Sunday Concert” / 1971
In Your Town – Live On BBC “John Peel Sunday Concert” / 1971
Just The Smile – Live On BBC “John Peel Sunday Concert” / 1971
Laundromat – Live On BBC “John Peel Sunday Concert” / 1971
It Takes Time – Live On BBC “John Peel Sunday Concert” / 1971
(*Off Air Recording)
Wave Myself Goodbye
It Takes Time
For the Last Time
The Same Thing
I Fall Apart