Proof positive of the incredible musical genius of Rory Gall
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of the many inanities on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest guitarists that came out with great fanfare a few years ago is this: Rory Gallagher did not make the list. One can argue about where various guitarists should have been placed, but around 65 of the guitarists on the list truly belonged there. But 90 or 95 of the ones on the list must cringe with embarrassment that they were ranked above Rory Gallagher. There is simply no way that one can listen at any length to Rory play one scintillating solo after another and place him outside the top ten guitarists in the history of rock. Yeah, he was never terribly popular and even now is not especially well known to the public at large, but the fact is that he had utter mastery over his primary instrument. And unlike most guitarists, Gallagher was a multi instrumentalist. It is widely reported that when Mick Taylor left the Rolling Stones, the first choice to replace him was Gallagher. It is easy to see why. He was even more of a blues purist than any of the remaining Stones, was a better slide player than Keith Richards, Brian Jones, or Mick Taylor, would have provided far better back up vocals than anyone ever has for the band, would have brought some of the same multi-instrumental mastery that Brian Jones contributed in the sixties, and just generally would have forced everyone else in the band to get better just to keep up.
A lot of guitarists fake it in the studio. They get the benefit of multiple takes, double tracking, and various sound effects. Live albums show what you can really do, and luckily we have two great live albums from Gallagher, this one and IRISH TOUR. I actually prefer this one, however, because most of the cuts here did not appear on other albums. For the most part, he sticks with reworkings of classic blues songs. Unlike many bands, his versions never, ever sound like parodies of the originals (for instance, Led Zeppelin on all their blues covers except the truly haunting "When the Levee Breaks"). This album illustrates something that I think shows just how special Gallagher was: how superbly he managed to play while singing. The overwhelming majority of guitarists shift to a sort of back up or rhythm mode when they are singing, moving away from a kind of counterpoint until the singing stops and they can shift to lead guitar mode. Even a guitar god like Richard Thompson does this (though his "back up" mode is far better than most). What is eerie about Gallagher is how is intermixes his singing with lead playing. He often is effectively soloing or playing counterpoint to his singing, as if he able to devote separate parts of his brain to singing and playing. The only other guitarist that I know who does this as well as Gallagher is Jimi Hendrix. Anyone wanting to see what I'm talking about should just listen to this album carefully, noticing not just how he shifts from singing to playing, but how he is playing WHILE he is singing. This also comes across with the way he can play a guitar solo while also playing the harmonica. Whatever else this proves, it demonstrates his almost freakish musical gifts.
Every cut on the album is nothing short of amazing. Later in his career Gallagher would throttle back ever so slightly on his playing, adding more of a lyrical touch when he played. But here he is playing with almost reckless abandon, though never out of control. The only rock guitarist that I think was better on slide was Duane Allmann and on several cuts here Gallagher shines in his slide work. I utterly love, for instance, the way he shifts from regular playing to slide on "I Could Have Had Religion" while also moving from vocals to harmonica. And while he is equally as impressive on cuts like "Messin' with the Kid" and Laundromat" and "Bullfrog Blues," the icing on the cake is what he does with acoustic guitar on "Pistol Slapper Blues" and mandolin on "Going to My Home Town." The most astonishing thing about the number he performs on mandolin is how incredibly exciting it is. One wouldn't normally imagine this to be the case, but the proof is in the listening.
This is without question one of the great live albums ever released and vivid proof of how great Gallagher was. It also stands a rebuke to whatever morons were in charge of that silly Rolling Stone list."
Simply the best
gilbert ramos | 05/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rory Gallagher was probably the most underrated blues/rock artist in the world. As guitarist, singer, and composer, Rory was unparalleled. Any of his albums is a good pick, but this set shows him at his best, in front of a live audience. A pure musician, Rory took a no-frills approach to his music, which was a nice contrast to the pretentious pseudo-artsiness of so many other performers of the era. For a good dose of the best high-energy music anywhere, you can't go wrong with this album. Rory is gone, but his superb musical legacy lives on. Thanks, Rory!"
He be 'da MAN!!
gilbert ramos | 05/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorite guitar CDs of all time. I seen Rory play live MANY times....and this is a small example of what he sounded like in concert...also get Tattoo (if you can find it), the Taste CDs and Blueprint. Play it LOUD!!!!!! HEY!!!"
Very very good, but could have been much better.
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Rory Gallagher in Aug. 1974 after Tattoo was released, and went to as many of his concerts as I could. The first "side" of this cd is fantastic; raw, basic and very bluesy. The later dates don't really fit in with the earlier music. Rory started using effect petals and his drummer, Ted McKenna wasn't that good of a musician in my opinion. They also shouldn't have cut out "In Your Town" on this cd version- Rory plays superb slide guitar. The record company should have expanded the cuts from 1972 ( I'm sure there are some awesome un-released tracks )and leave off the "Stage Struck" material."
Bless you Rory
gilbert ramos | reseda, Ca | 02/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the gods would have it, I came across "Live In Europe" around 1974-75. It immediately floored me. Sir Rory gives you his absolutely everything. Just incredible. A few years later, me & cousin Larry saw Rory at the old Stardwood in Hollywood. Whew! It was utterly transcendant. Funny thing is, I never bought another Rory album. You know how life is; you get distracted along the way. But the memory of "Live In Europe" and Rory's Starwood performance is engraved on my soul. Rory, I am indebted to you. Just reminiscing here, puts me in a kind of trance. "