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The Essential: Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

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Album Review

Rory Gallagher's solo debut picks up where On The Boards left off - it's a solid, but significantly less raucous, blues rock outing with ten original tunes that were far more than skeletons for his incisive Strat picking. "Laundromat," "Hands Up," and "Sinner Boy"'s distinctive riffs were early concert favorites, but the album's ballads were some of Gallagher's strongest. "For the Last Time," "Just the Smile" and the acoustic "I'm Not Surprised" mixed strains of Delta blues with strong melodic sensibilities into songs of rare poignancy, especially for an artist who was best known for his scorching leads. In this respect Gallagher was an early model for Eric Clapton, whose solo career followed a similar path. Interestingly, Gallagher seems rather restrained throughout his debut, holding back the fret-burning in favor of strong songs. He opens up on the album's jazzy, seven-minute finale "Can't Believe It's You" which even features an alto sax, an instrument Gallagher all but abandoned on later albums. 2000's reissued, remastered version of the disc includes two additional tunes, Muddy Waters' slow Delta blues number "Gypsy Woman" and Otis Rush's fast Chicago shuffle "It Takes Time," both cut at the same sessions. "Gypsy Woman"'s slashing slide guitar and vocals sound as impassioned any other track; shuffle "It Takes Time" isn't quite as impressive but still shows how comfortable Gallagher is with straight blues. Brother/compiler Donal Gallagher's track notes are short but illuminating, and the remastered sound, although not as vibrant as on later reissues of Gallagher's catalog, is a big improvement over any existing version of this consistently superb album.

Biography

Born: 02 March 1948 in Ballyshannon, Donegal, Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

For a career that was cut short by illness and a premature death, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Rory Gallagher sure accomplished a lot in the blues music world. Although Gallagher didn't tour the U.S. nearly enough, spending most of his time in Europe, he was known for...
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The Essential: Rory Gallagher, Rory Gallagher
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