listen to something, I like to be taken out of my seat and thrown
the room. I like guts, a good drive, which can include gentle stuff
If it sounds good and feels good, that's it." Rory Gallagher
that, and a close listen to most of his music, might lead one to think
Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher is some kind of fierce character, a mean
ball of energy likely to explode into malevolent action at a moment's
The truth is, Gallagher, the person, is almost the complete antithesis
of his aggressive music. He's quiet, friendly, soft-spoken, eager to
But don't stand in the way of the man or his guitar.
Ballyshannon, County Donnegal, Rory, moved at an early age to Cork. He
bought his first real guitar at nine, replacing an earlier plastic
on which he'd entertained relatives and socials with the hits of Gene
At 15, though he had no particular fondness for the form, he joined the
full-scale Fontana Showband ( later renamed the Impact ), with whom he
spent two and a half crowd-pleasing years.
all over Ireland, toured Spain and did a couple of English gigs,"
explains. "It turned out to be great fun. We were luckier than most
the drummer wanted to do Jim Reeves stuff, but the rest of us wanted to
play "Nadine" and " A Shot of Rhythm and Blues." Rory's rock & roll
heroes had been Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly; when the
broke up, he found himself freed to play his favorite hard rock
With the showband's drummer and bassist, he visited Hamburg in 1965,
to England some months later and forming the nucleus of Taste, the band
with which he was to enjoy his first success. " We played around
went to Germany again, then finally made the big step over to London in
two critically acclaimed albums, Taste and On the Boards (
both on Atlantic in the U.S.) and built up a considerable reputation on
the strength of volcanic live appearances. Late in 1970, however, Taste
broke up and Gallagher again found himself with time on his hands. He
the early months of 1971 laying the foundations for a new band that
continue where Taste left off. With fellow Irishman Wilgar Campbell on
drums and Gerry McAvoy on bass backing him, Rory cut his first solo
Gallagher, released on Polydor. The set furnished a more in-depth
of the artist; where Taste's assets lay in the band's ability to
enormous physical excitement, the new album disclosed Rory as a
performer, even subtle, musical sides.
same time, one of Rory's early idols- Muddy Waters- visited London to
his London Sessions album and Rory was one of the first
the veteran bluesman chose.
two more solo albums with Wilgar and Gerry: Deuce in November
1971 and Live In Europe in spring of 1972, the latter being
record that brought his giant breakthrough in sales. The band had first
visited America in the fall of '71, and made considerable impression on
hard rock-hungry audiences across the country.
if his music had changed since the days of Taste, Gallagher explained,
"I'm still recognizable, even if the line-up has changed. As far as
goes, I don't like playing twelve bars all the time; the blues field
right from Charlie Patton to Lowell Fulson and my aim has been to play
the blues properly and feel them. Basically, I like anything with guts:
Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, The Stones, Johnny Winter."
released three more albums with Polydor ( Blueprint, Tattoo and
the devastating live set, Irish Tour '74 ) before signing with
in 1975. His first album with the label , Against the Grain,
released in the fall of the year, coinciding with a favorably received
with the new album," Rory admits. "It's the first studio album in two
we recorded at Wessex, a studio I hadn't used before in London, but it
had a nice feel to it. There are seven new songs which I've written
a period of a year. Apart from those, there's a Leadbelly number, 'Out
On the Western Plain,' and James and Bobby Purify's 'I Take What I
It's a good record."
comes from a promotional booklet for Against The Grain in 1975.
to John Murphy for sharing it.