by Jan de Rooij
formerly of Taste, recently made his appearance at the Amsterdam
Concert Hall. That was December if I’m not mistaken. A few
months earlier he was seen on the TV show, “VARA-POPGALA”.
Despite these appearances and his five released albums, he isn’t well
known in our country. The music he brings: heavy blues with Rory on
guitar, harp, mandolin, and sometimes saxophone, is part of the reason
for this. In short, guys and sweet ladies, it's music those who loves a
modern sound, are wild about guitar music and those who need a shot of
special mood in their music.
Music, therefore for
those that love straight forward music.
Rory tries to play as
direct as possible. And that feels very pleasant. Most the guitarists
play with a fuzz-box and other complicated equipment to let the chords
run into each other. This is not Rory’s style. He tries rather, to use
both with his fingers and the plectrum to pick the strings. On his
records/albums, Rory doesn’t experiment too much either. Pop music in
the sense that the sound is skimmed, that studio equipment is applied
to create a sound as "nicely" as possible, that highest degree of
musical perfection is pursued and that all strong emotions that stand
out to the ear are repressed, you won’t find with Rory Gallagher. A
Rory Gallagher was born in 1949, in Ballyshannon, Ireland, but moved in
his fourth or fifth year to Cork, where, as a small child, he played on
his little plastic Woolworth's guitar, songs of Gene Autry and Roy
Rogers. On his ninth birthday, he got his first acoustic guitar.
Rory Gallagher "I played on pathfinders and school meetings,
especially songs of Lonnie Donegan and gospel material. Through
Donegan, I came to the music of Buddy Holly and Steve Cochran
A little later, I became an admirer of Chuck Berry. Rock, skiffle and
folk, that was about it. In fact I listened to everything I could lay
my hands on. Records were, in fact, terribly scarce at that time. As a
result, I heard blues guys like Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker and Buddy
Guy very late. The advantage, however, was that I already had
formed my own style. Therefore I wasn’t overly influenced by them."
For Rory, at that time, there wasn't yet a place in the Irish pop
scene. There was hardly
talk of a scene. There were, however, a few bands. But they could be
counted on the fingers of one hand. Rory joined one such band, called
The Impact, when he was fifteen. He played with that band for 2 1/2
years and toured Spain,
along other countries. Their repertoire was not that extensive. Top
twenty-hits and the numbers by Jim Reeves and the Clancy Brothers. When
the showband - a type of entertainment orchestra - fell apart, Rory,
with the bass player and the drummer left for Hamburg in an imitation
of the Beatles to find his luck. They didn’t have much success there
and after a couple months they returned to Cork. With a couple of boys
from the formation of the Axels, a half year later Rory formed the
first Taste. With that he went back to Hamburg. Germany kept pulling
Rory Gallagher: “I have had a marvelous time there. In the evening, we
played five sets of about 45 minutes. Saturday we even did seven sets.
Hard work, though I've never found that a problem. Presently I play two
hours to a show. Everybody thinks that's very long, but it is just what
one's gotten used to. I wouldn’t mind playing longer. Whenever
possible, I go to a club to jam after a concert. Playing is the
absolute end for me."
In the summer of 1968, the first version of Taste broke up. A couple
of months later, Rory formed the second and last Taste. Richard
McCracken became the bass player and John Wilson the drummer. Those
three left for London, where, after an audition they were offered a
contract by Polydor. In the second Taste period, which lasted to
November 1970, four albums have appeared: Taste (1968), On The Boards
(1969) Taste Live (1970) and Taste- Live At The Isle of Wight (1970).
The group split up because of personal difficulties between Rory and
his two accompanists.
Gallagher: "We no longer got along well with each other. Some wanted a
manager and others didn’t. And then there was still the problem that
Richard and John wanted the more jazzy direction, whereas I wanted to
stick to the blues as much as possible. With Gerry McAvoy, the bass
player from the group Deep Joy, and drummer, Wilgar Campbell, (who was replaced by
Rod de'Ath), I've started a new trio. I still play with these
The first album from the new band, entitled Rory Gallagher ,
1971 and contained perfect electric and acoustic blues tunes. Yet when
you play it now, three years later, the record sounds once more as a
loempia without sambal.(roughly meaning a sweet
roll without hot
Nice, however, still
not yet seasoned enough. In November 1971, Rory's second album,
Deuce, appeared. What is
notable about those two albums is that there is little space left open
for Gerry McAvoy and Wilgar Campbell. That fault has been corrected on
the last two records, Blueprint
Rory has even attracted the pianist, Lou Martin, for these albums who
regularly performs solos and duels with him. The albums contain
rock-hard, swinging, and, especially very direct r&b. Only
Gallagher's voice (which has a too limited volume), doesn’t excite me.
His guitar technique, on the other hand, is fabulous. In the field of
the rhythm & blues in the United Kingdom, there doesn't exists any
better or any faster.
Awhile back, I
bought a packet of clippings, most with no indication of where they
came from. To complicate things, many of the clippings were in Dutch.
Two fine Continental Ops (members of The Loop), who prefer to remain
nameless, volunteered to translate the article to English. I did some
rewordingand hopefully our collaborative efforts have ended up with an
English version of the article that didn't alter the original too much
in substance and tone. From the March 1974 issue
photo from the