Although he passed away on June 14th 1995, aged just 47, Rory Gallagher left a rich legacy of wonderful music behind. Much of that back catalogue has now been re-packaged and re-issued, with a further album and video scheduled for release later this year.
Rory's devotees world-wide have kept the legend of the man and his music alive and new generations are discovering the Irish born inspirational blues luminary. The international regard and respect in which he is held was brought home most forcibly to me when I attend a Rory Gallagher Tribute Weekend in The Netherlands at the end of February.
Organised over two nights in Leeuwarden, the principal town of Friesland in Northern Holland, by Gallagher enthusiasts Klaas and Annet Spijker, the pick of the featured bands were the driving Jed Thomas band from Britain, Dubliner Dave McHugh and his sizzling After Taste, (featuring the Cork bass and drums rhythm section of Ruben Lynch and Jason O'Driscol) and the amazing East German combination Brute Force & Ignorance. RTE's knowledgeable blues and Gallagher expert Marcus Connaughton was our M.C. Listening to Brute Force & Ignorance, one could sense the sound of collective jaws dropping. This most unassuming band have managed to capture much of the very essence and spirit of Rory Gallagher - the word most used by the fans was "scary".
A highlight of the evening came when they were joined on stage by 12 year old first-ratebassist and Gallagher fanatic, Sean Murphy from Fermoy for a great rendition of "Laundromat". The over 400 strong audience were more than eager to avail of a second opportunity to hear Brute Force & Ignorance in an even more impressive Showcase Concert on the following night.
Rory's brother and long-time manager Donal Gallagher
was moved by Brute Force & Ignorance. "When I closed my eyes, I could
almost think it's Rory up there, then I opened them and saw this young
short-haired blond guy", he said. Leeuwarden brought memories flooding
an emotional Donal Gallagher as Rory's final tour was in the Netherlands.
"I'm very proud that so many people travelled from Ireland, Britain,Belgium,Germany, France, even the United States" Klaas Spijker says. "It made it a real international Tribute. I was particularly happy that Donal Gallagher was able to be here". Those wishing to attend the 3rd Leeuwarden Rory Gallagher Tribute next year can contact Klaas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearer to home, Tony Moore, proprietor of the Meeting Place Bar in Midleton has pioneered the Rory Gallagher Tribute Concert concept in this country. Since he opened The Rory Gallagher Room two years ago and began organising Gallagher Tribute concerts, Midleton has become a Mecca for Gallagher aficionados from all over the world. The Room is filled with Rory memorabilia, contributed by the Gallagher family and by the fans themselves.
"Our next series of Gallagher Tributes commence on Sunday April 16th, with Dutch band the Juke Joints, and special guest and long-time Gallagher sideman Lou Martin", Tony Moore says, "Each month 'till October we'll present a concert with Dave McHugh's After Taste, Brute Force & Ignorance (two concerts in June) the Mississippi Sheiks from Sweden and The Loop from Germany among the scheduled attractions". Both Tony Moore and Klaas Spijker have found that money is the last thing on the minds of participating bands. They just want the honour of playing and to have their expenses covered.
A strong sense of camaraderie and warm friendship exists among Gallagher buffs, traversing national boundaries and language differences. The Rory Gallagher Web Site is the focus of much activity, with enthusiasts from many countries swapping Rory information, opinions and reviews on the Gallagher e-mail address and chatline. Rory Gallagher Tribute Events are springing up everywhere, including Germany, France and a further even in the Netherlands this year. Barry Barnes has been organising an annual British Tribute event for the past five years.
"Rory was my hero from the time I heard the second Taste album and saw them at Salford University in '68 or '69" Barry told me. "He was just the best and I was devastated by his death and decided to put a small Tribute Concert together in Gorton, Manchester to mark the first anniversary". "The place was packed and things have snowballed since then. This year, we're expecting about 400 Gallagher fans at Dukinfield Town Hall, near Ashton-Under-Lyne, just outside Manchester, on May 13th to hear Fat Cat Bobby, Bill Bailey, the Jed Thomas band and Brute Force & Ignorance.
Proceeds will go to Ozenam Camp, the under-privileged
children's charity". Anyone interested can contact Barry Barnes, 10 Claremont
Range, Gorton, Manchester, M18 7LT e-mail
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