What Rory did for fame

The Venue
It's Rory Gallagher's misfortune to be caught in a stifling triangle of possiblities. His live audience demand sonic demolition, but his musical knowledge points to a devoted expedition through evergreen forests.

His solution is to pull off at 45 degrees and catapult his urban and country blues into loud acceptability.

He's a durable exponent of his art, but it's the state of that art that's in question.

He's not fanatical, desperate or dumb enough for true HM storm troopers, but then again, purists would prefer the wires left bared and open to interpretation. In the event, Gallagher falls short either way, though both are within his capabilities.

Barrages of indigestible guitar-funk jostle with swaggering, bad-mannered blues that don't easily merge, and this raises another problem; although he's alway kept his cards clean there's been little progression or updating in his material.

He remains in a stolidly good-time groove, and his early songs are stylistically indistinguishable from those which fill his new LP. Despite his wealth of material there have been few chances taken and his stance is quietly uncompromising.

In contrast his two-song acoustic set is exquisitely tasteful and richly sonorous. He assumes the scales of Mississippi trout with fluent aplomb and segues raw, gaping blues into driving rhythms that jangle and cut through the PA. This is the full exposure of Gallagher with no concealed noise or trappings, and it's a tantalising taste of a rare delicacy cooked slowly and seeped in its own juices.

It's a feat that few would attempt and fewer still could pulloff.

Elsewhere his solos are numbingly predictable because the end of a verse usually amounts to a trigger for guitar to see red and leap into high register where the stagefront army are already floating in anticipation. There's a lack of surprise that levels out his playing like a steamroller and this, by current standards, represents a narrow view that no amount of pumping-up can salvage.

That it comes from the guitar of Gallagher is doubly condemning simply because his resources are so enviable.

Otherwise he steers clear from the champagne and firecrackerr antics of his peers and his music navigates away from distraction. Presentation is low key and this speaks for genuine motivation and  conception, although these
are frequently derailed in the cold execution of performance. Damaged goods, as it were.

The show is closed by the inevitable rockaboogie finale from which wooden, but clinging defiance, has been conveniently given the ejection button. The chorus of 'Follow Me' should be promptly handed over to Richard and Linda Thompson and they should forward a large lump-sum for it. Here it's in need of a crash diet.

These are moments when the bones of Gallagher's music jut through the flab.

Bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummerTed McKenna dry the ink on the power-trio seal of approval and promote a dynamic angularity. They should try playing under a pyramid.
Pete Archer

This article comes from the October 6, 1979 issue of New Musical Express
Thanks to Dino McGartland for passing it along
reformatted by roryfan
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