Fresh Taste for Rory 


rorymirror2What were the real reasons for the break up of the late lamented Taste at a time when it appeared they were THE live band and had every chance making it an international success following the abortive, but useful promotion work they did in America on the Blind Faith tour?

The motor power for Taste was undoubtedly supplied by guitarist Rory Gallagher who is now understandably more concerned with the shape of things to come than any recriminatory attitudes over spilt milk in the past.

It is however possible to draw certain conclusions from talking to Gallagher and examining the state of the nation now, where his head was once, and his heart appears to be today on ‘Rory Gallagher’ (Polydor) featuring ten new songs written by Rory Gallagher, produced by Rory Gallagher based upon an idea by Rory Gallagher.

In fairness to the man, it should be noted that he was doing most of those things with Taste, only now he is making sure he gets the credit and assumes almost total control of his product which is the aim of most creative people with a flair for self expression. He now has no manager, from which you may draw your own conclusions and has no intention of ever having one again and adopts an attitude that God helps those who help themselves!

“I'm an independent type of person,” says Rory “Since the days when I used to play in Showbands in Ireland and we could not afford a manager or an agent, I used to go to the gigs with my little black book collect the money and go. That was all the administration we needed.

“I don't really mean any disrespect to my previous manager, but I’ve always felt I was able to handle myself and somehow when you are relaying messages through one person to another the meaning gets lost. You find yourself surrounded by 153 press men in a hotel lobby and you’ve got nothing to say.

“I like to express and organize myself. At times I think it’s not even worth having a road manager to book you into a hotel - for ‘sake you ought to be able to book yourself into a hotel!”

Essentially the reason for Taste dispersing appears to be a mutual musical disagreement, which was aggravated by personal and financial irritations. It also seems significant that Rory has always felt a close affiliation for the old blues artist and their method of recording.

“People like Blind Man Fuller, Leadbelly and Scrapper Blackwell were musical entities unto themselves,” said Rory. “Just one man in a chair playing a guitar into one microphone and if you listen to those records they achieved feeling without all the present day recording techniques.

“The man who was supposed to sound loudest just sat nearest to the mike. I’m not saying that our approach on the new album was as antiquated as that, but we did not attempt to manufacture any studio miracles either it was kept within the bounds of human reason.”

‘Rory Gallagher’ is not in fact the logical extension to Taste, but the essential continuing story of the man himself and, as such, it is a lower key, more moderate and moodier than the eclectic excitement which pervaded their previous work. The man is the same only the group has been changed to protect himself. But how about the other members of the band  Gerry McAvoy and Wilgar Campbell? Are they as restricted and curtailed as some critics have led us to believe.

“It’s not as Hitlerite as that,” said Rory. “But I know what I want and I’m prepared to stand or fall by my own efforts. The band is very important to me because without their support I cannot relax and settle back to play. Being confident in them makes me happier and being happy makes me a better musician.

“I have to retain the rights to my own songs and see that they are presented in the way I think best, but this is not as clinical as it sounds. I have to retain the control now so that everything is right to begin with, later I should be able to let go.

“It's not really possible to ascertain just where we are with the band until we hit the road in May, but in the studio I enjoy playing with the present combination. I assume that they enjoy playing with me and playing my material. If they did not they would be free to go.”

Rory’s earliest influences were those of Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, but it is the blues which have the most profound influence on his present work.

“The saddest thing about the blues and the artists involved is that some of their most ardent admirers have become obsessed by the backgrounds of the artists, rather than the music. They get introduced as ‘Blind old whoeveritis’ who never had a pair of shoes until he was thirty and lived on watermelons. The music is the thing. If they only let the musicians play and cut out the unnecessary build-ups it would speak for itself.

“Blues doesn’t need to be categorized or put into bags – it’s feelings and truths in the music. Muddy Waters is so effective because he is proud and Fats Domino who is thought of by so many people as a sort of early rock star was and still is one of the best blues pianists around.”

There has of course been a final Taste album issued of a live performance by the group, which was ecstatically received by many critics if not by the man himself who feels the recording quality was not up to the usual standard. Rory sees its significance more in souvenir terms.

Finally, Rory reiterated his philosophy of the live musician.

“The clubs are the heartbeat of the music industry. They are where the groups are born and where they draw their soul from right from the floorboards. You get into the stadiums and it becomes Mickey Mouse-land. If you want to get your head and your heart sorted out there is only one way – play to the people on the floor.”
This article comes from Record Mirror - May 8, 1971
Photo cropped from the article
Many thanks to Brenda O'Brien for sharing  & typing this article
reformatted by roryfan
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