seen Rory Gallagher in person can testify that he is an extraordinary
guitarist and performer. Unfortunately, he has the same problem that
plagues more than a few other performers who are exceptional in
concert; that is, his records do not relay his talent as well as his
Part of the
problem, at least with Gallagher, is that he is not as good a producer
as he is a guitarist. Since Gallagher quit Taste, he has been
responsible for most of the material and sound found on his albums.
Since Gallagher employs many styles and his guitar work is somewhat
more complex than that found on most rock 'n' roll albums, his playing
is more susceptible to limp production, which can conceal critical
notes and even muddle entire riffs. The result is too often a muddy,
washed-out version of what was originally played.
been improving, though. TATTOO, his latest studio job, was measurably
cleaner in sound than BLUEPRINT, which was better than, DEUCE. etc.
etc. With each successive album, Gallagher's guitar playing has become
more distinctive. And the other members of his band have become easier
Gallagher's improvement as a producer and the fact that IRISH TOUR 74
was drawn from concerts in Gallagher's homeland, this album is the best
thing he has yet put out. It will most likely bring Gallagher the
recognition that has so far eluded him.
As usual, the majority of the songs contained on IRISH
were written by Gallagher. In addition to a Tony Joe White song, "As
the Crow Flies" there are four tunes taken from TATTOO. The most
notable of these are "Cradle Rock" and "A Million Miles Away." Not
that the others are lackluster, but simply that those two exemplify how
much better Gallagher sounds in concert.
All of the other tunes are new compositions. Of them, "Too Much
Alcohol" is my favorite. It is a little more in the direction of
traditional blues than the rest.
All of the songs, however, are in the blues vein, but they have just
enough rock flavor. Gallagher's guitar playing shows a potpourri of
styles from traditional, rural slide to more contemporary British
screams. The mixture is tasty and satisfyingly interesting.
Gallagher's voice is not quite the equal of his picking, but it is
strong enough not to distract from the music. In most cases, it even
adds. Especially interesting is the album's fourth side, which
features several jams pieced together to create a collage of
boogie and blues themes. In one of them, Gallagher follows several of
his guitar licks with his voice and thus makes for some of the most
interesting interplay since Plant and Page got together. Henry Keiluhn This article comes
from the August22-28,
1974 issue of The Scene Thanks to John Wainwright for the artwork
reformatted by roryfan