Kenny Murray's memories of Rory in Ayr, Scotland

I had the great fortune to see Rory play in my home town of Ayr (south west Scotland) on the 27th of February 1973 - my God !  I've just realised that that was almost exactly 34 years ago !

ayr-3.jpgIt's a huge tribute to the man that the gig still runs through in my mind so clearly.  I made a point of seeing all (or at least the vast majority) of my rock heroes while I was 'footloose and fancy-free' but few were as great an experience as seeing Rory live. 

The gig was in the basement ballroom of  what was the Caledonian Hotel in Ayr - now the Ramada Jarvis hotel.  My mates and I arrived early for the gig because we knew if we wanted to get a good viewing position we would have to dig in  - right in front of the stage. We went to the bar first to stock up with beer and fell into conversation with a soft spoken Irishman after joining in his protest of having Guinness served in plastic glasses !! The gentleman turned out to be Rory's brother Donal.

The gig itself was amazing.  I didn't think it would be possible to top 'Live in Europe' live, if you get what I mean - it's still my favourite live album by any artist ever - but Rory and the band just ripped the place up.  I can't think of a musician who could play so many styles with such honesty and virtuosity.  The man's warm personality shone throughout (except when a vicious security ape stood on a female fan's fingers when she tried to haul herself up on stage - if guitars were axes, not just in name, that neanderthal would have be cut in two!) 

The venue is now a gymnasium which I sometimes use and I have calculated that the deep end of the swimming pool is where the stage was.   I have, on more one occasion, dived to the bottom and sent up a good thought for that good man.

Like everyone who came across the man - I feel the loss but there is a great deal of comfort to be had from his great body of work and those fans who actively go out of their way to keep his memory rockin'

Kenny Murray
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