It is generally assumed that artists who attract huge audiences
wherever they perform have reached a very high level in their
careers. It is also a reasonable assumption that their popularity
is either assisted by, or totally resultant from, successful records.
However, there are others whose reputations have to be built up on
their own ability. Their music is perhaps an acquired taste and
they are slow to come into their own, but the end product is much more
rewarding and considerably more lasting. Into this happy category
fall three young Irish musicians called, quite appropriately, TASTE,
consisting of Rory Gallagher, John Wilson and Richie McCracken.
The success achieved by TASTE over the past fifteen months is such that
they have emerged from total obscurity to being the answer to a
promoter’s prayer, inducing House Full signs and breaking records
everywhere they go.
called TASTE has actually existed in this country since May 1968 made
up of three musicians who included Rory Gallagher. The accepted
line up only came into being three months later, in August, when John
Wilson and Richie McCracken joined Rory in Falkirk. Fortunately
the three were not unknown to each other and the change in personnel
was so swift as to cause no break in the group’s continuity. The
immediate effect was a shift in the group’s style, which had become
annoyingly stereotyped. The actual basis of the music did not
immediately change but an air of imagination became quickly
apparent. Since then, each of the three has acted more and more
as a catalyst to the others. Rory’s scope for improvisation has
increased through the knowledge that the other two will immediately
comprehend the variations and act accordingly. The growing
success of TASTE has encouraged Richie and John to become more
adventurous and they have assumed identities and responsibilities that
few musicians have the opportunity to pursue.
Gallagher, 21, is from Cork. The founder of the group, he has
experienced the £10 a night days of hand to mouth
existence. His position as guitarist and vocalist tend to make
him a focal point of the group and he has filled the position to such
effect that he is rated one of the best guitarists in the
country. It will be interesting to see the poll awards next year
as musicians often benefit from being members of major groups.
Success has professionally hardened Mr. Gallagher. His undoubted
musical ability has now been fortified by an iron will and professional
approach to detail in such things as record production and
mechanics. One feels though, that Messrs. Wilson and McCracken
exert considerable silent influence on the decisions of TASTE.
Wilson, drummer from Belfast, spent some time playing in bands in
Ireland before coming to England. Joining TASTE has given him
freedom from the restrictions imposed by the kind of music played in
Ireland, except for a period with another Irish musician who has since
established a reputation in the United States, namely Van
Morrison. John’s new found liberty is apparent in the way he
performs, which can best be termed “controlled abandon”. He tends
to say very little in contrived interviews but blossoms forth when
relaxed and talks with remarkable lucidity and no little knowledge
about music in general.
McCracken from Omagh is very tall and very quiet. His role as
bass player in TASTE is, like the others, of vast importance, and
especially so as he has to follow the tempo change precisely. A
form of telepathy has sprung up within the group because of the
apparent spontaneity on Rory’s part and it is particularly noticeable
with Richie who follows not only the rhythmic pattern, but also the
melodic lines. Again, some people could be surprised when Richie
walks off with a major award in the polls next year.
played all over Europe since their first visit to Denmark in November
1968 and have packed concerts and clubs from Copenhagen to
Cologne. In July 1969, they went to the United States with Blind
Faith which gave them the opportunity to play to vast audiences.
Unlike some, they did not change their act at all, and the reaction was
tremendous in places as far apart musically as Los Angeles and
Baltimore. After a five week tour, the group returned to England
where they continued to attract more and more people. Many
promoters are now in that happy situation where an appearance by the
TASTE guarantees House Full signs and vast queues outside. Their
first album, “Taste”, which was released in March 1969, entered the
album charts both here and, during the group’s tour, the United States.
TASTE’s new album “On The Boards”, was released in January 1970. This writeup and
the photos come from the Taste 'On The Boards' songbook THANKS to
Brenda O'Brien for sharing and typing the writeup reformatted