remember him this way
by Liam Mackey

WOKE up this morning bad news on the line...

A friend assumed I’d already heard and so just dropped it casually into the end of a telephone conversation about other more mundane matters. “Terrible about Rory, isn't it?” he said. He didn't need to say any more. Instantly, a beautiful summer's morning seemed to darken. I guess this is what they call the blues...

The loss to the world of music of Rory Gallagher at the age of 47 is considerable. Never the most fashion-conscious of artists, Rory had been sidelined in recent years as the rock industry continued its relentless preoccupation with the latest fad and the search for The Next Big Thing.

But if Rory was out of the headlines, he never lost the respect of his peers and the appreciation of fans who continued to recognise the real deal - a master musician steeped in the blues, but with a penchant for rocking out that made him one of the great, uninhibited live acts of any era. Those of who saw his us live appearance in Ireland - a free concert in College Green three years ago - will feel all the more keenly now how privileged we were to have seen him one more time in such incendiary form.

I dropped round to say hello to himself and his brother and manager Donal after that gig, and was pleased to find Rory in equally good form offstage. A superb anecdotalist with a dry sense of humour, Rory could keep you endlessly amused with yarns and opinions on everything from football to politics to rock ‘n’ roll to his beloved crime novels.

There were other good nights in the company of the Gallaghers down the years when I was working for Hot Press, and it's those memories of their basic decency and generosity as human beings which haunt me most as I contemplate Rory’s death.

Thankfully, the music lives on and, as is the way of the rock industry, Rory’s immense contribution to the growth of rock in Ireland and his singular talents as a guitarist and songwriter, will probably only be fully recognised posthumously.

But many already know- and have known for years- that Rory Gallagher was one of the greats.

Up on the boards, hair flying, lumberjack shirt soaked with sweat, duckwalking across the stage and squeezing every last drop of emotion and excitement out of his Fender Strat-remember him that way.

This articlecome from the June 16,1995 issue of The Irish X-press.
It was republished in the June 1995 issue of Hot Press.
reformatted by roryfan
The background is a capture from Montreux 1979 by stephanos, mutated by roryfan
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