The Doobie Brothers / Rory Gallagher
concert held at the Roanoke Civic
Roanoke, Virginia – November 11, 1976
Guitarist gracious despite his
By Guy Sterling – Staff Writer
performance has ended for Rory Gallagher, rock and roll guitarist.
On the road
from Atlanta on his way to Richmond and Philadelphia, he has just
finished opening the Doobie Brothers show at the Roanoke Civic Center.
not gone well. His equipment has arrived late. The promoter
has threatened to lop him from the bill. There is not time for a
sound check. Some of the music emerges from the giant speakers in
a conglomeration of screeches, howls, clatterings and bangings, as
though from a busy city street.
throng has greeted the Doobie Brothers with relieving applause.
The sign on
his dressing room reads “Team Room #4.” Around him flock his team
of managers, agents, band members and unknowns.
He is standing over a table of food. The
light is gray, the room barren.
Before him are
meats, cheeses, breads, vegetables and several kinds of beer and
most, but goes back to none. He settles on a beer, then a
glassful of Irish whiskey. Rory is an Irishman from a place
He offers some
whiskey to those in the room. He apologizes that it is not the
real stuff. It is from a place called Tennessee.
not have a feel for their own music like Europeans do.” He tells
“For a long
time, many great American blues artists could not even perform in their
own country. They were not appreciated.”
repertoire includes many old blues numbers. From the urban sound
of Junior Wells and John Lee Hooker to the Delta sound of B. B. King
and Muddy Waters.
American pop scene, he is unique. On both acoustic and electric
guitar he plays the songs of those he admires. They happen to be
Americans, from a place and era he’s never known or seen.
But he does
his best and it is good. He does not live the blues, he plays
them. There is a difference.
“I listened to
records that were passed to me,” he says, “and to songs musicians in
Ireland were playing.”
He names Elvis
Presley, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent as influences, but
credits an Irish Skiffle player named Lonnie Donegan as the major one.
He says he has
seen Donegan once, in a bar two years ago.
had a popular single in the United States called, “Does Your Chewing
Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight.”
interrupted by a stranger walking into the room.
He says three years ago he saw the performer in three different places
on three consecutive nights in three separate states.
squinting. “My walking diary,” he mumbles.
says his piece and departs.
“It’s nice of you to say hello to me,” he adds on his way out the
continues. His talk is animated, sometimes contemplative, but
He finds great delight in reading a press release issued on him by his
something about the gods making guitarists. Rory is
laughing. His team is laughing. The room takes on
light. But not for long; it is time to leave for the night.
The group will drive to Richmond in the morning.
for a motel, he bids farewell to those in the room. He bows to
the women, shakes hands with the men, clasping one hand with both hands.
Outside it has
begun to rain.
Gallagher, a man from the land of fog and bogs, it is familiar.
else, it has been just another night in another city. Roanoke Times –
November 12, 1976
Thanks to Milo Mindbender and Brenda O'Brien for rounding up and
typing this followup to Article 287
reformatted by roryfan