Gallagher's Travel

"They have the push of the line on you!" says Rory Gallagher — who else could be expected to phrase it like that — when he speaks of the influences that Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly and the Blues have had on him.

Rory has had just about every music business cliché laid on him. 'Rockin’ Rory', the man who can’t turn a gig down and who always arrives in check shirt and plimsolls, carrying his battered guitar. The musician who ousted Clapton from his residency as Britain’s No.1 guitarist, and who ended up being one writer’s "Man of the Year" for last year.

Then he went to the States for six weeks and ended up staying God knows how many months. When I spoke to him he’d just got back and had — hard-working geezer that he is — gone straight into the studios to cut his next album.

Needless to say we talked about his influences and, although I wouldn’t normally dwell on those, they are relevant to aroryfrance.jpg musical about-turn that seems to be occurring in Gallagher’s playing.

He first got into music through Lonnie Donnegan and skiffle and folk. Then there was a progression into the Stones, when he became "the Chuck Berry of the Fontana Showband", although that was just a taste (no pun intended) of the future, for, as he says, "You have to go through rhythm ‘n’ blues to find the real blues. Rhythm ‘n’ blues are gritty, mean and hard. Blues bring out the true subleties of the music."

Then, through diverse routes, Taste happened and went, and we were left with solo Rory Gallagher, the last really successful guitarist from the English blues boom of the mid-sixties.

But something seems to be happening to Gallagher’s music. The frenzy of Live in Europe may well be really toned down on the new album, and acoustic numbers like ‘Going to my Home Town’ might be much more prominent.

"The guitar has lost a bit of its sanity, and I’ve got to the point where I almost prefer playing acoustic. Perhaps that’s why I like playing Germany….the acoustic guitar is much more appreciated there. If I go out and see a guitarist, I’d much rather see a folk guitarist. Probably my favourite guitarists are Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch and Davy Graham."

Earlier, Rory Gallagher, the last of the old-style British blues-men, had said "I want to be a singer, guitarist" and laid great stress on the fact that his new album would be his best so far in terms of the lyrics.

So, is Gallagher on his way back to where he first stepped aboard the musical train? Surely da blooze man from Cork ain’t about to get Taylor-made?

Well, that’s the way it seems it might be.

But for the meantime the old Gallagher blues — interrupted occasionally by a bit of acoustic and mandolin — are going to come belting out on stage. With new sideman, Lou Martin, and Rod De’Ath — "a delinquent with control" — Rory’s gonna keep on trucking up the motorways and autobahns. "It’s a lot of fun ploughing away."

Chris Salewicz

This article comes from the February 1973 issue of  "Let It Rock"
Thanks to Patricia McGarity for passing this article along.
reformatted by roryfan
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added 6/2/06