Irish blues/rock guitarist Rory Gallagher was born on March 2, 1949. He started out in the Fontana and Impact Showbands before forming the original Taste in 1965. Taste were an extremely exciting and talented blues/rock trio, with John Wilson on drums and Richard McCracken on bass. They split in the early seventies, with Wilson and McCracken moving on to form the UK outfit Stud, with guitarist Jim Cregan.It was at this stage that Gallagher elected to embark on what was to become a very successful solo career in 1971.He employed the services of drummer Wilgar Campbell and bassist Gerry McAvoy and released his first, self-titled album in 1971. He went on to build up a solid reputation as one of the freshest, most uncompromising guitarists around. Rod De'ath replaced Campbell and Lou Marrin joined on keyboards, with this line-up staying constant for the next six years. In 1978, former Sensational Alex Harvey Band drummer Ted McKenna replaced De'ath, but he in turn was replaced by Brendan O'Neill. Gallagher shunned the glitzy aspect of the music business, always remaining true to his blues roots. His record sales reached several millions, he toured America over thirty times and he toured the world twice, retaining a fiercely loyal following, all of whom were no doubt shocked when he died following complications after a liver transplant on June 14th, 1995. Our featured track is a tribute to a much loved and respected man whose contributions to music in general and blues in particular are fondly remembered.
Rory Gallagher - Bulldog Blues, from "Live in Europe", released in 1972. Irish guitarist/vocalist Gallagher's first outfit of note was the Fontana Showband. He soon formed the excellent Taste and the band (a Trio), and embarked on a solo carreer in 1971. He went on to release about 20 albums before his tragic death, following complications of a liver transplant, in June 1995. Gallagher is the type of guitarist who's memory will linger for many years to come. He was one of the best! 
  

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Biography by Richard Skelly
For a career that was cut short by illness and a premature death, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Rory Gallagher sure accomplished a lot in the blues music world. Although Gallagher didn't tour the U.S. nearly enough, spending most of his time in Europe, he was known for his no-holds-barred, marathon live shows at clubs and theaters around the United States.

Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Irish Republic, on March 2, 1948. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Cork City in the south, and at age nine he became fascinated with American blues and folk singers he heard on the radio. An avid record collector, he had a wide range of influences, including Leadbelly, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. Gallagher would always try to mix some simple country blues songs into his recordings.

Gallagher began his recording career after moving to London, when he formed a trio called Taste. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1969 in England and later picked up for U.S. distribution by Atco/Atlantic. Between 1969 and 1971, with producer Tony Colton behind the board, Gallagher recorded three albums with Taste before they split up. Gallagher began performing under his own name in 1971, after recording his 1970 debut, Rory Gallagher for Polydor Records in the U.K. The album was picked up for U.S. distribution by Atlantic Records, and later that year he recorded Deuce, also released by Atlantic in the U.S.

His prolific output continued, as he followed up Deuce with Live in Europe (1972) and Blueprint and Tattoo, both in 1973. Irish Tour 1974, like Live in Europe, did a good job of capturing the excitement of his live shows on tape, and he followed that with Calling Card for Chrysalis in 1976, and Photo Finish and Jinx for the same label in 1978 and 1982. By this point Gallagher had made several world tours, and he took a few years rest from the road. He got back into recording and performing live again with the 1987 release (in the U.K.) of Defender. His last album, Fresh Evidence, was released in 1991 on the Capo/I.R.S. label. Capo was his own record and publishing company that he set up in the hopes of eventually exposing other great blues talents.

Some of Gallagher's best work on record wasn't under his own name; it's stuff he recorded with Muddy Waters on The London Sessions (Chess, 1972) and with Albert King on Live (RCA/Utopia). Gallagher made his last U.S. tours in 1985 and 1991, and admitted in interviews that he'd always been a guitarist who fed off the instant reaction and feedback a live audience can provide. In a 1991 interview, he told this writer: "I try to sit down and write a Rory Gallagher song, which generally happens to be quite bluesy. I try to find different issues, different themes and different topics that haven't been covered before...I've done songs in all the different styles...train blues, drinking blues, economic blues. But I try to find a slightly different angle on all these things. The music can be very traditional, but you can sort of creep into the future with the lyrics."

Gallagher passed away from complications owing to liver transplant surgery on June 14, 1995, at age 47. For a good introduction to his unparalleled prowess as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, pick up Irish Tour 1974, Calling Card, or Fresh Evidence, all available on compact disc. 

 

 

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Rory Gallagher - 1971 - Deuce - 4/5

Rory Gallagher - 1971 - Rory Gallagher - 3/5

Rory Gallagher - 1973 - Blueprint - 4/5

Rory Gallagher - 1973 - Tattoo - 4/5

Rory Gallagher - 1975 - Against the Grain - 3/5

Rory Gallagher - 1976 - Calling Card - 4.5/5

Rory Gallagher - 1978 - Photo-Finish - 3/5

Rory Gallagher - 1979 - Top Priority - 3/5

Rory Gallagher - 1980 - Stage Struck - 2.5/5

Rory Gallagher - 1982 - Jinx - 4/5

Rory Gallagher - 1988 - Defender - 3/5

Rory Gallagher - 1988 - Fresh Evidence - 3/5

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