Irish guitarist and songwriter (born 2nd March, 1948, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal - died 14th June, 1995, London). One of the most influential guitarists of all times. Gallagher was a master on his Fender Stratocaster in playing the blues (as a born Irishman). He was also a stage "beast" (proof of which the various great live albums). A musical purist who refused to release singles or music videos and turned down the opportunity to join The Rolling Stones in the 1970's…
After releasing two albums in 1973 and a live, contract-fulfilling disc in 1974, Gallagher returned rested and recharged in 1975 with a new record label, Chrysalis, and a band with almost three years of hard touring under their belts. With its attention to detai, Against the Grain sounds more practiced and intricate than most of Gallagher's previous studio discs, but still includes some of his most powerful rockers. The supercharged "Souped-Up Ford," where Rory howls and wails, with his voice and smoking slide, and "All Around Man," an urgent blues rocker that begins with Gallagher screaming and crying together with just his electric guitar until the band kicks in with a stop-start blues rhythm, are two of the definitive moments. "Bought and Sold" adds congas to the mix to bring a more rootsy and even jazzy feel to Rory's table. But it's on the acoustic tracks where the guitarist and his band really lay into the groove.
Rory Gallagher sounds inspired throughout JInx, gamely leading new drummer Brendan O'Neill and keyboardist Bob Andrews through the blues-rock paces, even though the guitarist's personal fortunes were on a downslide from which they would never recover. "Big Guns" and "Bourbon," the album's opening selections find Rory in full fiery form, tossing out muscular guitar lines and fiery solos with descriptive lyrics catering to his infatuation with American gangsters. The album also features two of his best, and least known, songs in the spooky, paranoid title track, complete with simmering sax section, boiling tom-tom drums as well as his own stealthy harmonica, and "Easy Come Easy Go," a beautiful, bluesy ballad where Rory double tracks his acoustic and electric guitars. Gallagher's tough vocals take on a new emotional depth not previously heard, and are particularly poignant throughout. Diving into the blues, Lightnin' Slims' "Nothin' but the Devil," one of the two songs added for this reissue, is an acoustic solo showpiece revealing Gallagher's delta roots and substantial slide abilities.
Gallagher's second album for Chrysalis – and last with his longstanding trio of Lou Martin (keyboards), Rod De'Ath (drums) and Gerry McAvoy (bass) – was a milestone in his career. Although Calling Card was produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and not surprisingly contained some of his most powerfully driving rockers, tracks like the acoustic "Barley & Grape Rag" and the jazzy, soulful, finger snapping title cut – a perennial concert favorite – found the Irish rocker not only exploring other musical paths, but also caught him on one of his most consistent songwriting streaks ever. Even "Do You Read Me," the muscular opening track, is a remarkably stripped-down affair that adds subtle synths to the rugged blues rock that was Gallagher's claim to fame. While "Moonchild," "Country Mile," and "Secret Agent" displayed catchy hooks, engaging riffs, and raging guitar work (the latter adds a touch of Deep Purple's Jon Lord-styled organ to the proceedings), it's the elegant ballad "I'll Admit You're Gone" that shifts the guitarist into calmer waters and proves his melodic talent was just as cutting on quieter tunes.
Etched in Blue is a solid, if not exactly definitive, retrospective of Rory Gallagher's career that offers a fine introduction to the Irish blues star.
Guitarist Rory Gallagher never wanted to be a star. He only wanted to make music on his own terms and have the opportunity to play that music for an audience who would genuinely appreciate it. Watching the double DVD set Ghost Blues and The Beat Sessions illustrates the Irish-born blues-rocker's success on those terms he set for himself so emphatically, and to which he remained loyal throughout his career.