RORY GALLAGHER – ” The Albums ” His Catalogue Remastered and Reissued

Posted: March 2, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Having acquired the rights to Rory Gallagher‘s solo catalogue last year, Universal Music will reissue remastered versions of every album on CD and vinyl LP next month.
The influential Irish guitarist and singer-songwriter formed Taste in 1966, and after the band broke up at the end of that decade Gallagher would concentrate on his solo career, releasing his eponymous debut in 1971.

This is a massive reissue campaign with all the studio albums, the live releases and posthumous releases (like Notes From San Francisco and Wheels Within Wheels) reissued. Everything is available on CD and 180g vinyl, with the exception of BBC Sessions which is two-CD only (the Wheels Within Wheels vinyl pre-order is ‘coming soon’).

After releasing two critically acclaimed albums with his first band, Taste, and playing the Isle of Wight in 1970, Rory left the band to pursue a solo career. His eponymous debut solo album was released in 23rd May 1971. Gallagher auditioned some of the best musicians available at the time including Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell the bassist and drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He decided on two Belfast musicians; drummer Wilgar Campbell, and bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy to be the core of his new power trio band. The album was recorded at Advision Studios. Standout tracks include “Laundromat”, “I Fall Apart” and “Sinner Boy”. On this album, as well as an on many albums to come, he’s accompanied by Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Wilgar Campbell (drums). Supported by these two, Gallagher invites the audience on a ride through his heart and soul, and it’s a enjoyable ride indeed. Right off the bat the album starts out great, with the fast and catchy riff on „Laundromat“ being one of the most memorable ones on the entire album, and Rory delivering as a vocal performer as well. „Laundromat“ gives the listener a very good outlook at the way Gallagher plays guitar.

Like his more famous peers Clapton and Page, he obviously drew heavy influence from black blues guitarists like Chuck Berry and B.B. King. And while he’s an outstanding technician on the guitar, his playstyle does not focus on crisp and clean play (unlike let’s say progressive rock ala David Gilmour or Steve Hackett), but instead it’s rather impulsive and heartfelt, which is a perfect fit, because bluesrock is all about delivering personal emotions. On his debut, Gallagher manages to do just that, through his often times wild, very emotive guitar playing. In more than one instance (“Sinner boy“ and “Can’t believe it’s You“ come to mind) you get the impression that Gallagher is just going crazy on his stratocaster without any restrain what so ever, but it always works.

This 2012 remaster used the original vinyl artwork and 1/4″ master tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended.

“Deuce” would make it Rory’s third fully self-penned album in a row, having written all of Taste’s second album “On The Boards” as well as the debut solo album “Rory Gallagher”. “Deuce” was released 28th November 1971 and recorded at Tangerine Studios in Dalston, East London, which had been built by the legendary British record producer Joe Meek. In contrast with his previous album, Rory Gallagher, where Gallagher tried for a precise, organised sound, Deuce was his first of many attempts to capture the energy of a live performance in the studio.

Gallagher’s sophomore album was released a short six months after his self-titled debut but shows an incredible amount of artistic growth and maturity. Featuring eleven original songs, with Deuce Gallagher wrote the blueprint that he would follow through much of the rest of the decade, mixing up rambunctious, guitar-driven blues-rock with scraps of acoustic country blues, intricate roots-rock, and heartfelt R&B. His guitar tone and phrasing is excellent throughout, and his songwriting skills were developing at an amazing pace.

While Deuce placed only one song – the rowdy “Crest Of A Wave” – into Gallagher’s canon, there’s literally not a bad track on the album.

“Live! In Europe” was Rory’s first official live album, and was recorded throughout Europe during February and March 1972. Released 14th May 1972. The album was Rory’s first major commercial success and provided his first solo top ten album. In the same year of 1972 he was Melody Maker’s Guitarist/Musician of the Year, winning out over Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. “Live! In Europe” has served as a massive influence on budding musicians. U2’s Adam Clayton and The Edge both cite the album as the recording that made them want to pick up the guitar and play in a rock’n’roll band.

Released a mere year into the Irish blues guitarist’s fledgling solo career, Live! In Europe captures a young stallion prancing and preening across the stage, getting his legs beneath him and developing his dynamic live show on which a large part of his reputation is based. Long on interpretations of traditional and standard blues songs like “Messin’ With The Kid” and “Hoodoo Man,” and short on original material, Live! In Europe captures the reckless energy and youthful enthusiasm of the guitarist at the first stages of a career that would stretch across three decades.

After six years working as a trio (guitar, bass, drums), Rory embellished his sound by adding keyboards into the band. The line-up of Rory Gallagher (vocals, guitars), Gerry McAvoy (bass), Lou Martin (keyboards) and Rod De’Ath (drums, percussion), remained together from 1973-78, and would record five albums. “Blueprint was the first”.

Gallagher’s pair of 1973 album releases would showcase the guitarist at the top of his form, and yielded a number of songs that would become fan favorites, performed by Gallagher for the next decade.

Blueprint was the first of the pair, and if it’s often overlooked in favor of the admittedly superior Tattoo, it’s a solid collection of material nonetheless, highlights including the raver “Walk On Hot Coals,” the sultry “Daughter Of The Everglades,” and the extended jam that was “Seventh Son Of The Seventh Son.” A lively cover of Big Bill Broonzy’s “Banker’s Blues” is another good ‘un, showcasing Gallagher’s acoustic blues skills.

Tattoo is the forth studio album released by Rory Gallagher. It was released on 11th November 1973 and was recorded at Polydor Records studio. It demonstrated Gallagher’s eclectic range of musical influences starting with the blues and adding elements from jazz, folk, and country. Signature tracks include “Tattoo’d Lady”, “Cradle Rock” and “A Million Miles Away.

Tattoo represented an amazing accomplishment, as Gallagher found the inspiration to pen nine new tunes while touring heavily in support of his Blueprint album, released mere months earlier. The muse was obviously hitting the guitarist hard, as Tattoo includes some of the best, and most popular songs of the artist’s lengthy and prolific career, songs like “Tattoo’d Lady,” “A Million Miles Away,” and “Cradle Rock” staples of Gallagher live show for years, while tunes like the Delta-inspired folk-blues of “20/20 Vision” or the Chicago blues-styled “Who’s That Coming,” with some tasty slide guitar, display the other side of the guitarist’s musical ambition.

“Considered by blues rock guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, to be one of the most influential live albums of all time, “Irish Tour ’74” was recorded at Belfast Ulster Hall, Dublin Carlton Cinema and Cork City Hall during the height of ‘The Troubles’. Released 21st July 1974. Irish Tour ’74 has sold in excess of two million copies worldwide. Classic Rock Magazine hailed it as “easily among the best 10 live albums in the history of rock.” This 2012 remaster used the original vinyl artwork and 1/4″ tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended. The reissue CD liner notes capture the excitement of the Belfast concert; “Two thousand people were overjoyed as Gallagher – a native of Cork, Southern Ireland – took to the Ulster Hall just 24 hours after the city had witnessed its biggest bomb blast during a night of at least 10 explosions.”

Two years after the release of Live! In Europe, Gallagher returned home to Ireland for a series of nine shows that showcased a confident, seasoned veteran guitarist with a handful of studio recordings under his belt and an expanded musical palette that he applied to a larger catalog of songs. Irish Tour 1974 features musical highlights of the tour and serves as a companion to the documentary film of the same name shot by director Tony Palmer. The album offers an inspired mix of original songs like “Tattoo’d Lady,” “Walk On Hot Coals,” and “A Million Miles Away” as well as choice covers .

JB Hutto’s “Too Much Alcohol” and Muddy Waters’ “I Wonder Who,” standing as one of the best live blues-rock recordings of the era.

Against the Grain is the seventh album by Irish musician Rory Gallagher, Released 1st October 1975 and recorded at Wessex Studios, London. The album is mostly new songs written by Gallagher as well as some classic blues and R&B numbers. This 2012 remaster used the original vinyl artwork and 1/4″ master tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended. The reissue features original release album review written by Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone.

Calling Card is the eighth album by Irish singer/guitarist Rory Gallagher, Released on 24th October 1976 and recorded at Musicland Studios, Munich. Deep Purple/Rainbow bass guitarist Roger Glover co-produced with Gallagher: it was the first time that Gallagher worked with a “name” producer. This 2012 remaster used the original vinyl artwork and 1/4″ master tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended.

Produced with a steady hand by former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, Gallagher’s Calling Card found the guitarist stretching his sound out a bit beyond the confines of blues-rock to include soul, jazz, and even pop in what would prove to be one of his strongest sets of original material. While hook-laden rockers like “Country Mile” and the title track would become fan favorites on the live stage, melodic tracks like “Edged In Blue” and “I’ll Admit You’re Gone” display a different dimension to Gallagher’s talents.

Photo-Finish is the ninth album by Irish musician Rory Gallagher, released 1st October 1978 and recorded at Dierks Studios, Cologne, Germany. Some of the songs on Photo-Finish were initially recorded on what was to be an earlier album in San Francisco but Gallagher was unhappy with the recordings. He fired the drummer and keyboardist from the current band and replaced only the drummer changing the band to a power trio as his original bands had been. The reissue features original release album review written by Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone.

After the disastrous 1977 sessions that would (much) later result in the long-lost Notes From San Francisco album, Gallagher broke up his band of five years. Stripping down to a power trio, retaining only bassist Gerry McAvoy and adding drummer Ted McKenna, Gallagher re-recorded a handful of songs from the previous session for Photo-Finish, adding a few new tunes and pursuing a harder-edged blues-rock sound. While not the best album in the Gallagher milieu, Photo-Finish still includes hard-hitting fan favorites like “Shinkicker,” “Mississippi Sheiks,” and “Last Of The Independents” as well as overlooked gems like the twangy “Juke Box Annie.”

Top Priority is Rory Gallagher’s tenth album. This was released on 16th September 1979 and recorded at Dierks Studios, Cologne, Germany. Like the previous album Photo-Finish, Top Priority is a return to hard rock. The acoustic and folk influences that were seen on albums such as Calling Card are replaced by more straight ahead powerful blues rock like fan favourites such as ‘Bad Penny’, ‘Philby’ and album opener ‘Follow Me’.

Stage Struck is the eleventh album and the third live album by Irish singer/guitarist Rory Gallagher. Recorded between November 1979–July 1980 and Released 2nd November 1980. The album documents Gallagher’s world tour in support of his 1979 album Top Priority. Accordingly, it features many songs from that album as well as hard-driving, almost metal, rock versions of songs from his ‘Calling Card’ and ‘Photo Finish albums, Glenn Tipton from Judas Priest “I was just stunned by his use of an old battered Stratocaster, a Vox AC-30 [amp], and a Rangemaster treble booster. The guitar had so much energy that I think he’s the guy, really, that made me pick up the guitar.” This 2012 remaster used the original vinyl artwork and 1/4″ tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended.

Culled from Gallagher’s 1979/1980 world tour, a tired song selection isn’t helped any by the guitarist’s lackluster performances. Lacking the immediacy and playfulness of the live set captured by Notes From San Francisco, Stage Struck displays little of Gallagher’s natural onstage charisma and energy. After a decade of constant touring, however, and the writing and recording of nine studio albums in as many years, it could be that the man was just dog tired rather than inspired.

Jinx is the twelfth album and the ninth studio album by the Irish musician Rory Gallagher and was originally released in 1982. The reissue boasts a review of the album originally published in Melody Maker.

There isn’t a weak track on Jinx and at its best, it’s superb. In particular ‘Big Guns’, working off a stop-start riff which is within a stone’s throw of Clash territory, zaps you straight between the eyes.

In a direct line from ‘Philby’, though without the latter’s resonances on the question of identity, the song finds Rory working out his passion for crime thrillers. “It’s a long way from the pool hall/to the rackets and the petty crime/thought you were a tough one/but you’ve bitten off too much this time,” he admonishes before sketching in the dramatic detail, over a pumping rhythm that palpably delivers the sense of urgency laced with terror felt by the song’s hapless protagonist, his back against the wall: “Now you’re runnin’ scared/got no place to run/Caught between the law and the/Big Guns!”

Short, sharp and devastating, like a friendly visit from your local hit squad, ‘Big Guns’ leaves you in no fit condition to assess the damages inflicted by Gallagher’s magnum sharp-shooting and the merciless backup work of Gerry McAvoy on double-barrel shotgun and Brendan O’Neill on Armalite.

If ‘Big Gun’ is about trying to stay one step ahead of an inevitably bloody come-uppance, that same sense of Nemesis is internalised on ‘Bourbon’. In fact much of Gallagher’s material from ‘Goin’ To My Hometown’ to ‘Philby’ is concerned with transit and the feeling – more or less real in different instances but too often a sad illusion – of freedom it conveys. There’s no two ways about its implication in this account of the ravages suffered by a fading rock’n’roller, as he watches the arc of his optimism fall into impossible decline: “Drinkin’ down the bourbon like it was soda pop/trying to kill a feeling he knows will never stop/Head held high but his heart is on his knees…”

These highlights are closely followed by ‘Signals’, with its enticing melodic colourings and interesting guitar textures, shadings of the Edge-country in there somewhere; ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’, a slow minor blues on which Gallagher opts for a fat, mellow, lyrical tone similar to Peter Green’s on early Fleetwood Mac material and evokes a warm, still, healing sense of reassurance and calm in the face of a troubled world; ‘Jinx’ with its voodoo rhythms and mournful harp; ‘Double vision’, highlighted by a fat and succulent slide part; ‘The Devil Made Me Do it’, a frantic and humorous variation on the ‘Too Much Alcohol’ theme: “What did I do that was so bad/To go and get myself arrested/just in town to have some fun/and I end up in the trash can”, ‘Ride On Red, Ride On’, the one non-Gallagher original and a paean to the swashbuckling character of the rock’n’roader; and ‘Loose Talk’, another song of re-assurance and fortitude in which the Gallagher ethos is most aptly summed up: rejecting the lure to play the game the uptown way, he offers the consoling advice: “Play the game the way your heat says/Keep on pushin’, you’ll get there yet”.

It’s a mark of Gallagher’s authenticity that he has always played the game the way his heart says. And if that has led him into a narrow interpretation of his own sense of integrity, sometimes to the detriment of his career potential, then so be it. The net result is that there isn’t the remotest taint of pose or slumming it when he delivers an album of raw blood ‘n’ guts rock ’n’ roll ’n’ rhythm ’n’ blues like Jinx.

This is just one mark of its strength within the chosen Gallagher framework. Indeed a measure of its quality-count in the context of his fifteen-odd years’ worth of album-recording is the fact that there is very little on Jinx which will not amount to a real addiction to the Gallagher live canon.

Defender is the thirteenth album and the tenth studio album by Irish musician Rory Gallagher. It was originally released on 1st July 1987 and was recorded at The Point, Olympic, West Three, Music Works and Redan Studios. Rory said of the album “The tone and mood of the new album is blues and angry, but there’s a couple of rockers, and a couple that don’t fit any category; but it is really a modern blues album.”

Fresh Evidence is Rory Gallagher’s eleventh and last studio album, his fourteenth album overall. The album was originally released on 1st May 1990 and was recorded at Maison Rouge, Redan Recorders, Music Station and Audio One. This 2012 remaster used the original vinyl artwork and 1/4″ tapes so that they look and sound exactly as Rory intended. “Perhaps the most important achievement of “Fresh Evidence” is in re-establishing Rory as something more than an electric guitar virtuoso. Here is the proof that the man is a master, someone with a supreme feel for the instrument and the song, whatever its mood”.

Gallagher’s last studio album is a mixed bag of blues styles and performances, the guitarist trying his hand at interpretations of zydeco, Chicago, and Delta blues, and jazz along with his typical dirty blues and British-styled blues-rock.

While not a bad album by any means – Fresh Evidence includes several inspired performances, including a cover of Delta blues legend Son House’s “Empire State Express” – it nonetheless doesn’t meet the lofty standards established by Gallagher during his incredible string of solid 1970s-era albums.

Wheels Within Wheels is a posthumous folk and blues acoustic album by Rory Gallagher. Featuring a range of acoustic styles including flamenco, skiffle and traditional Irish music, the album was compiled from lost recordings and outtakes by Gallagher’s brother. A number of notable musicians appeared on the album such as Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, The Dubliners and Lonnie Donegan. The songs were recorded in various locations all over the world between 1974 and 1994. The album cover was painted by renowned artist David Oxtoby.

In November 1977, after completing a 6 month world tour, Rory Gallagher and his band flew straight from their last show in Japan to San Francisco to begin working on a new album, with famed American producer Elliot Mazer (Neil Young – ‘Harvest’, Janis Joplin – ‘Cheap Thrills’, The Band – ‘The Last Waltz’). Mazer recalls that the sessions grew “tense”, as Gallagher wasn’t happy with the mixing process, describing them as “too complicated”, and by the end of January 1978 he shelved the whole record and broke up his band of the past 5 years. This lost album from 1977 was remixed and mastered in 2010 by Rory’s nephew who added a live album from 1978 at San Francisco’s The Old Waldorf, highlighting the sound Rory had been looking for. LP version will not feature the live content, this will only be for the CD.

This long-anticipated “lost” album, recorded by Gallagher and his four-piece band in San Francisco in 1977, was finally released in 2011 and proved to be well worth the wait. Featuring nine original songs, some of which would be re-recorded a year later for Photo-Finish, as well as a couple of “bonus tracks,” Notes From San Francisco shows the artist straining at the confines of the blues-rock form and trying to expand his sound. The two-disc set includes a rock solid live performance from 1979 that puts the album  Stage Struck to shame.

These are straight album reissues, so no bonus tracks, but Universal “will be working closely with the Rory Gallagher estate on new physical and streaming products.”

All of the reissues will be released on 16th March 2018.

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