Posts Tagged ‘Gerry McAvoy’

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Rory Gallagher is the first solo album by Irish blues rock musician Rory Gallagher, released in 1971. It marked his departure from his previous band Taste. After disbanding Taste, 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.

After practicing with Jimi Hendrix’s band Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Belfast musicians Gerry McAvoy and Wilgar Campbell at a practice room in Fulham Road, the newly formed band with McAvoy and Campbell got underway with recording in Advision Studios.

With his first solo album Gallagher continued in the eclectic style that had exemplified his first band Taste. This album entered the UK album charts at number 32, an excellent beginning for a solo career. It contains 10 tracks, all of which are Rory compositions and clearly show the continued blues rock direction that he began with Taste. A trademark of Rory’s music is his inclusion into the fusion, jazz and folk instruments like alto sax and mandolin. “I’m Not Surprised” stands out on this album with it’s mellow “unplugged” feel and loosely based Blues structure.

 

The album begins with “Laundromat” which was to become a regular number in his live set. A blues rock song with a classic Gallagher riff, the song was inspired by the public laundromat located in the basement of his flat where he lived at the time in Earls Court. The next song, “Just the Smile”, is an acoustic number that was inspired by the British folk revival. It shows the influence of some of Gallagher’s favorite English folk musicians such as Richard Thompson, Davy Graham, and Bert Jansch. (Gallagher would later go on to record with Jansch.) “I Fall Apart” has a jazz feel to it and features a guitar solo that starts slow and introspective and builds to a powerful climax. The next two songs, “Hands Up” and “Sinner Boy”, were again blues rock and would also become standard numbers for his live show. “Wave Myself Goodbye” is another acoustic number, a talking blues song featuring New Orleans style piano provided by Vincent Crane from the band Atomic Rooster (Rory’s brother Donal had been acting as tour manager for them). Gallagher plays the saxophone in the next song, a jazz number called “Can’t Believe It’s True”. Also recorded at the time were two blues classics, Muddy Waters’ “Gypsy Woman” and “It Takes Time” by Chicago blues legend Otis Rush.

Rory Gallagher – ‘Rory Gallagher’ 180g vinyl LP remastered reissue. Originally released on the 23rd May 1971 This reissue LP is released on Friday 2nd March 2018.

Tracklisting

A1. Laundromat
A2. Just The Smile
A3. I Fall Apart
A4. Wave Myself Goodbye
A5. Hands Up
B1. Sinner Boy
B2. For the Last Time
B3. It’s You
B4. I’m Not Surprised
B5. Can’t Believe It’s True

rory brum ticket

 

 

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On July 8th, 1972, Melody Maker’s Mark Plummer joined Rory Gallagher on the road in Kent and London. As this classic feature shows, Rory Gallagher’s reputation as a perfect bar buddy was well-deserved. Rory Gallagher changes out of his striped T-shirt, folds it neatly and places it in his zipper case, exchanging it for an equally familiar lumberjack shirt.

Two seats away, his drummer Rod de’Ath looks embarrassed, ducking behind a couple of  guitar cases as he changes from one pair of leather-patched Levi’s into another sweaty pair of jeans. His skinny arms are covered in an orange T-shirt and they look like they’re never going to be able to keep the beat going during tonight’s show.

Two hours earlier, Rory had been sitting in the same Maidstone technical college dressing room re-stringing his Fender guitar from a pile of crumpled guitar string packets, while the guitarist from one of the support bands had sat tuning and gently playing to himself through a small practice amp.

Now that same guitarist offers Rory the use of the amp, as he stands up against tile wall tuning his battered old Fender and blowing in a harp. Rory declines, with thanks, explaining that he’s been doing it that way since he came to Britain from Ireland a few years back to launch Taste, and he’s not going to change his ways now. It’s the same old Rory. Affable, easy-going, the one rock’n’roller in Britain with a right to be called the people’s guitarist.

In a nearby pub, people are tucking away pints while the little support band blows away. Many make their way over to Rory, offer him the customary pint of Guinness, perhaps ask him to play one of their favourite numbers. Some hand him scruffy pieces of paper for his autograph.

Back in the dressing room, Rory is ready to go on; guitars in tune, Gerry McAvoy slicked up in green trews, t-shirt and patch leather waistcoat, his bass slung over his shoulder with an old leather belt. A great cheer breaks the air as Gerry and Rod dart through the doors and scramble their way through the packed hall towards the makeshift stage. Rory follows on behind, gets up on stage, quickly retunes to make up for the intense heat that has altered pitching, and lurches into Used To Be.

Rory Gallagher and his band work hard on an audience, playing blues in the tradition of the music as entertainment rather than an art form. Rory is not much interested in being flash and showy, but just in laying it down the line and turning people on; playing his Fender guitar to the best of his ability. His stage strength is that he knows he can play as well as the best, and the people know it too. They don’t go along to watch the speed he plays the notes, and they certainly don’t go along to see him because of his stage gear.

“This is a working band,” says Rory. You just know exactly what he means, watching him standing on stage, sweating and playing, hardly taking a break from song to song unless it is to get the guitar back into tune as the heat stretches the strings.

The showstopper in the act is definitely the mandolin stomper “Going To My Home Town”, a number which is stabbed home by Gerry and Rod beating one hell of a rhythm. But although Polydor in Germany have asked him to release it as a single, he is adamant and won’t do it.

Later in the car on the way home, he explained that although a hit single would bring him a whole new audience, having to compete to get into the singles charts with all the other three-minute ditties is not really his scene. Anyway, he doesn’t need a hit single to make him more popular, for he and promoters know that Rory is always going to sell out a hall by pure hard graft.

The following night in one of the bars in the beer-orientated entertainment complex at Dagenham’s Village Roundhouse, Rory stands at the bar explaining what he means by port wine to the barmaid while he signs autographs and declines numerous pints of Guinness.

Gallagher’s music is mostly blues-based but, he says, “I’ve never pigeon-holed myself into blues. I don’t consider all my material is blues. Let’s say I’m a blend of blues, rock and folk music. The blues has its influence on me: some nights I’ll feel more of a jazz thing. For the last few months I’ve been into blues. Blues is simple music but complex soul-wise. I like a lot of the old rock’n’roll things, but while Cochran is simple, it doesn’t have that same complexity in the feeling.

“I’ve done things that might get me classified as a folk singer. It doesn’t really worry me what I’m playing, it’s just the emotional hold the blues has. Then I can get the same thing off a white folk singer like Jack Elliott.”

What about the set structures of the blues. Maybe he found limitations in the music?

“Occasionally, if I happen to be listening to something that uses orchestras, it’s only very occasionally I get that feeling, but there would be something wrong with me if trying something with an orchestra had never occurred to me,” he says. “I used to listen to people like Fats Domino and people with small groups; occasionally they came up with things with orchestras for the commercial market. At the time I resented them doing it. I think it was The Beatles who were the first people to do things that I enjoyed with strings.

“I wouldn’t mind experimenting with things like that on the next album, perhaps some brass or strings.”

It’s been said that Rory picked Gerry and drummer Rod de’Ath, because they were not that good as musicians, so Rory’s own talent would shine through. But after watching them on numerous occasions it obvious they both compliment Rory’s playing perfectly. But how much, say, do they have in the band’s musical policy, and how replaceable are they to him?

“They’re definitely indispensable,” he says. “They’re very important. How can I confirm that? Just listen to the way they affect my playing. I don’t play acoustic guitar on my own throughout the set so the musicians affect on me. If they’re enjoying themselves I can feel it. People are always saying to me that I could have any sidemen, but Buddy Holly needed the Crickets more than anybody.  Gallagher is probably of the few artists in Britain at the top of the pile who continues working all the time, going back to the little Village Roundhouse rather than concentrating on concert halls.

He says he wouldn’t be satisfied with just playing a few concerts every so often or doing two British tours a year. His music needs smoky rooms and poky little dressing rooms to get over that working man’s feel that is so important.

“Sometimes I feel like taking a break for a while, maybe just stopping and taking it easy for a couple of months. Sometimes l feel like I just have to stay in bed the next day, but I think in my whole career there have only been a couple of gigs I haven’t turned up for.

“I just like working a lot. Obviously you can’t always keep going like a machine. But the thing is, if you’re sitting at home you pick up an acoustic guitar, if you pick up an electric one it doesn’t mean anything without musicians and people around you.

“Some people seem to think I work 365 days a year, I suppose,” he continues. ‘”Come to think of it, I do work a lot more than some of the other artists in the charts. Perhaps working so much helps to sell my albums. If I wasn’t working and I’m not making singles to keep my name around. I wouldn’t be selling so much.”

Always chewing the fat with people about anything that they happen to want to talk about, it’s rare to pin Gallagher down and get him talking about himself. He’s aware of his image of being a friendly sort of fellow who usually dresses kind of rough.

“I suppose that’s a big obsession with people,” he says. “I wouldn’t really enjoy doing a gig if I was rushed from the car straight into the dressing room. I don’t think it hurts your image to sit at the bar and have a drink. Some people would say that it makes you more of a human.

“Mostly people come up and shake your hand and ask you if you would play a song for them. It means you have an idea of how people are reacting to certain songs. If you hear how things are going down first hand it’s better than having a manager telling you how you’re going to go down in Dagenham.”

Back in the dressing room, gig over, Rory, Gerry and especially Rod look completely wasted. Outside in the hall the last of the people are slowly going home, talking about the set. They’re dripping with sweat, too, from dancing and clapping. They know every word, every chord, right to the way he phrases it. Rory notices that too, little batches of people standing by the stage singing every word with him, and then throwing themselves completely when he changes the way he sings a word.

Tonight it’s hot, even hotter than the night before. Rod sits in the corner saying that he’s certain he’s lost two stone, wringing his T-shirt until the sweat drips off it onto the floor. The tap doesn’t work and everybody could do with a good wash down. Never mind, the next night they’re off again and playing in France.

Touring the USA in April 2018 with Davy Knowles ,Band Of Friends – Rory Gallagher’s longtime rhythm section of Gerry McAvoy (Bass) and Ted McKenna (Drums), in celebration of the life and music of Rory Gallagher. 

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I am assuming that Rory fans would want to know one thing first and foremost about this release: what does it sound like? Good. It sounds good. Very good indeed.

Radio show recordings are sprouting like mushrooms in the woods these days and buyers are frequently ignorant of sound quality, which can and does vary enormously between releases. Most carry little or no information and company description of content on the product or Amazon’s website can vary from irrelevant to non-existent. Also beware of the same show being released under different names by different companies.

According to the sparse information provided with this release, this recording is from a radio show taped at ‘My Father’s Place’ in Roslyn on Long Island on September 7th 1979 while Rory toured his ‘Top Priority’ album with Gerry McAvoy and Ted McKenna as his rhythm section. The sound quality is amongst the top end of that of other radio show recordings I have. The band are cooking, without a doubt, and the balance between vocals and instruments is good. There is an awkward, rapid fade at the end of the penultimate track of disc two as the track goes into a bass solo and then the sound quickly comes back in for the final track. Remember, these are live recordings without overdubs or re-recordings added later and there was doubtless some radio station editing to fit the performance into a time slot for broadcast. With the quality of this trio of road warriors, though, there need be no fear that they supply anything but a very good, truly live performance.

This is prime Rory Gallagher. This set shows what the sonic capabilities of the electric guitar sound like in the hands of a master. The trio (including Ted McKenna-drums and Gerry McAvoy-bass) play tight, loud, no-holds-barred music in the best tradition of a rock n’ roll trio. At times Gallagher sounds like he’s been plugged into an over-charged battery that’s been switched to full-on, in-the-red, over-loaded power. Listen to anything here (even the acoustic “Too Much Alcohol” or “Pistol Slapper Blues”) and you’ll hear a man whose focused on giving the audience his very best. This is one of those sets where every song has something to recommend it. The passion, the fire, the very electricity that powers this concert has to be heard.

The sound is very good–better than you would expect. The trio can be easily heard with Rory Gallagher’s guitar out front where it belongs. And yes, this music could easily fit on one CD. Obviously the label wanted to make as much money as they could from this release, and the music actually sounds better on one disc–there’s no interruptions in the flow and excitement–so that’s kind of a bummer. And the “notes” (there’s no booklet) are pretty anonymous (“…give a listen to Rock Beat Records “Irishman In New York”), adding very little to this great set.

But if you’re a fan of Gallagher and/or the electric guitar you need to hear this. Gallagher even does an intense version of Frankie Ford’s 1950’s era “Sea Cruise” like you’ve never heard before. This new release from way back in 1979 can easily sit next to whatever you think is the best live Gallagher recording you own. And it might just wipe up the floor with it. It’s that good.

Track Listing:
Disc 1
Shin Kicker (3:38)
Last of the Independents (5:40)
Keychain (5:52)
Moonchild (5:10)
The Mississippi Sheiks ( 5:45)
I Wonder Who? (7:47)
Tattoo’d Lady (5:09)
Too Much Alcohol (3:47)
Pistol Slapper Blues (3:02)
Disc 2
Shadow Play (5:42)
Bought & Sold (4:59)
Walk On Hot Coals (5:26)
Messin’ With The Kid (5:22)
Bullfrog Blues (2:50) [Quick fade out to avoid bass solo]
Sea Cruise (2:58)