“Come Taste the Blues”
“I feel a little strange inside,
A little bit of Jekyll, a little Mr Hyde”.
William Rory Gallagher (2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader.
Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and raised in Cork
Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s.
Taste – 1969. Line-up: Rory Gallagher (gtr+voc), Richard “Charlie” McCracken (bass) and John Wilson (dr)
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
Rory: A talented guitarist known for his charismatic performances and dedication to his craft, Gallagher’s albums have sold in excess of 30 million copies worldwide.
“That would have to be Buddy Guy. I had to collect his records penny by penny, you know, save for them day by day. I suppose Hendrix as well, he was actually as big an influence cause they were similar in a way. I suppose Buddy Guy was more of a purist player, he has all that great, you know, almost playing out of pitch, that sharp kind of thing, and they were both Strat players, except I guess when Buddy Guy used the Goldtop Les Paul with P90 pickups for a while.” RG
“But Buddy Guy was real special. In the studio when he was recording they used to sometimes DI (direct input) his Stratocaster as well as miking up his amp through a big valve amp underneath the mixing desk, and that got him a really amazing sound. He’s a great player, still alive and kicking, a great player.” RG
The studio version of this uptempo guitar instrumental runs to around 4 minutes 7 seconds. Written by Gallagher himself, it appears on the Fresh Evidence album which was released May 1, 1990. It might be described as a tribute song, taking its name from Alexis Korner (1928-84) “The Founding Father Of The British Blues”.
Korner was born in Paris but came to London as a boy in 1940 and stayed for the duration. Although a successful and influential musician, his major contribution is arguably as a DJ and radio presenter in his later career, bringing this particular form of contemporary music to a wider British audience. (Alexander Baron – London, England)
Rory began performing under his own name in 1971, after recording his 1970 debut,
Rory Gallagher for Polydor Records in the U.K.
Rory Gallagher – 1971, Deuce – 1971
Blueprint – 1973, Tattoo – 1973
Against the Grain – 1975
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 AM
Calling Card – 1976
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.
Photo-Finish – 1978 , Top Priority – 1979, Stage Struck – 1980, Jinx – 1982 , Defender – 1987, Fresh Evidence – 1990
Gallagher began performing in his adolescence with both his acoustic guitar, and an electric guitar he bought with his prize money. However, it was his purchase three years later of a 1961 Fender Stratocaster for £100 that became his primary instrument and most associated with him for the span of his lifetime
‘It’s dated November 1961 – in certain people’s opinions this is when Fender hit their peak. I like the maple neck. Like on the earlier guitars, they’re probably a bit more crisp, but there’s a warmth to this, a mellowness because of the rosewood neck. This is the best, it’s my life, this is my best friend. It’s almost like knowing its weak spots are strong spots. I don’t like to get sentimental about these things, but when you spend thirty years of your life with the same instrument it’s like a walking memory bank of your life there in your arms.’ RG
“I try to split the difference between being fairly clever and technical, and still primitive. Because I think if it’s just a technical exercise, that’s all very well. Even if a solo has to lean towards the primitive, so be it. It depends on the song, if you have to play very calculated or if you’re overdubbing the solo sometimes. You know, I used to always go for live leads, mistakes and all, just for feel. But now if a certain song needs a very sort of melodic type of solo, I’m prepared to work on it over and over. But I try not to get in the habit of dropping in [punching in notes] because it’s very tempting to get the perfect solo. I have been guilty of it once or twice, but only just to save it if you’re on a great direction. But as a rule I try to keep a grip on technology, so it doesn’t take the human factor out of it and you get too lazy about things, you know.”
Kim Philby (1912-88) was one of the most notorious traitors in British history. The son of an army officer, Philby’s name will be forever linked with his fellow Cambridge educated traitors Burgess and Maclean. On leaving university where he had been inducted into the Communist movement he worked as a journalist before being recruited into the forerunner of MI6 which gave him the opportunity to serve his Soviet masters big time. He is known to have caused the deaths of many agents before his cover was blown and he defected openly to Russia.
“Now ain’t it strange that I feel like Philby, there’s a stranger in my soul, I’m lost in transit in a lonesome city, I can’t come in from the cold.”