Undying love of the blues!

By Tom MacIntosh

The release of Blues, a 3 LP collection Rory Gallagher’s material, released on May 31, 2019, is a special treat for fans of the legendary Irishman’s style and commitment to the mastery of his instrument and the blues. It comes in 3 delicious parts, Acoustic, Electric, and Live performances, a treasure chest of rare unreleased recordings, remakes of famous Gallagher songs, and sit-ins with invited guitar greats. The 3 records are not in chronological order, but rather built around his evolution as as musician, composer and his undying love of the blues. 

So here at Guitars Exchange we’ll take a peek at the 3 LPs, starting with:

Electric Blues

This gem blows open with a wild ride through Don’t Start Me Talkin’ by Sonny Boy Williamson, given the light of day from the 1982 sessions of Jinx, where Gallagher is unrestrained on his brilliant slide and wailing harmonica riffs, surrounded by some pounding Chicago blues piano and a raw rhythm section, a great opening to whet a blues junkie’s thirst for more. Then there’s A Million Miles Away, an unreleased copy of the BBC 1 sessions in 1973, with a different intro from the other versions. His voice here blends sweetly with his finger-work on his Strat, delivering yet another golden moment of the man’s passion for the raw blues approach. Further on we hear the stripped-down versions of As The Crow Flies by Tony Joe White, I’m Ready, recorded with Muddy Waters in 1971, and Drop Down Baby, with skiffle (a jazz hybrid that mixes in blues and folk) wizard Lonnie Donegan cut in 1978, will have you pouring a whiskey on the rocks (naturally) and getting your blues on. 

This collection of electric Rory Gallagher blues tunes is the perfect fit for the acoustic cousin that follows it…



Acoustic Blues  

This list is comprised of his out-takes from the Tattoo and Deuce albums which display Gallagher’s considerable touch on slide acoustic as in Who’s That Coming, playing blues on a resonator that is pure Gallagher and his magic which is what this collection is all about. Then comes Secret Agent, with a riff that is certainly the grandson to the opening riff on La Grange by ZZ Top; admirers, to be sure, of the immortal Rory Gallagher. Other styles of wicked acoustic blues are on Should Have Learned My Lesson from the Deuce tapes in 1971, Want Ad Blues (Wanted Blues) by John Lee Hooker recorded in 1988, Prison Blues, and Banker’s Blues by Big Bill Broonzy



Live Blues

Unlike studio recipes, the Live show always brings some delightful dishes. The first 3 entries on the menu are When My Baby Left Me, another Williamson cover, Nothing But the Devil by Jerry West, and What in the World by Willie Dixon are white-hot main courses. Guest appearances by Albert King on You Upset Me (1995), the one-and-only Jack Bruce lending a hand on Born Under a Bad Sign, and trombonist guru Chris Barbers touch on Comin’ Home Baby are for the rock/blues archives. 



Most music collection albums are for the masses, a ‘greatest hits’ highway and an cheap buy, but this one stands apart because 90% of the material hasn’t been released until now. It’s a tasty oddity into the world of one of the world’s most amazing bluesmen. The allure for this writer is also in the fact that these songs of his, almost 20 years after his early demise, are fresh and new, like he was playing just around the corner...absolutely delightful Rory Gallagher. 
He is at home, perhaps owns the key to the a place where the greatest guitarists artists ever set foot, like your Hendrixes, Pages, Claptons, Becks, Richards, and has had an immense influence on gents like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, BrianI owe Rory Gallagher my soundMay, to mention just a few of the rock Gods he has touched.

This is a must-have item for any starting bluesman or blueswoman, and certainly will thrill the savvy group of Gallagher and blues junkies worldwide.