Saturday, 11 October 2014

Rory Gallagher, Top 10

Info: Undoubtedly, as far as I'm concerned, Ireland's most gifted guitarist, (and my own, hands down, favourite musician of all time, from anywhere!) born in Ballyshannon in 1948, Co.Donegal, the family moved to Derry where his younger brother, Dónal was born, before settling in Cork city. Both counties claim him as their own with annual festivals growing year on year in both locations. In perhaps an attempt to claim some supremacy over their rivals, Ballyshannon have even placed a statue of Rory in the centre of the town. He was also unique, insofar that he played in both sides of Belfast during the Troubles, with a complete disregard for the tensions of the 1970's in the North. Ask any Irish person from any demographic to name a Thin Lizzy, U2, Enya, Chris de Burgh song, and they should be able to give you an answer, the same can't be said about Gallagher, and that's fine of course, so here's 8 songs of his, plus 2 interviews. But before I post these tracks, I have to reiterate two tired stories about Rory, the first is when Rolling Stone magazine asked Jimi Hendrix how it felt to be the greatest guitarist in the world, to which Hendrix replied 'I don't know, you'll have to ask Rory Gallagher', and Brian May of Queen recalling a time he sat in silence and watched Gallagher play in front of him and later stated that he owed everything he knew about guitar playing to Rory. Enjoy.

Rory Gallagher statue, Ballyshannon, with Stratocaster
(Photo: Remy Connolly)

1) 'Walking On Hot Coals' - Irish Tour, 1974

2) 'Going To My Hometown' - German TV studio, 1972

3) 'Crest of a Wave' - German Beat Club, 1974 (2 mins on....)

4) Slash from Guns N' Roses talks about Rory Gallagher

5) 'As The Crow Flies' - Irish Tour, 1974

6) 'Cradle Rock' - Montreux, 1975

7) 'Wheels Within Wheels' - posthumous track

8) Interview - Rory Gallagher in Cologne, Germany, 1976

9) 'I Could've Had Religion' - The song Bob Dylan told Rory he wished he'd written, Dylan also visited Rory Gallagher on his deathbed in hospital, and was refused back stage at one of Rory's gigs in Germany, because his brother Dónal didn't recognise him...

10) 'Out On The Western Plain' - Live in Cork. Shortly before Rory died in 1994. 

At this stage he'd succumbed to an addiction to pain-killers which led to liver failure. Allegedly, he suffered from anxiety and took prescription drugs to stave off tiredness, depression, and any discomfort that afflicted him, which led to considerable weight gain. In the only (excellent) Rory Gallagher biography I've read by the Belgian Jean Noel-Coghe, who spent considerable time on tour with Rory, he wrote that Rory struggled to cope with incessant touring, which eventually got the better of him . Either way, here's my last Gallagher track

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