Rory Gallagher Reissues: Smokin'

By , Columnist
Rory Gallagher (1948-1995) played guitar. The Irish blues-rock firebrand didn't just play guitar, he smoked his legendary '61 Stratocaster. Yet, while he did have a good, solid fanbase and sold over 30 million albums worldwide, he was then, and is today, largely ignored as a guitarist of the very first order (other than in Ireland).

This would likely have been a very different story had he accepted a role in The Rolling Stones when Mick Taylor left as offered in '74 (so the story goes).  But then, one has to wonder just how much different The Stones might have sounded having a guitarist who didn't just play backup to Keith Richards, but set the stage on fire with his incendiary playing.

(Does anyone else feel that Ron Wood has had the spigot turned to the drip-drip-drip position during his lengthy tenure with The Stones?) 

RoryGallagherStrat.jpgAs history will have it, great guitar players will not be denied.  Whether they are acknowledged as such is a different story. But Gallagher has left behind documents of considerable worth. Once you hear those, you have to wonder, "Where - THE HELL - did you come from?"

Starting back in 2009, Eagle Rock released a two-CD compilation called Crest Of A Wave: The Best Of Rory Gallagher. Since then, Eagle Rock has released a gorgeous DVD and BD remaster of The Irish Tour '74, as well as the CD and LP sets of the same title (originally released back in 1974). On May 10, the label re-released three studio titles (Rory Gallagher - 1971, Deuce - 1971, Blueprint - 1973), as well as Live! In Europe (1972). 

The chronological reissuing of the Rory Gallagher catalogue continues apace on June 14 with three more classics that include Tattoo (1973), Against The Grain (1975), and Calling Card (1975). The reissues continue incrementally with Photo-Finish (1978), Top Priority (1979), Jinx (1982), and the live Stage Struck (1980), all planned for July 12. Finally, BBC Sessions (1999), Wheels Within Wheels (2003), Fresh Evidence (1990), and Defender (1987) are scheduled for August 16.

Jimi Hendrix was once famously asked how he felt being the world's greatest guitar player to which he replied, "Go ask Rory Gallagher."

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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