As reader Freg pointed out in a comment on my last post, his favorite blues-rock guitarist is Rory Gallagher. And that's a point that even I, a professional arguer, can't argue with. When you think of the "great" English blues-rock guitarists of the sixties and early seventies, the forefathers of the British blues-rock guitar genre, there's certainly some heavyweight contenders.
Big names like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page tend to dominate the discussions, but get among musicians who favor this type of music and you'll hear other names like Peter Green, Mick Taylor, David Gilmour and Brian Jones.
And the name of Rory Gallagher.
But if I had to pick one person to be able to emulate their guitar style, it would have to be Rory. From the solid blues rhythms and leads of songs like my favorite Rory tune "Used to Be" to the jazz flavored riffs and solos of "Calling Card" to the acoustic and o slide work of some of his softer numbers, Rory is DA MAN. As my good friend and fellow musicologist Dr. R.J. MacReady often likes to say about his favorite musicians, Rory's "Awesome"!
I owned this album and then CD for thirty years before I happened upon a DVD copy of the shows. What a great performance. Rory, passionately playing tones unheard to me on the electric guitar. As a drummer, I thought Rod D'ath was an amazing drummer, and sought to emulate his style at times in my own playing. Surprisingly, many Rory fans who are drummers tend to favor one of the other drummers who played in Rory's band, but I myself have always just sat in awe of Rod's timing and fills.
I also like Against the Grain, Calling Card, and Tattoo, as well as his other albums.
I'm always surprised that some folks I talk to about music who consider themselves extremely knowledgeable about 60's and 70's guitar dominated blues rock have never heard of Rory. It's always my pleasure to introduce his music to them, and more often than not they leave as a fan of his.
For a guy who sold something like 30 million albums worldwide, and who was offered gigs with bands the likes of The Rolling Stones and Canned Heat and turned them down, it's amazing more people have not heard of him.
Poor Rory passed on in 1995. You can read his biography and interesting life story at any number of sites. His beloved brother, Donal, has a site, and you can find many devotional websites and blog posts discussing the talent that was Rory.
Maybe it's because I'm Scotch-Irish, and that my family took an extended stop for about 20 years in Northern Ireland in the 1600's in the ultimate journey from Scotland to America. My family merged Scottish and Irish genes during that time in Ireland, and although most didn't stay there when the time came to go to America, some did stay in Ireland.