on 19 April 2003
His first, solo (post-Taste), I believe, and among the best. Gallagher comes across as your classic 'travelling bluesman'. He's got some stories to tell, and all he wants is a place to kip and a few shots of Paddy irish 'scotch' of whatever he used to drink (absolutely anything I suppose). From sleeping down in a laundrette "Its the crazienst place I have ever been " - 'Laundromat', to various meanderings about various women (or the same woman for all I know) he maintains the quality throughout. Like the majority of quality records it doesn't fit into a particular decade or time period. "It sounds like it was recorded yesterday", one could say. Rory plays some nice saxophone on 'Can't Believe...'. The second solo on 'Sinner Boy', a song about being nice to the homeless (I presume) is one of his most classic guitar moments, and thats saying something. Anyone who can play something that really rocks but which does not rely on volume or level of distortion to achieve it is the absolute don. It needs to be heard.
on 4 September 2007
As a huge Rory fan, this album remains my all time favourite! The sound is somewhat reminiscent of the days of Taste but the album is highly original in terms of writing and solo playing. Gallagher appears totally at ease producing incredible solos and enviably catchy riffs. On each track Gallagher succeeds in extricating different textures and sounds from his guitar work which has great energy and pace, well supported by his fellow musicians. The solos on "The Last Time" and "I fall apart" are really special. I hate to sound like a boring old fart (42) but people who were lucky enough to have seen Taste live or Gallagher in these early days of his career really saw an individual and original talent that is very seldom encountered today.
on 2 March 2012
The smile did increase all over my face the first time I heard Rory's first solo release. Over the years since my favourite track has changed depending on my mood. That was the amazing thing with Rory, you start out having a favourite track, then it changes and continues until you arrive back at your original favourite. All tracks are outstanding the lyrics on Just the Smile are brilliant together with the percussian and vocals it is an amazing track. For the Last Time at 6.35 doesn't have a second wasted, why does it have to end so soon I always wanted it to go on and on. Can't Believe It's true takes us off into a sad place and includes one or Rory's rare contributions on Sax, I read one time that he learned to play the sax over a weekend. In all tracks Rory's amazing guitar playing and technique shine through. My favourite track right now is Just the Smile or is it Can't Beleive It's True or is it I Fall Apart I suppose I'll have to listen again and decide. Buy it and enjoy, I did 40 years ago and still love it.
on 26 August 2010
In my humble opinion, Rory's first solo album is a blinder, particularly if you consider how old he was went it came out (23 yrs).It's a mixed bag, ranging from the gritty riffs of 'Laundromat', 'Sinner Boy', and 'For the last time' to the more melancholic acoustic pieces 'Just the Smile','I fall apart'. Already, so early in his recording career, Rory showed what a mature and eclectic songwriter he was,in short a very underrated genius, so sorely missed following his tragic and premature death. This album may not necessarily cater for Rory's more rock-orientated fanbase, but this is a worthy inclusion to anyone's CD collection. The bonus tracks 'Gypsy Woman' and 'It takes time' has Rory tipping his cap to his blues heroes Muddy Waters and Otis Rush.
Rory Gallaghers work sort of exists just under the radar, so to speak. It is always there and loved with a passion by his fans, yet rarely seen mentioned in print these days unless someone is listing of their influences, or favourite guitar players.
This new from the analogue masters reissue series ought to delight the hard core fans as they address and correct some issues, too much reverb, new mixes, new stereo placings that were made during the previous conversion to cd. Donal has got the team to go back to the final Rory mixes and freshly digitise them using the latest equipment in order to produce what could be described as the best sounding cd versions of Rorys small but incredibly potent back catalogue. The new issues also come in a neat cardboard foldover sleeve along with new sleevenotes.
This album runs the gamut from light acoustic tunes through to the rockier side of things. Just the Smile is a track that is worth the price of admission alone.
on 14 April 2009
I first heard this album on its release, I was at school and Rory had already established himself as a favourite through Taste:On The Boards/Live At The Isle Of Wight.His first solo release was much more controlled, and slightly subdued....but...I've only recently bought this,and...............it's brilliant. Great tunes, played with so much feeling. Buy it and enjoy Rory's finest studio moment.
on 30 March 2012
I have been a Rory fan since the early 70's,maybe not his greatest fan, but always loved what I heard and saw. For some reason never listened to this. Just a CD sized gap in the collection between the Taste albums & Deuce. Don't know why- but error now corrected!
Good way of thinking about it is I have a new Rory album to listen to! I guess I thought that a first solo might leave something, you know,lacking in some way. But I am blown away. Maybe its the remastering but this album is superb and hasn't been off the player since it arrived. I will leave the technical, musical stuff to those better qualified to comment. Oddly, Deuce (old copy) had been in the car's cd player the last few weeks, which probably affected my decision to buy. If you like the G Man and haven't got this then do yourself a favour.
Nice packaging too, with original LP style card cover, & notes. Well worth the money.
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 CD REISSUE ***
Under the supervision of Donal Gallagher (his older brother and former tour manager) - Irish guitar hero RORY GALLAGHER had his LP back-catalogue first reissued onto CD between 1998 and 2000. Each of those RCA/Capo releases came in jewel cases and had previously unreleased bonus tracks. The campaign culminated with a tremendous outtakes compilation in 2003 called "Wheels Within Wheels".
This latest version of his debut album is the first of six 'new' remasters released to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of his Solo career. So what's different? In a nutshell - cheaper price, upgraded packaging and 2011 mastering. Here are the finite details...
Released 16 January 2012 in the UK (31 Jan 2012 in the USA) - "Rory Gallagher" is on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88691917352 and comes in a card digipak rather than a jewel case. The two bonus tracks which first appeared on the 1999 CD are here also - two previously unreleased studio outtakes from the sessions - rough and exciting covers of "Gypsy Woman" by Muddy Waters and "It Takes Time" by Otis Rush.
The gatefold card sleeve repros the black and white artwork of the original vinyl album (front and rear) while the booklet is only slightly extended over the previous 1999 foldout inlay (8 pages as opposed to 6). There are two extra photos of Rory, but disappointingly the Donal Gallagher liner notes are exactly the same as before (bar a few mistakes corrected). Both the picture beneath the see-through tray and on the CD itself is the black and white Mick Rock photo used for the front cover artwork.
Although it has to be said that the card digipak is nice - two new photos and the same essay is hardly pushing the boat out in terms of anything new - but retailing at less than six quid (and even cheaper online) - I'd say it's more than adequate. But while the packaging might be underwhelming, the real fireworks comes in the sound department...
The initial discs were 'remixed and remastered' by Tony Arnold at Courthouse Facilities in Dorset - these are 'untampered' versions remastered by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM at Wired Masters in the UK in November 2011 (55:12 minutes total playing time). Andy and Matt have been involved in and received praise for remasters of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Frankie Miller, Wishbone Ash and The Kinks. For these reissues the original 1/4 master tapes have been returned to - therefore giving the fans the album Rory himself would have approved rather than the slightly 'altered' preceding version. The results are really great...
If I was to use one word to describe this remaster it would be 'fresh' - everything somehow sounds new - clean, present, none too trebled up the nines - and it's easy to hear why Donal and Daniel Gallagher (Rory's nephew) would want these new versions in the marketplace. While the guitars of the opener are in your face (and for all the right reasons) - the harmonica in the background of "Laundromat" is still part of the mix - it's not rammed out front for effect - nicely handled - don't mess with the original. The Bass is so sweet now on "Sinner Boy" as the guitar pans from speaker to speaker in the solo (lyrics above). In fact his backing band of GERRY McAVOY on Bass and WILGAR CAMPBELL on Drums and Percussion can be heard 'so' clearly on every track - very impressively transferred. VINCENT CRANE of Atomic Rooster and Arthur Brown fame puts in superb keyboard work on two tracks - "Wave Myself Goodbye" and "I'm Not Surprised".
The long mid-tempo Blues of "For The Last Time" has been a huge favourite of mine for decades now - I've put in on loads of 70's Fest compilations as an example of an unfairly forgotten nugget. The guitar solo at the end of the track is beautifully clear. The witty and languid "Wave Myself Goodbye" sounds fabulous too. But the sonic-best has to be the last two album cuts - the acoustic Fats Domino R'n'B of "I'm Not Surprised" and the John Coltrane jazz-influenced seven-minutes of "Can't Believe It's True" where Rory puts in rare Alto Sax playing (double-tracked). The last in particular makes for an odd Gallagher listening experience (he was experimenting) but a great one nonetheless - and I'd forgotten how good his guitar work is towards the end as he harmonics his way to the final fade.
Originally released May 1971 on Polydor 2383 048 in the UK and Atco SD 33-368 in the USA (with all tracks self-penned and also self-produced) - his unflashy debut didn't make the top 50 in either country for the 23-year old and has always been hard to find on original vinyl ever since. The British original in particular (some 40 years after the event) has become increasingly expensive in Auctions (much like the TASTE studio albums from 1969 and 1970). So this budget-priced CD with nice packaging and even nicer sound is a great way of acquiring a rarity at a very reasonable cost.
Like most Irishmen, I can't be rational about Rory Gallagher. I saw him and his band as a teenager live in Dublin in the early Seventies and the experience was mind-blowing. I then bought every album he put out after that for years to come and always looked forward to hearing where his flying fingers would go to next.
Rory was sadly lost to us in 1995 through liver failure - and it still hurts to think that this most unassuming and brilliant of guitar heroes is gone. He's up there now as far as I'm concerned - talking the Blues with all the greats. And I for one will be buying the rest of these reissues with a sense of excitement and affection.
PS: the titles in this 2011/2012 CD, Download and LP reissue series so far are:
1. "Rory Gallagher" (May 1971) - REVIEWED
2. "Deuce" (November 1971) - REVIEWED
3. "Live! In Europe" (May 1972)
4. "Blueprint" (February 1973)
5. "Tattoo" (November 1973) - REVIEWED
6. "Irish Tour '74" (July 1974) [2LP set on 1CD - Sides 1 to 3 are Live - Side 4 is Studio Jams]
7. "Against The Grain" (October 1975) – REVIEWED
8. "Calling Card" (August 1976) – REVIEWED
9. "Photo-Finish" (October 1978) – REVIEWED
10. "Top Priority" (September 1979) – REVIEWED
11. "Jinx" (April 1982) - REVIEWED
1 to 6 released January 2012 on CD and Download. 180-gram vinyl versions of each were also made available 27 February 2012 on the "Music On Vinyl" Label
7 to 11 released September 2012 on CD and Download. Limited Edition 180-gram vinyl versions of each will be made available 22 October 2012 on the "Music On Vinyl" Label
on 3 October 2013
Brilliant album, his first solo after Taste, just stunning, nearly crashed the car when listening to track 10, I Can't Believe It's True when Rory was playing sax, Rory was so talented and would have had so much more to give, I can't get enough of his music, even listening to the same album over and over little gems keep popping up which I missed the first time and the times after that, Rory had more talent in his little finger than a lot of people have in their whole body - the man was/is a GOD
on 22 March 2014
I'm not one to presume I'm worthy of writing a review of an album by Rory Gallagher! But if it means that they will sell a few more copies and some proceeds go to Donal and Rory's estate then I'll try.
Rory Gallagher seems to attract a very loyal type of follower even now 15 odd years since he died. I think it's down to a combination of factors including his guitar playing, song writing, singing and very importantly his personality. By all accounts he was very approachable - no guitar god pretence here! A genuine, friendly, sincere and talented man. His inimmitable enthusiasm and energy shone through in his music. I often find his music uplifting. It's honest stuff all the way. Warts n all - just like life. This album is his first offering as a solo artist after the disbanding of his power trio Taste and it contains the energy and wealth of ideas typical of a first album. We find a Rory bursting with a creative force that flows from every enthusiastic, positive note on this album.
The honesty of the music is obvious in his guitar sound which is his early signature sound. I love the rawness of his glassy sounding strat blasting through his treble booster and AC30.
A must for any Rory fan and a revelation to any music fan. He's got that something...
Nice one Rory! Cheers.