on 5 July 2003
I already own all Rorys previous albums on CD and bought this new CD today with more than a little trepidation, hoping it wouldn't be disappointing in the way that many posthumous collections are. I needn't have worried - it is superb. I can't really add much to the earlier reviews other than to endorse them wholeheartedly and recommend that you treat yourself to this excellent album. I've been an ardent fan of Rory for over 30 years and treasure the memory of the times I saw him live in concert (I still have the tickets and programmes!) I went to Ireland for the first time last year and visited Rory's birthplace and his grave to pay my respects to someone who, imho, represents everything that is good both in music and in a man. Thanks, Donal, for sharing with us more great music and at the same time upholding Rory's memory with dignity and respect.
on 8 March 2003
It's obvious that Rory was at his ease when he was performing.Take a listen to track 7 Barley And Grape Rag featuring The Dubliners.They obviously had a ball recording this one.Track 1 Wheels Within Wheels is indeed a beauitiful tune made all the more melodic by the Piano playing of Lou Martin.Track 2 brings to mind I'm Not Awake Yet from Rorys Deuce Album,same style of playing and exellent too.Track 5 Bratacha Dubha has that celtic,english Folk sound to it,and Track 8 The Cuckoo is another gem,which brings back some great memories of gigs gone by.Track 10 has on opening some great slide guitar and is a great Blusey number with Rory laughing as he sings the lyrics, this just brought a smile to my face to hear him enjoying playing,also some magnicifent Banjo playing which is finger pickin good!Tracks 10 and 11 are performed live by the way.Track 12 Deep Elm Blues has that Country Rock feeling,like a train is chugging down the railroad track type of vibe with some Rory Harmonica and once again lovely slide guitar.Track 13 Goin To My Hometown made famous on the Live In Europe album gets a little different treatment here,with a cool drum beat and Lonnie Donnegan screaming lyrics in the background,exellent,exellent,exellent.All in this new release from Donal Gallagher on behalf of his brother Rory is without doubt a milestone for any Rory Fans out there.Just like the old days I purchased this with complete anticipation as I used to do with any Rory release,and I'm just coming down after listening to it.On a final note,I can actually see and hear from this release that Rory was indeed almost like 2 different people,and this has been said in the past.On this album one can understand this statement now.I think the Rory in the public eye,was a different person to the Rory playing his beloved guitar in the studio,it's plainly obvious here.Oh by the way,did I mention,Bert Jansch,Lonnie Donnegan,Juan Martin,Martin Carthy,Bela Fleck,The Dubliners?The're all on here too.Congratulations to Donal again on keeping Rory's memory alive,great selection Donal,Well Done.
on 8 April 2003
Rory was everything that a rock star should be - and a whole lot more besides. Despite being lumped in with the early '70s guitar virtuosos on the strength of his spirited and prop-free live shows ( check out Live in Europe and Live Irish, not to mention the Taste power trio ), he was an extremely sensitive as well as exciting musician of the highest order who liked to mix light and shade in his recordings.
Here is a beautiful set of acoustic Rory which reveal the more eclectic side of The Man, sometimes neglected during his highly successful career in favour of ( some very special ) Stratocaster and slide pyrotechnics.
He himself always reckoned that his live performances were a kind of antidote to the more melancholic, personal material in his songwriting ( check out Rory Gallagher 1 ) and vice versa. Here you get a very satisfying blend of the two. Marvellous. Rory Gallagher music. Brings a twinkle - and a tear - to my eye. Cheers mate.
on 27 March 2003
I bought Wheels Within Wheels without hearing it before hand as I am a great Rory fan and sorely miss his talent and live tours. I have to admit to being worried that it was simply a rehash of material that had ended up being dumped in the studio. How wrong could I be - this is a superb album and stands up in it's own right. The title track is a new number to me and it's my favourite track on the album. Although this is generally an acoustic album, don't worry that you're not going to get the real Rory, because this is Rory at his best. The live numbers are an absolute joy and it comes across that Rory was really enjoying playing with the Dubliners and Lonnie Donegan. If your a Rory fan YOU MUST BUY IT, if your not a Rory fan YOU MUST BUY IT because you will surely be converted.
on 29 March 2003
The only criticism I ever had of Rory Gallagher was that some of his albums felt over-produced; losing the drive and excitement that he powered through all his live shows with. This series of recordings suffer none of this: the tracks have a fresh, loose feel which I cannot fault. It should be required listening for anyone interested in rock, blues or folk - it reminded me why I loved those forms of music in the first place, and made me realise how much I miss Rory Gallagher gigs.
Before listening to the cd I worried that this was another example of cashing in on a dead musician - a worry not helped by the death-mask style album cover (the only part of the package I would readily lose) - but this fear was completely unfounded.
on 5 February 2008
Posthumous releases aren't normally regarded in a particularly favourable light. The argument often being that maybe the artist wouldn't have wanted it released in such a way during their life time. As such they end up being either a grab-bag of tunes recorded over a long period, rough sketches, very badly produced - or, at worse, all three! Without being a fully realised musical 'statement', endorsed and crafted by the artist themselves, invariably accusations are levelled that it's more a greedy record company cashing in on the devotion of fans, keen to hear more from their much-missed heros.
Perhaps you could argue "Wheels Within Wheels" flirts with all of the accusations above, but I feel its strengths as an album rises above any accusations - with the result being it is probably one of Rory Gallagher's most diverse and interesting releases.
Regardless of whether an album such as this would have seen the light of day had Rory been around today is probably a moot point. His brother Donal, who has done a sterling job on the wave of Rory reissues, clearly saw there was scope to release a collection of Rory's more eclectic, acoustic moments. I'm glad he did.
As much as I love Rory's records, from around-about 1979 onwards I felt his albums became increasingly straight-up "rock" affairs. That probably suited a lot of fans, but I felt the blues, jazz and numerous other influences of his early work were replaced with more direct, louder, driving blues/rock riffs. Okay - granted, there are exceptions on each album - but a record made of his more delicate folk based acoustic work? Sadly one never happened, but this release does a great job of filling the gap.
This record is an interesting blend of superb acoustic songs (the title track, The Cuckoo), pretty and diverse instrumentals (Flight to Paradise) and finally a collection of rousing folk-infused live songs towards the end. There's no mistaking this is very much a collection (the sound quality of the live tracks, for example, aren't quite as strong as the songs on the first half of the album), but it's Rory passion (for both his instrument and the music he loved to play) and his considerable energy that really shines through.
Basically, this is a great Rory album. A fine, fitting release - buy with confidence!
on 25 October 2013
After listening to ALL of Rory's other albums, this is my favourite, I listen to it every night before I go to sleep, Rory had so many different sides and angles to him, can't be pigeonholed into "he played this style or that or liked x y or z music" he had so much more to give and we would have grabbed it eagerly and held on tight, amazing album in my opinion
on 19 February 2009
I can only endorse what all the other reviewers say - this is a real gem and full marks to Donal for his efforts to release these cuts.
Rory's acoustic set was always one of the real highlights of his live performances, and, indeed, of his recorded ones too. Drawing from a large range of albums, among my favourites are Pistol Slapper Blues (from Live In Europe), Bankers' Blues, Out on the Western Plain, Grape and Barley Rag (with that gorgeous honky drumming), See Here and many many others. On stage, the almost tangible pleasure on Rory's face when he strapped on the old acoustic was a joy to behold.
Well, believe it or not, this CD captures that joy and sense of fun that was always RG - and also that slightly cheeky Celtic approach that shines through in his music. To have a CD that has not only Rory, but also Martin Carthy, The Dubliners (what a gas they have on Grape and Barley Rag), Bert Jansch in cracking form on She Moves Through The Fair (slight hint of the album "Sir John A Lot of" that Jansch put out in ....1970??), some incredible banjo picking with Bela Fleck starring - God, what a player he is. As The Crow Flies is one of my favourite songs of all times by Tony Joe White and, as always, Rory does it justice as he always did live.
This is just good-time, fun, melancholic, skilful and touching music, and even features the wonderful Lonnie Donnegan - "Last Train to San Fernando" and "The Battle of New Orleans" were two of the first records I owned. It seems odd even to me myself that when I think of Rory and his magnificent team of sidesmen, many of whom are no longer with us or in poor health, I find my eyes misting up and a huge feeling of overwhelming loss. I watched Rory on stage at least 38 times that I have in diaries and probably many more than that, and there has never been anyone quite like him before or since. To combine such talent and such decency in one frame, the Almighty must have been in a good mood when he made Rory. We all miss you, RG, and the word is spreading. You will never be forgotten. RIP.
on 13 July 2013
I do like this album - mostly acoustic and soft songs, a bit different and an album that shows yet another versatile side of this brilliant player. I know its a myth, but for my money I'd have to agree with what Jimi said.....!
on 2 August 2013
Always been a fan of Rory Gallagher from my teen years in the 70`s and have heard several acoustic tracks on various albums, but this is a really fitting tribute to the quality and expressive nature of some of his "quieter" playing. A very plaintive rendition of "She Moved Thro` the Fair" and a very Johnsonesque (is there such a word?) rendition of "Walkin` Blues" are highlights but the album as a whole is a treat for blues fans and music lovers. Imagine the "jams" up there with Gallagher, Hendrix, Hooker, et al. Almost looking forward to it.