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on 29 September 2012
I feel like I've waited half my life for this. I bought this album just before Christmas 75 and for me it holds a special place in my life at that time.

I bought the 99 remaster, played it once, thought it was awful and never played it again still prefering to play my worn out vinyl.

So when I heard this was being released hoped that it would at last be what it should have been all along. And it is. it's got the sound, drive, life and it's not that crappy remix which I had great delight in destroying.

Whoever had the thought to release this version thank you, you've made an old man happy.

Now to buy the rest and bin the 1999 crap.
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"Against The Grain" is one of five new 2012 CD, Download and Vinyl reissues covering Rory Gallagher's 'studio' album period at Chrysalis Records between 1975 and 1979. His Polydor Label years (1971 to 1974) were released in full in January 2012 (see list below). The next set of studio and live album reissues are due in early 2013 - all supervised by Donal Gallagher - his brother, tour manager and keeper of the flame.

So what's different? In a nutshell - cheaper price, restored artwork with upgraded packaging and 2012 remastering from the original tapes. Here are the finite details...

Released 24 September 2012 in the UK (9 October 2012 in the USA) - "Against The Grain" is on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88725461492 (Barcode 887254614920) and comes in a card digipak rather than a jewel case and features two bonus tracks which originally showed up (previously unreleased at the time) on the 1999 version (49:28 minutes total playing time).

1. Let Me In
2. Cross Me Off Your List
3. Ain’t Too Good
4. Souped-Up Ford
5. Bought And Sold
6. I Take What I Want [Side 2]
7. Lost At Sea
8. All Around Man
9. Out On The Western Plain
10. At The Bottom
The original vinyl album was released October 1975 in the UK and USA on Chrysalis CHR 1098 (it charted at number 121 in the States). "Against The Grain" marked his debut for the British label Chrysalis Records.

11. Cluney Blues
12. My Baby, Sure

When "Against The Grain" was first re-issued on CD by Da Capo in February 1999 - the tapes were remixed and remastered by Tony Arnold - giving it a sound some found a little shrill. That first reissue also altered the original artwork in a terrible way. This time the original tapes have been returned to by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM and remastered as 'untampered' versions in August 2012 at Wired Masters Studios in London - and little is going to prepare Gallagher fans for this. They've done a fantastic job. Right from the opening explosion of "Let Me In" - the sound is so full of power and incredible clarity - and stays that way to the end...

...And how good is to see the back of the dreadful artwork that blighted the 1999 reissue (in fact all 5 of the gatefold digipaks are gorgeous to look at - proper repros of the original LPs). The foldout 3-way inlay of old has been replaced in 2012 by a 12-page booklet with Donal Gallagher's song-by-song liner notes reproduced again. But as well as other colour photos - there's two new inclusions - CAMERON CROWE'S wonderful appraisal of Rory and the album from The Rolling Stone magazine in 1976 - and a review of the LP by SIMON FRITH in the same issue. The card digipak repros the lovely original album artwork (back and front), the CD itself is a picture disc and there's even a new photo beneath the see-through plastic tray. And priced at roughly a fiver sterling - this is a classy little reissue for not a lot of wonga.

The album was self-produced and featured the line-up that had been with him since "Blueprint" in 1973 - GERRY McAVOY on Bass, LOU MARTIN on Keyboards and ROD De'ATH on Drums. Rory covered everything else - Vocals, Guitars and Harmonica.

The 10-track LP had 7 originals and three brilliantly chosen cover versions - Sam and Dave's Stax hit "I Take What I Want", Leadbelly's lonesome Blues "Out On The Western Plain" and a stunning slide guitar/harmonica working of "All Around Man" by Bo Carter of The Mississippi Sheiks (a 1930's Black Vocal Group Rory greatly admired).

For me "Against The Grain" was the first studio album to capture the sheer guitar-blast of Rory Gallagher live. Even now the six-and-a-half-minute slide mayhem of "Souped-Up Ford" is absolutely astonishing - roaring out of your speakers like it’s going to soil the furniture. He lets it rip - as does Lou Martin on keys - and it's hair-raising stuff. "Bought & Sold" may have referred back to the bitterness he still felt about the treatment of TASTE (his band) - but it was a chipper little rocker - and became a staple of his live set from 1975 onwards. "Lost At Sea" is unusual and a real grower - an almost Prog feel to the odd chord changes in it (fab clarity on the bass and drums). His acoustic take of Huddy Ledbetter's Cowboy song "Out On The Western Plain" is eerily clear - squeaking of chairs and strings - beautiful sound now. But I have to admit to a fave. I used to go to a Saturday night dance in Dublin in Clontarf called "The Grove" (there's a YouTube program on it done by RTE) where his joyous cover of Sam & Dave's "I Take What I Want" ended each Summer evening in a blaze of longhair and sweat. Yum yum...

The two bonus tracks that ended the 1999 reissue reappear again too - "Cluney Blues" is a jaunty instrumental while "My Baby, Sure" is a Rockabilly tune with some great fun dialogue before it starts...

For many - Rory's classic period was with Polydor Records in the early Seventies - and like so many fans - I adore those albums with a passion. But having just waded through all 5 of these 24 Sep 2012 reissues of his Chrysalis studio records - I'm absolutely blown-away by how good they are. While so many rock acts floundered (especially after 1975) - Rory just kept putting out one gem after another. If anything - I'm tempted to say that these albums are where his real genius lies.

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'm actually in the audience at Dublin on Irish Tour '74). I then bought every album he ever put out after that and always looked forward to hearing where his flying fingers would take me 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. "Against The Grain" is a gem - and frankly "Calling Card" from 1976 is even better.

Whole-heartedly recommended...and what a blindingly great player he was. In fact if you want an inkling of his astonishing playing - check out YouTube footage of him playing “Souped-Up Ford” in Germany in 1980 where the wild crowd invade the stage and he just keeps on playing then finishes the number on top of a speaker stack…

PS: the titles in this 2011/2012 CD, Download and LP reissue series so far are:
1. "Rory Gallagher" (originally UK released in 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
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on 25 September 2010
I sense a much welcome reappraisal of the great man's work is taking place, and there are now some genuinely wonderful releases coming out that capture this lovable Irish bluesman at his best. Looking through the reviews I notice that this mid-70's album seems to be undervalued in amongst the better known recordings. I think that this arguably marks the end of his peak creative years and that although he continued to be an amazing live performer, his records never quite matched this quality again. Against the Grain has a real crackling electricity and vibrancy to it and the material is very strong from start to finish. There is also an accessibility and commercial spark to this album that should have broken him to a new and bigger audience, and if the BBC ever do release the OGWT concert that showcased these tracks then you'll see Rory at the very top of his game. He really pulled out all the stops on Against the Grain and captured a great sound from the studio. The keyboards of Lou Martin really gelled with Rory's guitar on this album and genuinely added to the palette of sounds and moods. There is a whiplash energy and urgency to the uptempo numbers and the soloing is concise and never outstays its welcome. Out on the Western Plain perfectly captures the myth and mystery of the old West and repeated listenings reveal depths to the song that can easily escape the casual listen. Perhaps the highlight of the album is All Around Man and Gallagher is all over the song in a real display of showmanship that captures the performative element of blues so often lacking in other white bluesmen. This album really is Gallagher off the leash in the studio and is a riot from its opening bars, to the closing plaintive cry and sincerity of At The Bottom, one of his most affecting songs and emotive vocals. No Gallagher fan should be without this.
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on 1 June 2005
I first heard of Rory Gallagher when I saw footage of him from "The Old Grey Whistle Test" which was recorded in 1976 (when I was aged one). The track was a fast rocker with a memorable riff so good my friends played it in their band. Although we did not know the name of the song! Then one day recognised it being played from a pub jukebox which featured this album.
Anyway, the track was Let Me In which is a great opener to Against The Grain. Souped Up Ford is also a super charged rocker and follows a Gallagher tradition in singing about speed (such as Country Mile).
The stand out track for me though is All Around Man, an urgent blues rocker that begins with Gallagher screaming and crying together with just his electric guitar until the band kicks in with a stop-start blues rhythm. Fantastic!
A great acoustic moment is Gallagher's version of Leadbelly's "Out On the Western Plain," with its combination of Indian chords, American Delta folk and cowboy "yippee-ki-yay" chorus. Bought and Sold, with Congas is the hit single that never was, and Gallagher records a playful cover of Sam and Dave's I Take What I Want.
Presumably the album was named Against The Grain as Rory as remaining true to the music he loved while his contempories were moving into more commerical sounds. This is one of Rory's finest, matched only by Calling Card and the two early live albums, and features a good mix of rock, delta blues and country.
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on 27 November 2000
One of my favourite Rory CD's. A great mixture of material from the rock of 'Let Me In' and 'I Take What I Want' to the acoustic country blues of 'Out On The Western Plain'. A must for any fan.
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on 29 September 2007
This CD gets a 3 because of an indifferent remix (the 'Cross Me Off Your List' track is really pretty awful). Also, why change the original cover...? If you come across an original mix album or CD, go for it - 5 stars and up being one of Rory's best. Of course, if the Beeb can be persuaded to release the '76 Sight and Sound concert versions of many of these and Calling Card's numbers, then better still...
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on 12 September 2013
Rory Gallagher is one of the greatest unsung guitarists in the history of rock and this album proves why. Its hard to believe that since his tragic unfortunate and untimely death from MRSA at the age of 47 in 1995 he has sold about 30 million records and yet the industry ignores him, while lesser mortals get no end of praise. Whats more heartbreaking is most of them sight this man as an influence. I bought this album on vinyl back in the early 80s but somehow lost the copy. I am glad i got it back though and as i play and listen to these songs it reminds me just why he is revered so much by so many professionals and passionate players. His utter command of the blues and bluesgrass country along with his seasoned hard rock chops and finger picking magic is easily up there with Vaughan, Santana, Beck and Hendrix just to name a few. He cut a rugged distinctive look with his long dark brown locks and sideburns and had an amazing soulful voice to boot. He was also blessed with endless charisma and a fiery stage presence that often saw him running from one end to the other in his trademark boot kicking style.

Opener Let Me In is a strong contender for hard rock boogie, Cross Me Off Your List follows up nicely to Aint Too Good a gorgeous ballady blues number punctuated by some breathtaking lead work played straight from the soul. Rory always had such amazing feeling in everything he did and was able to blend hard rock riffing into the catchiest funky blues structures as on Lost At Sea. His sway into country was also always memorable and fun like Out On The Western Front and ends on an unmistakeable classic in At The Bottom where more of that hard living and drinking blues vibes just pours out of his 1961 Fender Stratocaster a guitar he played until he died. Get this record and then check out his others, they're all keepers from a time when nothing but the music mattered. Rory Gallagher was one of the hardest working and touring dudes out there, a musician's musician for sure and one that is greatly missed. He was the people's player who shunned fame and fortune and there will never be another like him.
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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

Anyone who is fan of the guitar gets a real feast of then here, acoustic, slide, electric......all played by a master musician.

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on 11 December 2014
Another excellent sounding 2012 remaster.
This is also another great Rory album that can be enjoyed by any rock fan. I love all Rory's work , his keen sense of rythym and classic straight ahead riffs are superb. One of the greatest rock and blues guitar players of all time.
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on 20 May 2013
I love Rory Gallagher, and am proud to say I saw him a few times - The best guitarist I have ever seen.
The re-mastering has really polished this gem up further; there are many things I am hearing for the first time.
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