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Blues - Released October 9, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Two Gallaghers hide another. No, Rory Gallagher is not the brother, nor the father, or even some distant cousin of Liam and Noel. Though over a couple of decades (the 70s and 80s) the Irish guitarist left his mark on the history of Anglo-Saxon music with a blues rock focus. He set out in 1970 at the Isle of Wight festival with his Taste trio and vintage Stratocaster, putting pop music back on the straight and narrow with the blues. His early records still have a folk-psych tinge that was in vogue at the time. Though he very quickly hardened his tone and simplified his sound… or the other way around. He’s the people’s guitar hero in a plaid shirt who plays with both power and grace. He’s a virtuoso who masters simplicity. He has the voice of a bluesman, channelling the magic of good, uncomplicated melodies. This extensive best-of album covers his whole discography, from Blister on the Moon with Taste in 1969 to the hauntingly beautiful Ghost Blues from his last album in 1990, not forgetting a load of tracks from his best period in the 70s. As for the rare gems, you’ll find a greasy version of the Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, sung in duet with Jerry Lee Lewis while they were in the studio together in 1973. Beware the Rory! © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz 
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Rock - Released March 6, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released October 20, 2014 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released May 14, 1972 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released November 11, 1973 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Gallagher's work ethic was in high gear as he somehow found time to write nine more songs in the midst of non-stop touring for his second album released in 1973. Even more astounding is that far from sounding fatigued or burnt out, his performance here is loose and impassioned, and the tunes are some of the best of his career. Lou Martin's keyboards are better integrated into the band, and drummer Rod de'Ath swings and burns with easy confidence. The double whammy of the album's two crunching leadoff tracks, "Tattoo'd Lady" and "Cradle Rock" illustrate just how comfortable Gallagher is with his backing group, and the smooth-rolling unplugged guitar and harmonica of "20-20 Vision" proves that the blues rocker is a more than adequate Delta/folk musician. Better still is the acoustic slide intro to "Who's that Comin'" that effortlessly and discretely eases its way into a Chicago styled, mid-tempo, electric attack. "A Million Miles Away" pushes the envelope even further with a slow, greasy swamp groove against which Gallagher picks clipped, staccato notes over a well-oiled rhythm section, thick Hammond organ overdubbed with piano from Martin, and even a multi-tracked sax section from the guitarist. The 2000 reissue adds "Tuscon, Arizona" an unusual acoustic waltz-time country Link Wray cover, and a seemingly unrehearsed driving version of the blues standard "Just a Little Bit" that runs almost eight minutes, and is interesting for about half that. Short but informational track-by-track liner notes from Gallagher's brother Donal and crisp remastered sound makes this an essential purchase for established fans and an excellent place to start for new Rory Gallagher listeners. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Blues - Released May 31, 2019 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

The late Irish blues rocker Rory Gallagher would have been pleased to see the Chess logo embossed on the three-disc Blues, a box of rare, unissued, acoustic, and live recordings. Issued to mark what would have been his half-century as a recording artist, 90-percent of the material here is previously unreleased. The discs are divided thematically: Electric, Acoustic, and Live. The booklet is wonderfully annotated with an authoritative essay from journalist and music historian Jas Obrecht; it places Gallagher in his rightful historical place as an electric blues rock pioneer alongside admirers Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, and Peter Green. The set opens with a raucous cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me Talkin'," an unissued cut from the sessions that begat the excellent 1982 offering Jinx. Gallagher is in full Chicago house-rocking mode with his wailing harmonica and nasty slide guitar, accompanied by pounding piano and a barely contained rhythm section shuffle. His songwriting is showcased to fine effect, too, with the slow-burning "Off the Handle" from a live BBC appearance in 1986, "Should've Learnt My Lesson," an outtake from the Deuce sessions in 1971 (a midtempo blues rocker steeped in the Celtic folk tradition), and an unhinged take of his "Bullfrog Blues" from a radio station appearance in 1972. Along the way, we get lean, mean covers of Tony Joe White's "As the Crow Flies," Green's "Leaving Town Blues," and two guest spots, "I’m Ready" with Muddy Waters in 1971, and "Drop Down Baby" with skiffle icon Lonnie Donegan from 1978. The second disc showcases Gallagher's considerable acoustic guitar playing and extremely effective singing, as well as his obsessions with Waters' slide playing and Jesse Fuller's and Big Bill Broonzy's rhythmically complex fingerpicking. Highlights include "Prison Blues" and Broonzy's "Bankers Blues" (both from the Blueprint sessions), the slide-tastic solo acoustic "Secret Agent" from a TV appearance in 1974, and a screaming solo take on John Lee Hooker's "Want Ad Blues" from a 1988 radio session. There are also several key originals, including the previously unissued "Whole Lot of People." The first three tracks from the live volume are drawn from a 1982 concert, with Gallagher's wrangling readings of Sonny Boy Williamson's "When My Baby Left Me," Jerry West's "Nothing But the Devil" and Willie Dixon's "What in the World" -- they’re fiery, direct, improvisational, and raw as hell. Junior Wells' "Messin with the Kid," culled from a 1977 Sheffield concert rocks like the MC5, as does Sonny Thompson's "Tore Down" from another show. There are three Gallagher guest spots, including "Born Under a Bad Sign" with Jack Bruce from 1991, "Comin’ Home Baby" with Chris Barber in 1989, and "You Upset Me" from Albert King's Live in 1975. All told, this box places Gallagher in his rightful place with his peers above, and as an influence cited by guitar slingers Brian May, Gary Moore, Johnny Marr, and Slash. Blues makes a final incontrovertible case for Gallagher's musical immortality. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Blues - Released July 21, 1974 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released September 16, 1979 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Gallagher's fourth and final studio set for Chrysalis finds the Irish blues-rocker in prime form. Arriving only a year after Photo-Finish, when he spent much of his time on the road, it's remarkable that Gallagher could continue to churn out the hook-heavy high-quality tunes he wrote for this album. Playing larger arenas toughened his songs and attack, almost all of which here are high-octane sweaty rockers. While that makes for some thrilling, intense music, the nonstop vibrant energy rush is never balanced out with a ballad or even the rootsy, swampy blues that Gallagher always performed with such authority. So even though the opening charging riff of "Follow Me"; the slower, urging groove of "Keychain"; and the melodic, relatively subtle hard rock of "Bad Penny" were notable inclusions to the Gallagher catalog and his concerts, the lack of acoustic tunes or less aggressive music gives the album a one-note feel. This isn't helped by the two additional tracks added for the 1999 reissue, both of which stay locked in the same basic hard-edged format. That said, Gallagher and his backing duo are in top form, churning through the songs with remarkably crisp energy. Rory is starting to shout more than sing, but his voice was still powerfully expressive, and when he gets excited on the double-time, cranked up "Just Hit Town" as he overdubs his patented guitar lines, the blues-rocker's guttural screams make it sound like he's on fire. Gallagher also blows some snarling, overdriven harp for the first time in a while on "Off the Handle," one of the album's moodier tracks, and sounds enthusiastic throughout. Except for the lack of diversity, this remains a strong set from the Irishman, and is highly recommended, especially to his less blues-oriented fans. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Blues - Released November 11, 1973 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released October 24, 1976 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released May 23, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Rory Gallagher's solo debut picks up where On The Boards left off - it's a solid, but significantly less raucous, blues rock outing with ten original tunes that were far more than skeletons for his incisive Strat picking. "Laundromat," "Hands Up," and "Sinner Boy"'s distinctive riffs were early concert favorites, but the album's ballads were some of Gallagher's strongest. "For the Last Time," "Just the Smile" and the acoustic "I'm Not Surprised" mixed strains of Delta blues with strong melodic sensibilities into songs of rare poignancy, especially for an artist who was best known for his scorching leads. In this respect Gallagher was an early model for Eric Clapton, whose solo career followed a similar path. Interestingly, Gallagher seems rather restrained throughout his debut, holding back the fret-burning in favor of strong songs. He opens up on the album's jazzy, seven-minute finale "Can't Believe It's You" which even features an alto sax, an instrument Gallagher all but abandoned on later albums. 2000's reissued, remastered version of the disc includes two additional tunes, Muddy Waters' slow Delta blues number "Gypsy Woman" and Otis Rush's fast Chicago shuffle "It Takes Time," both cut at the same sessions. "Gypsy Woman"'s slashing slide guitar and vocals sound as impassioned any other track; shuffle "It Takes Time" isn't quite as impressive but still shows how comfortable Gallagher is with straight blues. Brother/compiler Donal Gallagher's track notes are short but illuminating, and the remastered sound, although not as vibrant as on later reissues of Gallagher's catalog, is a big improvement over any existing version of this consistently superb album. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Blues - Released October 24, 1976 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Gallagher's second album for Chrysalis -- and last with his longstanding trio of Lou Martin (keyboards), Rod De'Ath (drums) and Gerry McAvoy (bass) -- was a milestone in his career. Although Calling Card was produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and not surprisingly contained some of his most powerfully driving rockers, tracks like the acoustic "Barley & Grape Rag" and the jazzy, soulful, finger snapping title cut -- a perennial concert favorite -- found the Irish rocker not only exploring other musical paths, but also caught him on one of his most consistent songwriting streaks ever. Even "Do You Read Me," the muscular opening track, is a remarkably stripped-down affair that adds subtle synths to the rugged blues rock that was Gallagher's claim to fame. While "Moonchild," "Country Mile," and "Secret Agent" displayed catchy hooks, engaging riffs, and raging guitar work (the latter adds a touch of Deep Purple's Jon Lord-styled organ to the proceedings), it's the elegant ballad "I'll Admit You're Gone" that shifts the guitarist into calmer waters and proves his melodic talent was just as cutting on quieter tunes. And it's a crime that the gorgeous "Edged in Blue," certainly one of the artist's saddest and most beautiful pop melodies, was overlooked in his catalog. The 1999 reissue sports track-by-track and first person liner notes from Gallagher's brother Donal, crisp remastered sound, and two additional songs not included on previous versions, one of which, "Public Enemy (B-Girl Version)," later appeared on the Photo-Finish album in an inferior performance to this. Arguably Rory Gallagher's finest studio effort, it was among his best and most varied batch of songs, and it is a perfect place for the curious to start their collection as well as an essential disc showing Gallagher at the peak of his powers. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 16, 1979 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released May 23, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released November 28, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Blues - Released May 14, 1972 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

The live album Live in Europe/Stage Struck captures Rory Gallagher at his finest, as he tears his way through many of his very best songs. Though the performance quality is a little uneven, there are gems scattered throughout the record, including smoking versions of "Messin' with the Kid" and "Laundromat." © Thom Owens /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 6, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Check Shirt Wizard: Live in 1977 is a 20-track collection culled from four shows from Rory Gallagher's 1977 U.K. tour. The previously unreleased live tracks were recorded in London, Sheffield, Brighton, and Newcastle and feature songs from his 1976 album Calling Card as well as tracks from 1975's Against the Grain. © TiVo
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Blues - Released November 28, 1971 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Released in November 1971, just six months after his solo debut, Rory Gallagher's second album was the summation of all that he'd promised in the wake of Taste's collapse, and the blueprint for most of what he'd accomplish over the next two years of recording. Largely overlooked by posterity's haste to canonize his next album, Live! In Europe, Deuce finds Gallagher torn between the earthy R&B of "Used to Be," a gritty blues fed through by some viciously unrestrained guitar playing, and the jokey, country-billy badinage of "Don't Know Where I'm Going," a too-short snippet that marries Bob Dylan to Ronnie Lane and reminds listeners just how broad Gallagher's sense of humor was. Reflecting the laid-back feel of Rory Gallagher, "I'm Not Awake Yet" is a largely acoustic piece driven as much by Gerry McAvoy's gutbucket bass as by Gallagher's intricate playing; "There's a Light", too, plays to Gallagher's sensitive side, while stating his mastery of the guitar across a protracted solo that isn't simply spellbinding in its restraint, it also has the effect of adding another voice to the proceedings. But such notions of plaintive melodicism are utterly exorcised by the moments of highest drama, a sequence that peaks with the closing, broiling "Crest of a Wave." With bass set on stun, the drums a turbulent wall of sound, and Gallagher's guitar a sonic switchblade, it's a masterpiece of aggressive dynamics, the sound of a band so close to its peak that you can almost touch the electricity. Of course, that peak would come during 1972-1973 with the albums upon which Gallagher's reputation is today most comfortably set. Deuce, however, doesn't simply set the stage for the future, it strikes the light that ignites the entire firestorm. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Blues - Released October 1, 1978 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released March 1, 2003 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Although best known for his barnstorming blues-rock, Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher had a softer side, too. All of his studio albums contain at least one acoustic folk-blues track, and Gallagher included an unplugged set in the majority of his live shows way before that was fashionable. Almost eight years after his death, Rory's brother Donal compiled a 14-track collection of previously unreleased work dedicated to Gallagher's folkier approach. It's the second such posthumous album (the terrific live and very electric BBC Sessions came out in 1999), and focuses on an important if lesser recognized aspect of the guitarist's career. It's also an eclectic set that shifts from melodic ballads ("Wheels Within Wheels") to instrumental modified flamenco ("Flight to Paradise" with classical guitarist Juan Martin) and solo Delta blues (a studio take of Tony Joe White's "As the Crow Flies," the live version of which was a highlight of Irish Tour). And that's just the first three songs. Unreleased gems such as "Lonesome Highway" sound like classic Gallagher (this even features a plugged-in solo), but the disc is most successful when it unearths rare collaborations with Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch, and Scottish skiffle legend Lonnie Donegan. The latter is caught live on a rousing version of "Goin' to My Hometown," one of this album's many highlights. The heavily bootlegged "The Cuckoo," also finds official release in a stirring version assisted by Roland Van Campenhout on second guitar. Three live tunes with stripped-down accompaniment from Béla Fleck on banjo and harmonica master Mark Feltham find Gallagher running through a seemingly improvised medley of "Amazing Grace," Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues," and Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky," showing just how diverse Gallagher's tastes were. Established Gallagher fans will love this for the unusually laid-back setting, but Wheels Within Wheels might also attract a hardcore folk audience likely unaware of the rock guitarist's affinity for this genre. The varying sound quality is a little sketchy, especially on the concert tracks, but the sheer enthusiasm and joy infused in these grooves override any audio shortcomings. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo