Birthday: Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

                 Rory Gallagher was born March 02, 1948.

If Green brought a Talmudic intensity to his exploration of the blues, there is a sense of joyous abandon in Gallagher’s work; “When I listen to something I like, I like to be taken out of my seat and thrown across the room.  I like guts, a good drive, which can include gentle stuff too.”

And similar to Green, these qualities came to fore during their live performances.

Both men shared a love of the early rock n’ roll that they had grown up listening to, and an apostle’s passion for the blues.

Two years younger than Peter Green, Gallagher had nonetheless had logged far more hours on the boards than Green before their respective breakthroughs.

Gallagher had been performing before live audiences around his hometown of Cork, Ireland from the age of ten, and at seventeen, he became a member of the Fontana Show Band, (a terrific training ground, show bands were expected to play Irish music, country and western songs, the Top Twenty hits of the day and even comedy routines).

While on tour in England in 1964, Gallagher was exposed to the blues based Beat music that was riding a wave of popularity.  Seeing Rolling Stones lead guitarist Brian Jones playing slide guitar made a significant impact on him.

In the hope of changing their image, the Fontana Show band changed their name to The Impact, and in April of 1965, landed a spot on an Irish TV show “Pickin’ the Pops”.

The story has it that they were supposed to play ‘Valley of Tears’ (a strange choice considering the number is built around keyboards and they didn’t have a keyboardist in the band) but when they went on air, they tore into Larry William’s ‘Slow Down’ instead.  Powered by the band’s twin saxophones, Gallagher can be heard taking a nice solo at the end, though the song is faded out before the number is over.

The original line-up of The Impact would go their own ways later that year but as they were contractually obligated for three weeks of shows in Hamburg, Germany, the timing was not exactly fortunate.

Pressed by their manager to put together another band to cover the dates, Gallagher re-teamed with The Impact’s bassist Oliver Tobin and brought in drummer Johnny Campbell.

A brutal regime of six forty-five minute sets a night, with fifteen minute breaks in between insured that the end of the engagement was also the end of the group.

Back in Cork, Gallagher persevered, forming another trio, this time with bassist Eric Kitteringham and Norman D’Amery on drums.

They called their new band Taste, and in addition to early rock and roll, rhythm and blues and a few of Gallagher’s original compositions, they began to add blues covers into their sets.

We will explore some of Gallagher’s early music with this first version of Taste, and the songs that he and Fleetwood Mac both covered (along with many other bands at the time) in future entries.

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