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Rory Gallagher - 'Blues' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 07, 2019    
 
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This compilation contains more than a few gems and that certainly makes this release worth having in your collection.

To celebrate what would have been (and effectively still is) the 50th anniversary that marks the commencement of Rory Gallagher's recording career, UMC/Chess are releasing a new compilation that is simply called 'Blues'. As the title intimates, this album contains a collection of acoustic, live and electric Blues tracks that span the length of his career. The various songs have been painstakingly tracked down and selected to give the listener a real insight into Gallagher's interpretation of the music that was alive in his soul and which first inspired him to take up the guitar. It is a testament to his skills and ability as a guitarist and singer that the musicians he influenced in his life read like a "who's who" of Rock talent. The album will be released as a 3CD 'Deluxe Edition' on which this review is based, but there will also be cut down versions available on double vinyl and single CD.

The first disc is made up of twelve electric Blues cuts that span from 'Should've Learnt My Lesson' (an out-take from the sessions for 1971's 'Deuce' album) to 'Off The Handle' which is an unreleased track from 'The Blues Show With Paul Jones' on BBC Radio in 1986. Elsewhere, a tribute song entitled 'Leaving Town Blues' by Peter Green is also present. There are also a couple of tracks, 'Drop Down Baby' by Lonnie Donegan and 'I'm Ready' by Muddy Waters, where Gallagher features as a guest guitarist.

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Disc two contains twelve acoustic Blues songs with the earliest being acoustic out-takes of 'Should've Learnt My Lesson' and 'Whole Lot Of People' (again from 1971's Deuce), plus 'Can't Be Satisfied' from an unreleased Radio FFN session in 1992. This disc also contains a good version of 'Pistol Slapper Blues', a long-time favourite of mine.

The third disc features eleven live performances and one compilation of interview snippets which give an insight into Gallagher's connection to the Blues. Some of the tracks on this disc include 'When My Baby She Left Me', 'Nothin' But The Devil' and 'What In The World', all of which were recorded at the Glasgow Apollo in 1982. There are also some live recordings from 1977 with the likes of 'Tore Down' from Newcastle City Hall, while 'Messin' With The Kid' and 'Garbage Man Blues' were both performed at the Sheffield City Hall during the same year.

This compilation contains more than a few gems and that certainly makes this release worth having in your collection. However, I have always believed that Rory Gallagher was best experienced live and for me it is the energy and crowd rapport in the performances that really make the live disc of this excellent compilation shine.

Chris Mee

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