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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Rory Gallagher

Defender

Review by Gary Hill

This was the penultimate album Rory Gallagher would release before his death. It shows off his smoking hot style of blues tinged rock, or rocking blues, depending on your definition. Whatever you call it, though, this is a killer slab of music that’s sure to please. Gallagher’s guitar playing is among the best. It’s just a nearly perfect disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Kickback City

They count it in and then Gallagher and company fire out in a bluesy rocking jam that feels part Thin Lizzy and part AC/DC, but all Rory Gallagher.

Loanshark Blues
While this is a more stripped down, pure blues approach, it doesn’t lack in power or intensity. It’s more like a Howlin’ Wolf kind of jam and it works really well with some great slide guitar.
Continental Op. (To Dashiell Hammet)
More of a rock sound, this is rooted in the same type of sound that permeated most of the 1970s guitar hero rock. It’s another strong tune on a disc that’s full of them.
I Ain't No Saint
This is one of the strongest pieces on show. It’s every bit hard rocking blues and the arrangement and performance are incredibly strong. It’s also built around a smoking hot groove.
Failsafe Day
While there’s still some blues on this piece, mostly in the guitar soloing, overall this is really a hard rocking 1970s classic rock styled tune.
Road To Hell
Bluesy rock, this is another screamer. It almost feels like Thin Lizzy meets Kiss to me, but Gallagher’s guitar is purely on fire here. The guitar solos are particularly expressive.
Doing Time
Here’s a slide blues tune turned classic hard rock. It’s a real screamer that works quite well. We get an exceptionally tasty slide guitar solo on this beast.
Smear Campaign
With more of a stripped down rock meets blues approach, I really like the main riff on this cut.
Don't Start Me To Talkin'
Now, this is without question a classic blues shuffle. It’s certainly nothing new, but Gallagher and company play it with some serious style.
Seven Days
This tune comes in as an acoustic blues tune. It’s stripped down and old school. It gets more of a full treatment as it continues, but it’s still quite rootsy.
Seems To Me
A chugging, smoking hot blues number, this is all electric blues. That term applies both as a description of the instrumentation and the performance. It’s got a killer gritty riff and some great tones and moods.
No Peace For The Wicked
Another screaming hot blues song ends the disc in fine fashion.
 
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