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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Rory Gallagher

BBC Sessions

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue and this two CD set is a “must have” for fans of Rory Gallagher or guitar rock or blues rock in general. Gallagher was among the best and there are some incredible performances here. Although some music is stronger than other music presented on this album, there’s nothing truly weak. I can’t imagine a better introduction to Rory Gallagher’s music, and those who already know the man’s sound will be convinced without any further prompting.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1 – In Concert
Calling Card

Starting on bass, this is a killer hard rocking, bluesy jam. There’s a great piano solo and some scorching guitar soloing.

What In The World
A blues guitar solo opens this, and then takes us into a classic twelve-bar blues jam. Again we get some awesome guitar soloing on this number, but what do you expect from Rory Gallagher, really?
Jacknife Beat
Here’s a hard rocking jam that’s more rock, but still doesn’t lose the blues. Again, the guitar soloing purely screams, but there’s also some great piano soloing, too.
Country Mile
Here’s a more down home blues sound. The slide guitar work is awesome. It’s a real screamer. While the general music of this might be a bit less spectacular than some of the other music, the guitar soloing more than makes up for it.
Got My Mojo Working
This blues classic is delivered with style. Gallagher gets the crowd involved at times, too.
Garbage Man
Gallagher’s guitar opens this jam up and as it kicks into high gear, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think of this coming from a more pure blues artist like Buddy Guy or even B. B. King. It’s a killer blues number that has so much charm and style that it’s one of the highlights of a great set of music. I absolutely love the piano soloing on this thing.
Roberta
This frantic jam has both lots of blues and lots of rock music built into it. It’s a real screamer.
Used To Be
There is always some blues in Gallagher’s music, but overall this one is really more rock than it is blues. It’s a good tune, but perhaps not as strong as some of the other music here.
I Take What I Want
This rocker occupies similar territory to the kind of bluesy rock Led Zeppelin used to do. Of course, with the organ and Gallagher’s stylings involved, there’s no confusing this for anything other than Rory Gallagher, but it is in a similar musical style. This has tons of energy and rocks like crazy.
Cruise On Out
The rhythm section on this feels very much like country music, but the rest of the music is in a raw, hard rocking style. This has a lot of energy but isn’t really one of the highlights of the set. Still, it does represent some variety.
Disc 2 - Studio
Race the Breeze
Here we get more of a pure blues sound. It’s got lots of slide guitar. That slide guitar is really what sells an otherwise sort of average song.
Hands Off
We get another healthy dosage of pure blues here. It’s a cool tune that works very well.
Crest Of A Wave
Here’s a rock tune. Sure, there’s still some blues built into this, but overall it’s just a great hard rock tune. I love the contrast between the faster and slower sections. The guitar soloing on this is particularly noteworthy, too.
Feel So Bad
Again the rhythm section makes me think of country music here. Otherwise, it’s an old school blues tune that’s got a lot of charm and style. It seems almost too obvious to say that there’s some killer guitar soloing here, but it’s true nonetheless.
For The Last Time
This is a strong rocker with some definite blues. It’s not a big change of pace, but a good tune that stands tall alongside a lot of this material.
It Takes Time
There’s a real retro sound to this smoking hot blues rock stomper.
The Seventh Son Of The Seventh Son
I don’t really hear a lot of blues on this. Instead, it’s more of a psychedelia meets classic rock tune. It’s a great piece of music.
Daughter Of The Everglades
Here’s another that’s set more in an early 1970s styled rock sound. There’s not a lot of blues on this and it almost feels a bit like Thin Lizzy at times.
They Don't Make Them Like You
This one has a fast moving, open, jazzy texture. It’s really a lot like the proto-progressive rock stuff that came out in the late 1960s. It’s a great tune that’s one of the biggest changes of the set.
Toredown
Here’s a real retro tinged, stripped down blues tune. It’s got tons of energy and lots of charm. It’s also a little raw. Part of that rawness comes from the recording itself, which isn’t at the same quality level as the material to this point. The expansive jam later, though, makes this worthwhile, despite any sound quality flaws.
When My Baby She Left Me
This bluesy rocker has a sound quality that’s a step up from the previous one. The tune itself makes me think of Pat Travers’ “Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights).” It’s a fun number with a driving rhythm section and tasty guitar soloing. We even get a killer harmonica solo.
Hoodoo Man
The guitar bit that opens this makes me think of Robin Trower, but it works out to a really traditional blues sound from there. There are no surprises here, just a lot of great blues from Rory Gallagher.
 
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