PHOTO BY BOB GELDOF. YES, THAT BOB GELDOF
Guess I shoulda known, from song titles like “Kickback City” and “Loanshark Blues”—not to mention “Continental Op”—that Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher had a passion for the crime-noir genre.
For anyone else who might have missed out on that angle, Eagle Rock Entertainment–which also issued the amazing Gallagher documentary Ghost Blues back in 2010–recently set things straight with the release of Kickback City, a package that includes Gallagher’s best crime novel-influenced music and a new novella by Scottish novelist Ian Rankin, in which Rory’s lyrics and song titles are woven into the story.
“I was approached by Rory’s brother Donal Gallagher,” explains Rankin in the Kayos Productions promo bumph, “who asked if I knew that Rory was a big fan of crime fiction. And of course when you look at it, the songs, the lyrics and especially the titles: ‘Kickback City’, ‘Continental Op’ (the title of a Dashiell Hammett book) it all makes sense.
“Donal mentioned that he was thinking of putting together an album of Rory’s songs that are to do with crime and thriller elements,” adds Rankin, “and asked if I wanted to get involved. It was great fun and writing the story for the Rory Gallagher album was just obvious to me. It would be noir, the classic Raymond Chandler or Philip Marlowe private eye.”
The 44-page novella, titled The Lie Factory, is illustrated by graphic artist, writer, and musician Timothy Truman (Grimjack, Jonah Hex), who is also a hardcore Gallagher freak.
“I was turned on to Rory’s work in 1973 when I was a junior in high school in West Virginia,” relates Truman. “One Friday night, I turned on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and that’s when I first saw Rory. He immediately blew me away. I thought he was the greatest guitarist and performer I’d ever seen and I’ve been a devoted follower of his music ever since.”
According to the publicity material, “Kickback City will be packaged like a hardback book housing 3 audio discs, including an audio version of the book read by actor Aidan Quinn (Legends Of The Fall, Michael Collins), the novella, four ‘crime scene’ postcards, and the crime-inspired Rory Gallagher compilation album. The set also includes a collection of live ‘crime’ tracks (Kickback City Live) recorded at the Cork Opera House, never before available as an audio release.”