Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

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By Steve Newton

Rory Gallagher is quite likely the most underrated rock-guitar player of all time. Even though his instrumental prowess has been constantly raved about by such longtime fans as Slash, Brian May, and The Edge, a lot of music fans have never even heard him.

Perhaps most shocking is the fact that, even though the Irish stringbender has been eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a whopping 24 years, he’s never even been nominated!

That is really freakin’ bizarre.

Hardcore Gallagher fans like myself never stop hoping that one day he’ll get the worldwide recognition he deserves. Thankfully, Gallagher was first and foremost a live performer, and he played thousands of gigs before dying of complications from a liver transplant in 1995. Luckily, somebody was smart enough to get the tape rolling once in a while.

Back in early 1977 Rory was touring across the U.K. and the tape machines were switched on at four shows in London, Brighton, Sheffield, and Newcastle. Universal Music Canada has announced that those recordings have resulted in a new collection called Check Shirt Wizard Live in ’77, which will be released on March 6 in vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

I can’t friggin’ wait.

The set was produced by Gallagher’s nephew Daniel, whose father Donal (Rory’s brother-manager) took him to his first Rory gig.

“The first time I ever saw my uncle Rory playing live was at the Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1987,” Daniel Gallagher recalls in a press release. “At the time, being five years old, I had little awareness of what my uncle and father did for a living. I used to think Rory meant magician when he said he was a musician. We got to the side of the stage, and there was uncle Rory playing his battered Fender Stratocaster to thousands of rockin’ fans.

“Ten years earlier, at the very same venue, Rory was performing tracks from his then latest album Calling Card. I found the multitrack tapes to this 1977 concert and three others from the same tour in our tape archive and decided to see what magic was on them. What I found was Rory and his band at peak performance… I hope the tracks I selected to mix and master are what Rory might’ve chosen himself.”

Check Shirt Wizard: Live in ’77 3LP vinyl edition

SIDE A

1. Do You Read Me (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
2. Moonchild (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
3. Bought And Sold (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)

SIDE B

4. Calling Card (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
5. Secret Agent (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
6. Tattoo’d Lady (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)

SIDE C

7. A Million Miles Away (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
8. I Take What I Want (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
9. Walk On Hot Coals (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)

SIDE D

10. Out On The Western Plain (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
11. Barley & Grape Rag (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
12. Pistol Slapper Blues (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
13. Too Much Alcohol (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
14. Going To My Hometown (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)

SIDE E

15. Edged In Blue (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
16. Jack-Knife Beat (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
17. Souped-Up Ford (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)

SIDE F

18. Bullfrog Blues (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
19. Used To Be (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
20. Country Mile (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)

Sadly, I never got to interview Rory Gallagher, to my infinite regret. But I have talked to hundreds of other great guitarists since 1982. Consider subscribing to my Patreon page, where for $5 U.S. you can hear my conversations with:

Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Mick Ronson, 1988
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil, 2001
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1985
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001
…with hundreds more to come

3 responses to “Rory Gallagher’s fierce talent exposed by unearthed live tracks, but will the Rock Hall even notice?

  1. I nominate Rory for sure he
    should have been there years ago. I saw him once in Las Vegas Nevada in the 70s the concert was going to be Fleetwood Mac before Stevie Nick’s, Rory Gallagher, and Deep Purple. It ended up being a riot because Deep Purple’s lead singer had a sore throat and wouldn’t come out. Fleetwood Mac and Rory offered to join together and play in place of Deep Purple. It didn’t get to happen.

  2. Hi Steve, I used to live in chilliwack 1967-1969, hung out with the Tarrass brothers, Gord was my age, but remember Mark and John, I believe it was 1972 at the coliseum, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac and Rory, I remember Gord and I being blown away, loved him ever since, cheers, Mark.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Hi Mark. Yes, I vaguely remember the Tarrass name. Good to hear from you. Thanks for your comment. You are so lucky to have seen Rory live–especially on a bill with Deep Purple and Fleetwood Mac. What a memory!

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