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Sunday, 12 February 2012
"Rory Gallagher" by RORY GALLAGHER (January 2012 Sony/Capo//Legacy CD Remaster by Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham in Card Digipak with Bonus Tracks) - A Review by Mark Barry...
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Under the supervision of Donal
Gallagher (his older brother and former tour manager) - Irish guitar hero RORY GALLAGHER had his LP
back-catalogue first reissued onto CD between 1998 and 2000. Each of those
RCA/Capo releases came in jewel cases and had previously unreleased bonus tracks.
The campaign culminated with a tremendous outtakes compilation in 2003 called
"Wheels Within Wheels".
This latest version of his
debut album is the first of six 'new' remasters released to coincide with the
40th Anniversary of his Solo career. So what's different? In a nutshell -
cheaper price, upgraded packaging and 2011 mastering from the original tapes.
Here are the finite details...
Released 16 January 2012 in
the UK (31 Jan 2012 in the USA) - "Rory Gallagher" by RORY GALLAGHER is on
Sony/Capo/Legacy 88691917352 (Barcode 886919173529) and comes in a card digipak
rather than a jewel case (55:12 minutes).
1. Laundromat [Side 1]
2. Just The Smile
3. I Fall Apart
4. Wave Myself Goodbye
5. Hands Up
6. Sinner Boy [Side 2]
7. For The Last Time
8. It's You
9. I'm Not Surprised
10. Can't Believe It's True
11. Gypsy Woman
12. It Takes Time
These two bonus tracks first appeared on the 1999
CD - two previously unreleased studio outtakes from the sessions
- rough and exciting covers of "Gypsy Woman" by Muddy Waters and
"It Takes Time" by Otis Rush.
The gatefold card sleeve
repros the black and white artwork of the original vinyl album (front and rear)
while the booklet is only slightly extended over the previous 1999 foldout
inlay (8 pages as opposed to 6). There are two extra photos of Rory, but
disappointingly the Donal Gallagher liner notes are exactly the same as before
(bar a few mistakes corrected). Both the picture beneath the see-through tray
and on the CD itself is the black and white Mick Rock photo used for the front
Although it has to be said
that the card digipak is nice - two new photos and the same essay is hardly
pushing the boat out in terms of anything new - but retailing at less than six
quid (and even cheaper online) - I'd say it's more than adequate. But while the
packaging might be underwhelming, the real fireworks comes in the sound
The initial discs were
'remixed and remastered' by Tony Arnold at Courthouse Facilities in Dorset -
these are 'untampered' versions remastered by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM at
Wired Masters in the UK in November 2011 (55:12 minutes total playing time).
Andy and Matt have been involved in and received praise for remasters of Black
Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Frankie Miller, Wishbone Ash and The Kinks. For these
reissues the original 1/4 master tapes have been returned to - therefore giving
the fans the album Rory himself would have approved rather than the slightly
'altered' preceding version. The results are really great...
If I was to use one word to
describe this remaster it would be 'fresh' - everything somehow sounds new -
clean, present, none too trebled up the nines - and it's easy to hear why Donal
and Daniel Gallagher (Rory's nephew) would want these new versions in the
marketplace. While the guitars of the
opener are in your face (and for all the right reasons) - the harmonica in the
background of "Laundromat" is still part of the mix - it's not rammed
out front for effect - nicely handled - don't mess with the original. The Bass
is so sweet now on "Sinner Boy" as the guitar pans from speaker to
speaker in the solo (lyrics above). In fact his backing band of GERRY McAVOY on
Bass and WILGAR CAMPBELL on Drums and Percussion can be heard 'so' clearly on
every track - very impressively transferred. VINCENT CRANE of Atomic Rooster
and Arthur Brown fame puts in superb keyboard work on two tracks - "Wave
Myself Goodbye" and "I'm Not Surprised".
The long mid-tempo Blues of
"For The Last Time" has been a huge favourite of mine for decades now
- I've put in on loads of 70's Fest compilations as an example of an unfairly
forgotten nugget. The guitar solo at the end of the track is beautifully clear.
The witty and languid "Wave Myself Goodbye" sounds fabulous too. But
the sonic-best has to be the last two album cuts - the acoustic Fats Domino
R'n'B of "I'm Not Surprised" and the John Coltrane jazz-influenced
seven-minutes of "Can't Believe It's True" where Rory puts in rare
Alto Sax playing (double-tracked). The last in particular makes for an odd
Gallagher listening experience (he was experimenting) but a great one
nonetheless - and I'd forgotten how good his guitar work is towards the end as
he harmonics his way to the final fade.
Originally released May 1971
on Polydor 2383 048 in the UK and Atco SD 33-368 in the USA (with all tracks
self-penned and also self-produced) - his unflashy debut didn't make the top 50
in either country for the 23-year old and has always been hard to find on
original vinyl ever since. The British original in particular (some 40 years
after the event) has become increasingly expensive in Auctions (much like the
TASTE studio albums from 1969 and 1970). So this budget-priced CD with nice
packaging and even nicer sound is a great way of acquiring a rarity at a very
Like most Irishmen, I can't
be rational about Rory Gallagher. I saw him and his band as a teenager live in
Dublin in the early Seventies and the experience was mind-blowing. I then
bought every album he put out after that for years to come and always looked
forward to hearing where his flying fingers would go to next.
Rory was sadly lost to us in
1995 through liver failure - and it still hurts to think that this most
unassuming and brilliant of guitar heroes is gone. He's up there now as far as
I'm concerned - talking the Blues with all the greats. And I for one will be
buying the rest of these reissues with a sense of excitement and affection.
The Eleven Titles in the 2012
RORY GALLAGHER Remasters Series
CD Digipaks, Downloads and 'Music
On Vinyl' LPs:
16 January 2012 CD DIGIPAK and DOWNLOAD:
1. "Rory Gallagher"
(May 1971 debut) – released January 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88691917352 (Barcode 886919173529)
(November 1971 2nd studio LP) – released January 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy
88691917372 (Barcode 886919173727)
3. "Live! In
Europe" (May 1972 1st Live LP) – released January 2012 on
Sony/Capo/Legacy 88691917432 (Barcode 886919174328)
(February 1973, 3rd studio album) – released January 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy
88691917452 (Barcode 886919174526)
5. "Tattoo" (November
1973, 4th studio album) – released January 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88691917462
6. "Irish Tour '74" (July 1974, 2nd Live Set, 2LPs
onto 1CD) – released January 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88691917472 (Barcode 886919174724)
27 February 2012 VINYL:
1 to 6 above also released 27
February 2012 on Limited Edition 180-gram vinyl versions on the "Music On
24 September 2012 CD DIGIPAK and
7. "Against The Grain"
(October 1975, 5th studio album) – released September 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy
88725461492 (Barcode 887254614920)
8. "Calling Card"
(August 1976, 6th studio album) – released September 2012 on
Sony/Capo/Legacy 88725461472 (Barcode 887254614722)
(October 1978, 7th studio album) – released September 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy
88725461462 (Barcode 887254614623)
10. "Top Priority"
(September 1979, 8th studio album) – released September 2012 on
Sony/Capo/Legacy 88725461452 (Barcode 88725461452)
11. "Jinx" (April
1982) – released September 2012 on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88725461432 (Barcode 887254614326)
22 October 2012 VINYL:
7 to 11 above also released 22
October 2012 on Limited Edition 180-gram vinyl versions on the "Music On
PS: Most of the eleven above have been reissued since
2012 in standard jewel cases but have different catalogue numbers and barcodes.
The jewel case version of "Deuce" for instance is Barcode 886919369625 and has the restored artwork, picture CD and expanded booklet of the 2012 issue. So if you want the 'digipak' repro
artwork versions – use the Barcodes provided above when ordering...