Sunday, 17 April 2016

"Irish Tour ’74: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set" by RORY GALLAGHER (2014 Sony/Capo/Legacy/Eagle Records 7CD and 1DVD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"…And Your Cradle Will Rock…" 

Rory Gallagher fans the world over will be licking their lips on this one. And with 7CDs, a feature-length DVD and a stonking 44 Previously Unreleased tracks (Live and Studio) - we'd best get to a tour of this fantastic celebration right away...

UK released 20 October 2014 - "Irish Tour '74: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Box Set" by RORY GALLAGHER on Sony/Capo/Legacy/Eagle Records 88875004882 (Barcode 888750048820) is a 7CD/1DVD 'Deluxe Edition' Box set and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1, CORK CITY HALL, 3rd and 5 January 1974 (74:06 minutes):
1. Messin' With The Kid
2. Cradle Rock
3. I Wonder Who (Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man)
4. Tattoo'd Lady
5. Walk On Hot Coals
6. Laundromat
7. A Millions Miles Away
8. Hands Off
9. Too Much Alcohol
Tracks 1, 6 and 8 are Previously Unreleased

Disc 2, as per 1 (48:40 minutes):
1. As The Crow Flies
2. Pistol Slapper Blues
3. Unmilitary Two-Step
4. Banker's Blues
5. Going To My Hometown
6. Who's That Comin'
7. In Your Town
Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 are Previously Unreleased - "Banker's Blues" is a Big Bill Broonzy cover

Disc 3, DUBLIN CARLTON CINEMA, 2 January 1974 (55:11 minutes):
1. Cradle Rock
2. Tattoo'd Lady
3. Hands Off
4. Walk On Hot Coals
5. Laundromat
6. Too Much Alcohol
7. A Million Miles Away
Tracks 1 to 7 all Previously Unreleased

Disc 4, as per 3 (52:29 minutes):
1. As The Crow Flies
2. Pistol Slapper Blues
3. Banker's Blues
4. Unmilitary Two-Step
5. Going To My Hometown
6. In Your Town
7. Bullfrog Blues
Tracks 1 to 8 are all Previously Unreleased

Disc 5, BELFAST ULSTER HALL, 28 and 29 December 1973 (58:18 minutes):
1. Messin' With The Kid
2. Cradle Rock
3. I Wonder Who (Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man)
4. Tattoo'd Lady
5. Walk On Hot Coals
6. Hands Off
7. A Million Miles Away
8. Laundromat
Tracks 1 to 8 are all Previously Unreleased

Disc 6, as per 5 (58:00 minutes):
1. As The Crow Flies
2. Pistol Slapper Blues
3. Unmilitary Two-Step
4. Banker's Blues
5. Going To My Hometown
6. Who's That Comin'
7. In Your Town
8. Bullfrog Blues
Tracks 1 to 8 are all Previously Unreleased

Disc 7, CITY HALL IN SESSION, 4 January 1974 (50:11 minutes):
1. Maritime (The Edgar Lustgarden Cut) - 2:32 minutes
2. I Want You/Raunchy Medley - 3:50 minutes
3. Treat Her Right - 4:11 minutes
4. I Wonder Who - 5:58 minutes
5. Too Much Alcohol - 7:01 minutes
6. Just A Little Bit - 8:17 minutes
7. I Can't Be Satisfied - 4:08 minutes
8. Acoustic Medley - 1:29 minutes
9. Back On My Stompin' Ground (After Hours) - 6:13 minutes
10. Stompin' Ground (Alternate Version) - 6:32 minutes
Tracks 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 are Previously Unreleased STUDIO tracks
Tracks 1, 3 and 10 have appeared on Expanded CDs of
Tracks 6 and 9 are Side 4 of the original double-album

Using the following three CDs - you can sequence the July 1974 ORIGINAL VINYL DOUBLE-ALBUM on Polydor 2659 031 as follows:

Side 1 (Live):
1. Cradle Rock [Disc 1/Track 2]
2. I Wonder Who (Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man) [Disc 1/Track 3]
3. Tattoo'd Lady [Disc 1/Track 4]
Side 2 (Live):
4. Too Much Alcohol [Disc 1/Track 9]
5. As The Crow Flies [Disc 2/Track 1]
6. A Million Miles Away [Disc 1/Track 7]
Side 3 (Live):
7. Walk On Hot Coals [Disc 1/Track 5]
8. Who's That Comin' [Disc 2/Track 6]
Side 4 (Studio):
9. Back On My (Stompin' Ground) [Disc 7/Track 9]
10. Just A Little Bit [Disc 7/Track 6]
[NOTE: the famous "Ladies And Gentlemen - Rory Gallagher!" intro by a Cork Man on Side 1 now comes 'before' "Messin' With The Kid" on Disc 1 instead of "Cradle Rock" like it did on the original double-album. But when you cut to Track 2 "Cradle Rock" on the CD - that intro isn't there anymore (which feels a little odd)]

Disc 8, DVD, The Tony Palmer Directed Documentary "Irish Tour '74", REGION 0, NTSC, 171 Minutes (Courtesy Of Eagle Rock Entertainment)

The Box Set is 10" x 10" and mimics the original 'silver' album cover with a pasted on page on the rear (falls off easily so I'd put this is a protective plastic soonest - in fact the whole set is a little flimsy so be careful with it). The 16-page oversized booklet has an introduction by Rory's brother (and keeper of the flame) DONAL GALLAGHER with further liner notes from GAVIN MARTIN referencing the difficulty in getting the Northern Ireland shows booked, played and filmed. There are photos from the gigs, in studio sessions, Melody Maker Magazine appraisal of the shows (Roy Hollingworth's famously passionate review), a Belfast City ticket stub (value at £1.25!), tape boxes and reissue credits. The three-way fold out digipak inside features fantastic colour photos on all three venues on both the flaps and matching CDs. It's very tastefully done. But the best news is of course the improved audio. MARTIN DUBKA did the Mixing with ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM doing the Remasters and even on the lo-fi tracks where there's amps humming and crowd noises - the `presence' is fantastic. To universal praise - this duo handled the 2012 remasters of Rory's Polydor and Chrysalis albums - and the same plaudits apply here.

As many fans had suspected - although the inner gatefold of the original 2LP set states that tracks were used from Cork, Dublin and Belfast - this box set finally confirms that only the 'Cork' show was used. And having been in the audience at the Dublin show on 2 January 1974 - I suppose I can now hear my lovely larynx in there in the crowd somewhere - beaming like a fool and shaking my head like everyone else...

Before we get into the abundance of live stuff - let's talk about the STUDIO stuff on Disc 7. Fans will notice that only 5 of the 10 tracks are marked with a Previously Unreleased Asterisk. That leaves five unaccounted for. Well two are Side 4 of the album ("Back On My Stompin' Ground (After Hours)" and "Just A Little Bit") as mentioned above - but the other three require explanation. When fans bought the 1998 Da Capo CD remaster of "Irish Tour '74" - to their amazement they found that the last track of the album "Just A Little Bit" had been replaced by something called "Maritime" (the name of a bar in Belfast both Rory and Van Morrison's Them used to play in). Even more infuriating for fans was to find out that this "Maritime" was an instrumental that lasted all of 33 seconds and was about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. The "Maritime (The Edgar Lustgarden Cut)" cut we now get on Disc 7 is 2:32 minutes long - but in all honesty - is just as disposable. The other two cuts are "Treat Her Right" - a cover version of a Roy Head track on Vee Jay Records and "Stompin' Ground (Alternate Take)" - both of which turned up as the two bonus tracks on the 2012 reissue of "Blueprint" (in itself remastered by Pearce and Wortham). Of the new stuff - the Medley cover versions of Dylan's "I Want You" and "Raunchy" by Bill Justis are good rather than great. But then we get the real deal - amazing versions of "I Wonder Who" and a 'electric' version of "Too Much Alcohol" that stretches to seven minutes. What a wow! His playing is just great on both (even if the tapes for "I Wonder Who" go a bit skewiff half way through). The slide version of Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied" is a bit thin sonically but it's still a blast of a listen (he just seemed to be on fire with the fluidity of his playing - like Johnny Winter at his best). The "Acoustic Medley" is short but lovely...and it ends with those great outtakes. Which brings us to the live stuff and the double album itself...

"Irish Tour '74" had its fair share of inspired cover version choices - "I Wonder Who" by Muddy Waters, "Too Much Alcohol" by J. B. Hutto, "As The Crow Flies" by Tony Joe White and "Just A Little Bit" by Rosco Gordon. Mix these in with some of Rory's best new material - "Cradle Rock" and "Walk On Hot Coals" - and right from the off - this Double just rocks like a mother. Fans will also notice that excluding "I Could've Had Religion" - the other 6 tracks of his other beloved set "Live! In Europe" are also on here - even in the same running order. There's also a political element hanging over the two BELFAST discs. With the 'Troubles' seeing off every band from the UK and elsewhere - Rory stood almost alone in playing that bombed out city. The roar of the crowd and the sense of occasion make the performance and response all the more alive - healing even. It's fantastic stuff. And after 40 years - I can now also hear myself amidst the mob in Dublin - what memories! The icing on the cake is the DVD (admittedly a bit low-fi in its definition) - but just as mesmerizing to see the visual accompany the audio.

As the years go by - his legend only grows - and gets rediscovered (like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Tommy Bolin). Rory Gallagher was lost to us in 1995 - but his genius playing and especially his generous spirit live on in this wonderful reissue. At a time when Ireland (in all its counties) needed him - he was there for us - and that's speaks volumes of this gentle giant...

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is CLASSIC 1970s ROCK - an E-Book with over 260 entries and 2450 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 

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