Irish Tour

Rory Gallagher

I.R.S. Records, 1974

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Rory Gallagher is becoming a forgotten guitar god. During his lifetime, the Irish guitarist sold in excess of 30 million albums and developed a rabid following, especially in Europe. His untimely death during 1995, at the age of 47, cut short the career of one one the better guitarists of the last three decades of the 20th century.

After playing in a number of bands as a teenager, he formed The Taste during 1966. It was a rock/blues power trio and brought Gallagher some commercial success and attention. During the early 1970’s, he embarked upon a solo career which lasted until his death.

During the 1970’s and beyond, Ireland was a hotbed of political and religious unrest. Despite the inherent dangers, Gallagher would tour in his native country at least once every year. This would make him a huge star in Ireland, a status he would keep for the rest of his life.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Irish Tour has appeared a number of times since it was originally issued during 1974. It now returns in a pristine form. The sound is far superior to the original release. The production team has literally worked miracles with the now 35-plus year old tapes.

His 1974 tour was during the relatively short time period when he carried a keyboardist to augment his basic power trio. His accompanying musicians at the time were drummer Rod de’Ath, bassist Gerry McAvoy, and keyboardist Lou Martin.

Gallagher always had something of the smoky and sweaty lounge singer in him. Whether it was blues/ rock fusion, straight blues, or boogie rock, he always performed hard and for the audience. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a release seem authentic. Here, while playing “Going To My Home Town,” he breaks a string on his mandolin but carries on.

He gives two of his own songs an extended workout with a lot of guitar improvisation along the way. “Tatoo’d Lady” and “A Million Miles Away” prove that he could create blues songs as well as cover them.

Tracks such as “Walk On Hot Coals,” “Who’s That Coming,” “As The Crow Flies,” “Hands Off,” and “Back On My Stompin’ Ground (After Hours)” present his acoustic side, plus find him boogieing into the night.

Irish Tour was one of Gallagher’s most commercially successful albums, selling over two million copies worldwide. It was also issued as a film, Irish Tour ’74, which has been reissued in conjunction with this release.

Gallagher was always more adept live on stage than within the confines of the studio. Irish Tour is a fine introduction to one of rock’s oft-forgotten guitar superstars.

Rating: A-

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