Friday, May 22, 2009

Blues Rock Guitar Devotees Will Have The Luck Of The Irish With Rory Gallagher's 'Live In Cork'

Rory Gallagher
Live In Cork (DVD)
Eagle Rock

Review by Nightwatcher

"The man who got me back into the blues" - Eric Clapton on Rory Gallagher

Finally available in the U.S. after being issued on DVD in Europe several years back, 'Live In Cork' captures the late, great Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher in a rousing sold out performance originally filmed for TV airing at the Cork Opera House in his hometown in 1986.

Known not only for his legendary guitar skills, but for putting on an incredible live show, this shows Gallagher and band in good light as they power through classic after classic. Ably assisted by longtime bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummer Brendan O' Neill, with Mark Feltham, notably also with UK blues band Nine Below Zero on blues harp, they play lean and mean from start to finish. While Rory isn't as intense here as he was in the 70's, the music certainly doesn't suffer. It's only by raising the bar so high earlier in his career that a slightly lesser comparison can be made. This may not rate as the ultimate performance, but a mere extremely good show from this battered Strat wielding bluesman still wipes the floor with the majority of the competition.

Ranging from the smoldering, hard rocking originals "Follow Me", "Shadow Play" and "Tattoo'd Lady" to the simmering grooves of "Ain't No Saint", pure Chicago blues ( via a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me To Talkin') to acoustic blues such as a cover of Leadbelly's "Out On The Western Plain" the band simply cooks, with the guitarist giving a sweltering 13 track, 78 minute master clinic on all what is right in the history of blues rock guitar.

Besides the performance, the package, while full screen, has admirable sound both in 2.0 stereo and 5.1 Surround, and the video quality is quite good despite being filmed over two decades past. While there is some fading, and there are some slight tracers suggestive of the gel cameras which were popular in the 80's, but they're not of the red variety such as on U2's 'Under A Blood Red Sky', so they're none too obtrusive nor distracting.

There are some nice extras in the virtual tour of Cork, with info given on the music store where Gallagher purchased his first guitar and other landmarks, to give one a flavor of what influenced the young musician growing up. A memorabilia section with newspaper and magazine clippings, a discography and a photo gallery is included also, and while a commentary would have been nice, it's not essential, and what is here makes this a very well rounded offering. Lovingly compiled by brother Donal, who supplied the text of the booklet which accompanies the disc, this is top notch all around.

Revered by musicians ranging from Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Brian May and Slash to modern day devotees Joe Bonamassa and young up and comers The Answer and Ryan McGarvey, there's good reason Gallagher has a statue erected and a street named after him not only in his hometown, but also in Paris : It's the fact his talent was so transcendent and mesmerizing it has reached throughout the decades to touch the souls and hearts of disciples and soon to be converted devotees to the present day.

While he may have passed from this world at the all too young age of 47 following complications from a nearly successful liver transplant in 1995, the music contained on this DVD goes a long way towards showing why he's still, and will continue to be considered one of the finest to ever pick up the instrument. Pick this one up without hesitation, but be sure to grab as many Rory Gallagher albums and videos that you can. Trust me, you'll be thankful you did. Highly recommended. 9/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why the HELL isn't Rory in the rock & roll hall of fame?!!!

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