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The great blues guitarist have all become legends in their own right to me over the years. Whether playing heart wrenching lead, or scorching blues stomp riffs there is just something about blues guitar that says... "this is what it's all about, man," and I find that sentiment renewed every time I finally get to listen to an artist that I've heard about for so long, but just not gotten to listen to.
A few years ago it was the Iceman himself, Albert Collins who finally graced my ears... A few months ago it was Mr. Crying Guitar, Roy Buchanan... A few weeks ago it was the fiery texan Johnny Winter... Just a few days ago it was the often overlooked Ry Cooder... AND yesterday it was the player of what might be the most "loved" strat of all time, Rory Gallagher.
I've been saying for quite some time that I'd like to check out some of the music by this guitarist because I often hear him listed as an influence on so many blues players and guitarists in general and usually that means they're pretty good. So, yesterday I happened across a few videos on Youtube that just completely blew my mind and I'll certainly be checking out a few more clips of Rory Gallagher playing asap.
These two clips come from a show in 1980 in France. Both really struck me and feature some great, inspiring guitar work.
This first one is Rory playing "Off the Handle"
And the second is of "Bullfrog Blues" thanks to YouTube and moonrocket for both.
Although I think it's pretty obvious why these to clips struck me so much, I'll tell you some of the particulars.
On the first clip, I'm particularly fond of the way he plays the instrument... it's not precise, it's real, alive, authentic and raw...and I really like that for blues. Plus he makes great use of the controls for a variety of tones and even some crying guitar ala the before mentioned Roy Buchanan. The harmonics are crazy and reminds me a little of people like Jeff Beck and again Roy Buchanan and he just plays the heck out of that guitar... Overall just tremendously soulful guitar work with tons of passion for the music and a great rough edge that I really like.
That clip alone made me an instant Rory Gallagher Fan, but the second clip blows the lid of the place. Screeching fiery slide guitar work to create a rock and roll infused blues stomp that has the crowd going crazy... I mean look how into this performance they get and how Gallagher eggs them on. Talk about rock and roll and blues at it's finest Gallagher certainly has to be one of the best live performers I've ever seen.
If you're like me and unfortunately came to the late great Rory Gallagher late, you've got some catching up to do. Start with these clips and then go find all the music you can because he can certainly play some mean guitar, blues and rock and roll.
Why do some of the greatest musicians go unappreciated for so long? Who knows, I certainly wish I'd found this music far sooner... Just amazingly passionate, fun and rockin' through and through.