Rory Gallagher - vocals, guitars, harp; Gerry McAvoy - bass; Ted McKenna - drums, percussion
Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher was in peak form when this energetic and highly entertaining set was recorded at the legendary Bottom Line club in New York City in the fall of 1978. Gallagher had been on the European music scene for nearly a decade (and a viable name in the U.S. for almost six years) when he blew into the Big Apple for his first NY show in almost two years.
Gallagher had returned to his power trio line up of bass, drums and guitar for this tour, after several years touring with a keyboardist, in a quartet format. Long-time bassist Gerry McAvoy was still on board, and he and Gallagher were joined by drummer Ted McKenna, previously a member with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. For this set, Gallagher warmed up with "Shin Kicker," a rocking-blues romp that encompasses the best elements of UK blues movement. "Garbage Man," a slow blues number that was an obvious crowd pleaser, follows soon after and leads the way into "Secret Agent," one of Gallagher's best known rockers (although not the same 60s pop song originally recorded by Johnny Rivers).
This was the first show he played that night, and while it lacked some of the surprises of the second show, it still contained plenty of evidence of Gallagher being of the premier talent of his generation. "Moonchild," "Roberta" and as well as a tasty re-make of the classic Frankie Ford hit, "Sea Cruise," are all good examples of why Rory Gallagher was an exciting showman. But it is on "Bullfrog Blues," where Gallagher kicks into hyper-drive -- his guitar/vocal interplay is simply astounding. For the end of the show, he reverts back to his better know blues rockers, such as his arrangement of the Buddy Guy/Junior Wells classic, "Messing With the Kid."
Gallagher first made a name for himself in 1969 with the band Taste. They recorded three albums before splitting in 1971. Gallagher recorded several solo albums between 1971 and 1991, but also is noted for his work on the legendary London Sessions album by blues icon, Muddy Waters, released on Chess Records in 1972. Sadly, he died after receiving a liver transplant in 1995, at the age of 47. Not long after this show, his brand of blues-rock fell out of favor with radio programmers, and like artists such as Robin Trower or Steve Marriott, Gallagher had to focus on a smaller, but fiercely loyal, following.