Rory Gallagher - vocals, guitars, harmonica; Gerry McAvoy - bass; Ted McKenna - drums, percussion
Rory Gallagher never attained the international recognition of Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck, but he was every bit as good a blues guitarist while in his prime. Gallagher was one of the early Irish exports of the late 60s and early 70s, and though his star was considerably brighter in the UK, he did see several good years as a touring act in the USA. This show was the complete late set, captured at the legendary Bottom Line club in New York City for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio concert series, in November of 1978.
Gallagher had returned to his power trio lineup of bass, drums and guitar for this tour, after several years of touring with a keyboardist as well. Long time bassist Gerry McAvoy is still on board, and he and Gallagher are joined by drummer Ted McKenna, who had previously played with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
After a blistering performance during the show's sound check, Gallagher launches into "Shin Kicker," a rhythmic romp that sets the tone (both figuratively and sonically) for what ends up to be an amazing set of British blues rock (even though Gallagher, being Irish, would likely take exception). Early in the show, Gallagher dives into the concert favorite "Garbage Man," a slow blues number, which is a showcase for both his edgy vocals and biting guitar style. Up-tempo tracks like "Secret Agent" (not the same song made famous in the 1960s by Johnny Rivers) act like a speedball injection, giving the audience a reason to get up off their seats and cheer him on.
Gallagher switches to acoustic guitar for "Out On The Western Plain," which allows him to sing a delta-blues styled tale of the Old West. Musically, it is right in the same league as something Leo Kottke or John Fahey might do. "Too Much Alcohol" is played in a similar style; it features Gallagher alone on dobro, performing with a bottle neck slide. For the end of the show, he reverts back to his better known blues rockers, such as "Tattoo'd Lady," and his version of the Buddy Guy / Junior Wells classic, "Messin' With The Kid."
Gallagher made a name for himself in 1969 with the band Taste, who recorded three albums before splitting in 1971. Gallagher recorded several solo albums between 1971 and 1991, but also is noted for his session work on the legendary Muddy Waters - the London Sessions album, released on Chess Records. Sadly, he died after receiving a liver transplant in 1995 at the age of 47.
Not long after this show, Gallagher's brand of blues rock fell out of favor with radio programmers, and like artists such as Robin Trower and Steve Marriott, he had to focus on a smaller, but fiercely loyal, following. Although he never received the worldwide recognition of Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, he certainly deserves to be remembered for the many excellent albums and tours he had during his career.