Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Illustrating the debt owed by B Springsteen to R Gallagher

It must have been, I don't know, 1972 that Rory Gallagher played in the Caledonian Hotel in Ayr. I was still at school in Troon and, having been bought the Taste album by my Uncle John, was a huge fan. I pined to go to that gig. But at 16 and with my highly religious parents (and conscience), rock music on licensed premises in the den of iniquity 10 miles down the coast was unthinkable.

So I never saw the great man play live. And until YouTube, my only glimpse on telly was (I think)a brief clip from the OGWT. But I've owned three copies of Live in Europe, the third greatest live album ever made (after Get Yer Ya-Yas Out and It's Too Late To Stop Now. The two songs that open the second side - Going To My Home Town/Back In Your town, still send shivers up and down my spine.

Now there's loads of bits and pieces of Rory on the net, and I'm off in a minute to see if I can find an 'Irish Tour' DVD on eBay. The clip here is just unbelievable - no security, no stage, some mad climbing on amps, and suddenly, you see where Springsteen (who certainly knew about Taste and Gallagher, especially during his power trio days with Steel Mill) got some of his stage moves. The same sense of utter commitment, too.

Rory died in 1995, aged 47, of MRSA contracted in hospital after a liver transplant. He had been unwell for a long time, the result of long-term alcohol abuse and, it's said, the use of prescription drugs to combat a fear of flying.


Nick Clayton said...

Eat your heart out Tom. I saw the man numerous times in the early 1970s, first of all with Taste when they played our school dance. (I was too young to get in so saw the gig from an unusual angle - a skylight above the stage!)

Taste's 'On The Boards' was one of my favourite LPs as a teenager, but I must say that it hasn't weathered as well as his solo stuff. I know what you mean about Springsteen by the way. I also think of Jeff Beck in the same sort of light. Must be the lumberjack shirts...

Unknown said...

Fantastic footage.

Look out at about 2 mins 55 secs - is that Cliff Richard in the audience??

Big Jimbo said...

As i've mentioned to you before Tom, we ran a bus from Ardrossan academy to see Rory at The Kelvin Hall around 1971 / 72. Great night it was too. my first real gig. Still got the ticket all £1 worth. As i lived in North Ayrshire and on the coast we recieved Ulster TV instead of Scottish so Taste and Rory were on quite a lot. Wouldnt argue with you about 'Live in Europe' still sounds great.

SpeyBayTim said...

I can still remember the day my big brother brought "Blueprint" home and played it for the first time on the music centre. Totally blew me away. Unfortunately I never got to see the man live (or at least not that I remember) but thanks to the power of t'internet you could almost be there. Thanks for guiding us in the right direction.