Rory Gallagher - Ghost Blues DVD

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Rory Gallagher - Ghost Blues DVD

Postby blueswriter » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:01 am

There are more reviews coming this week. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for this... ;)


Rory Gallagher
Ghost Blues - The Story Of Rory Gallgher & The Beat Club Sessions
Eagle Vision (2010) EV 303189

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2 DVD set, 179 minutes. Highly recommended. Like many of the great blues artists Rory Gallagher (pronounced Galla-her) admired and paid tribute to during his lifetime, his popularity around the globe has increased dramatically since his death. With the very recent release of Ghost Blues, the first fully-authorized story, it’s a safe bet that Rory’s notoriety will indeed be on the rise again. This fantastic double-DVD set is an eye-opening look at the life and all-too-short musical journey of Ireland’s favorite son. Disc one is a jam-packed, professionally filmed and produced 80-minute documentary that begins with Gallagher’s birth, ironically at Ballyshannon’s Rock Hospital in 1948 (a closer look from an editing standpoint would have picked up the mistake of quoting his birth year as 1949 in the intro), and ends with his death in 1995 at the all-too-young age of forty-seven. Like most documentaries, there’s a large number of well-known talking noggins scattered across the disc as Rory’s brother Donal, Bob Geldof (Boomtowwn Rats), U2’s The Edge, Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe, former Rolling Stone’s bassist Bill Wyman and many others discuss Gallagher’s enormous talent, his love of blues and much more. While Rory’s star was undoubtedly on the rise very early in his career, it was the forming of his short-lived band, Taste, in the late-1960s that firmly cemented his reputation as a no-holds-barred blues rocker to be reckoned with. Taste may have lasted only a bit longer than two years, but following two officially-released albums, a brief U.S. tour opening for Blind Faith and a now-legendary performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, there was little question that Rory was headed for fame. Also highlighted are the little-known facts that Mick Jagger and company courted Gallagher for a short time, hoping to add him to the roster of The Rolling Stones, and the time Rory sabotaged months of work by throwing away the results of what was to be one of his studio albums. There’s plenty of rare footage, including snippets of Taste in action and other concerts showing Gallagher in top form, along with interview excerpts where Rory talks briefly about working with luminaries like Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters and Albert King. Of the many notable quotes in the documentary portion of this set, Bob Geldof perfectly described Rory’s dedication and determination by saying, “(he) always struck me as a priest with long hair… he could have been in a seminary, except his chalice was his guitar and his prayers were the blues.”

Disc two of Ghost Blues highlights three separate made-for-television appearances by Rory Gallagher and his new band at The Beat Club in Germany shortly after he spearheaded what was to become an incredible solo career. Filmed in 1971-72 when he was just into his early-twenties, this is an amazing look at just how potent and powerful an artist he was, qualities he thankfully carried with him to the end. Full of youthful swagger and the testosterone to match, Gallagher blazes roughshod through blues-infused rockers like Laundromat, Sinnerboy, Used To Be, In Your Town and Crest Of A Wave. He had the maturity even at a young age to occasionally slow the pace for some more-than-memorable acoustic efforts, including Just The Smile, Pistol Slapper Blues, I Don’t Know Where I’m Going and Going To My Hometown, which displays some fine mandolin work. Rory also manages plenty of time for some straight-ahead blues with Should’ve Learned My Lesson, I Could’ve Had Religion and Hoodoo Man standing out, working his familiar battered Stratocaster and a pair of less-often seen Telecasters. No less interesting, but with a little more fuel, Toredown and Messin’ With The Kid are also superb. And as many will know, Gallagher was a phenomenal guitarist whether playing slide or standard, and the evidence for those unfamiliar is all here. This previously unreleased footage from The Beat Club has certainly held up well over the past three-plus decades. Audio and video quality are excellent over the entire 179 minutes of the two-DVD set. Instead of what could have been informative liner notes explaining how the Beat Club performances came to pass, along with the actual dates of the tapings and a much-needed written biography, there's a six-page foldout consisting of little more than various clippings from trade papers and magazines. But this is a minor quibble pointed out only for consumers (this reviewer included) who had hoped for some extensive reading material.

For those lucky enough to have seen Rory Gallagher in his prime, Ghost Blues will prove a stunning reminder to his expansive repertoire and talents as a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. For those never fortunate to enough to have witnessed the Irish wonder over his career, it’s a wonderful look at the man and the energy he put forth in every performance. It matters not whether you’re a staunch supporter of pure blues, blues-rock, powerful rock n’ roll, or blues-influenced Celtic tunes, Rory Gallagher generated plenty of interest for any fan of roots-based music. He’s sadly missed, but his legacy lives on and grows steadily. Hats off to Eagle Vision for another astounding look at Ireland’s favorite son!

Official Rory Gallagher Website

© 2010 by Craig Ruskey
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Re: Rory Gallagher - Ghost Blues DVD

Postby mikedev » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:35 pm

As someone who was lucky enough to see Rory several times in the late 60's I shall certainly look out for this!

Anyone interested in listening to Rory for the first time I'd recomend any of these:

Live at the BBC
Live in Europe
Irish Tour

Good in the studio, but great live!
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