Rory Gallagher was a legendary Irish blues rocker who developed a live following, thanks, in part, to his most successful record being a live album recorded during his 1974 tour of Ireland. Irish Tour ‘74 was both a commercial and critical success, as it documented Gallagher at the height of his power, and showed that he was a masterful live musician who knew how to deliver the goods. To celebrate, a massive box set containing three live shows and a live DVD was released, expanding the classic album and serving as a smorgasbord for the Gallagher fan. As hearty a presentation that may be, Eagle Rock wisely recognized that it might be a bit much for the non-obsessive, and have released the entire recording of his performance at Cork, which constituted the majority of the original album.
For those of you—like yours truly—who aren’t really knowledgeable about Gallagher, this is an excellent place to start. The two disc set here is just downright powerful, an electrifying recording of a red-hot musician at the peak of his powers. Gallagher had a way of making his guitar talk to you, telling you all about its player’s sins and transgressions. The audience is totally into the show; dig the wonderful audience participation on “Too Much Alcohol” and “Pistol Slapper Blues.” Dig, too, the downright sick guitars on “Cradle Rock” and “Who’s That Coming.” When he slows things down on “Banker’s Blues” and “A Million Miles Away,” your heart just burns with him, and you can feel his pain.
Gallagher, who passed away in 1995, was an excellent bluesman and one helluva performer. The Irish Tour ’74 sets help to remind you of that, and help to keep the man’s legacy alive. Go for the two-disc set if you’re not already a fan, and if you are—dive in!