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Thursday, August 28, 2014

NEWS: Rory Gallagher's Irish Tour '74 released in 8-disc deluxe package

RORY Gallagher is a legend, a man who could make his guitar weep with the blues, rock out with dirty sounds from his battered strat, and revive the American folk legacy with peerless acoustic.

And, Rory had a strong affinity with Belfast, almost his adopted home.

In December 1973 Rory defied the ongoing troubles, and just five days after three people were killed in a bomb explosion and with the Sunningdale Peace Agreement floundering Gallagher played Belfast to kick off an Irish tour that has rightly been dubbed legendary.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the tour an expanded deluxe edition is being released on October 20th.

While some highlights never released, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings edition contains all three shows in an eight disc, 10" box set, including 43 unreleased tracks, remastered audio, photos, liner notes, a feature length documentary and much more.

Reflecting on his reasons in continually playing at the heart of Northern Ireland while it was an almost a ghost town each night Rory said:  “I see no reason for not playing Belfast. Kids still live here.” And, he did with Gerry McAvoy (bass), Rod De’ath (drums) and Lou Martin (keys).

Acclaimed filmmaker Tony Palmer was drafted in to document the tour. More than aware of the socio-political situation in the North of the country at the time and Rory’s refusal to be drawn on either side of the argument, Palmer knew "this [was] a very interesting proposition".

"Rory was at pains to point out he wasn’t active in any sense politically" Palmer recounts, but felt very strongly that he should be allowed to play both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"I don’t want to make a movie with any political content but it will be self evident," said Gallagher.

 Both the Dublin and Cork shows also feature heavily on the subsequent documentary but it was Rory’s dignified but defiant impartial stance in Belfast that helped make this recording such a watershed moment for Rory’s legions of devoted fans.

The performances, for those that were there, and those who saw the snatches of the documentary - or subsequent Belfast dates - were peerless. No studio tricks, no over-the-top fx, and no overdubs.

Gerry McAvoy recalled Rory and the band's affinity with Belfast:

“Rory loved Belfast.  Just loved it.  Anytime we hit the stage after 1971 you were aware that, apart from the odd cabaret turn at the Abercorn [site of a 1972 bomb blast killing two and injuring 130], none of the bigger bands would come back to play Belfast, it was starved of music.

"Obviously after The Miami Showband tragedy it just got worse. We’re professionals. We play as well as we could wherever we played but it was a special situation in Belfast, something you could never acquire or attain at any other gig.”

Gavin Martin from Blues Magazine said: “Rory Gallagher brought hope and musical inspiration to his war-torn spiritual hometown of Belfast.

“It was within the walls of the venue on ‘bomb alley’ that the tender-hearted, soft-spoken, dogged determination and captivating presence of Ireland’s guitar warrior poet and people’s hero found
its fullest flowering. While Ulster teetered towards the brink, Rory’s rock hit with righteous affirmation.”
For Ray Hollingworth of Melody Maker the unifying power of Gallaghrer was emotionally charged.

“I've never seen anything quite so wonderful, so stirring, so uplifting, so joyous as when Gallagher and the band walked on stage.

"The whole place erupted, they all stood and they cheered and they yelled, and screamed, and they put their arms up, and they embraced. Then as one unit they put their arms into the air and gave peace signs.

"Without being silly, or overemotional, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. It all meant something, it meant more than just rock n' roll, it was something bigger, something more valid than just that.”

The full - and we mean full - tracklist is below:

Disc 1 & 2
Cork (5th of January 1974)
  1. Messin’ With The Kid*
  2. Cradle Rock
  3. I Wonder Who
  4. Tattoo’d Lady
  5. Walk On Hot Coals
  6. Laundromat*
  7. A Million Miles Away
  8. Hands Off*
  9. Too Much Alcohol
  10. As The Crow Flies
  11. Pistol Slapper Blues*
  12. Unmilitary Two-Step*
  13. Bankers Blues*
  14. Going To My Hometown*
  15. Who’s That Coming
  16. In Your Town*

Disc 3 & 4
Dublin (2nd of January 1974)
  1. Cradle Rock*
  2. Tattoo’d Lady*
  3. Hands Off*
  4. Walk On Hot Coals*
  5. Laundromat*
  6. Too Much Alcohol*
  7. A Million Miles Away*
  8. As The Crow Flies*
  9. Pistol Slapper Blues*
  10. Bankers Blues*
  11. Unmilitary Two-Step*
  12. Going To My Hometown*
  13. In Your Town*
  14. Bullfrog Blues*

Disc 5 & 6
Belfast (29th of December 1973)
  1. Messin’ With The Kid*
  2. Cradle Rock*
  3. I Wonder Who*
  4. Tattoo’d Lady*
  5. Walk On Hot Coals*
  6. Hands Off*
  7. A Million Miles Away*
  8. Laundromat*
  9. As The Crow Flies*
  10. Pistol Slapper Blues*
  11. Unmilitary Two-Step*
  12. Bankers Blues*
  13. Going To My Hometown*
  14. Who’s That Coming*
  15. In Your Town*
  16. Bullfrog Blues*

Disc 7
City Hall in Session (3rd of January 1974)
  1. Maritime (The Edgar Lustgarden Cut)
  2. I Want You  / Raunchy Medley*
  3. Treat Her Right
  4. I Wonder Who*
  5. Too Much Alcohol*
  6. Just A Little Bit
  7. I Can’t Be Satisfied*
  8. Acoustic Medley*
  9. Back On My Stompin' Ground (After Hours)
  10. Stompin’ Ground (Alt version)

 Disc 8 (DVD)
The Tony Palmer directed documentary Irish Tour ’74
(courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment)
 * Previously unreleased
 Irish Tour ’74 Expanded Deluxe Edition is available to pre-order now at  http://smarturl.it/RoryGallagher


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