"that book"

Do you read me, well won't you tell me? If you read me, then please believe me, when I say

Re: "that book"

Postby Annie Elliott » 13 Sep 2015, 03:28

I've always defended Gerry's right to express his side of the story, unfortunately there is so much in his book that is inaccurate. And some things that are so hurtful.

Since there will probably never be another edition of Riding Shotgun, here are a couple of corrections I've seen here and there:
Rory did indeed go to his father's funeral, in fact he paid for it.
Rory paid for Gerry's honeymoon and bought him a house.

Anybody know of others?

I hope Donal's book comes out sooner rather than later. It would obviously be the definitive on Rory and hopefully he can correct many of the mistakes in Gerry's story.
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Re: "that book"

Postby RobertaSparrow » 14 Sep 2015, 21:25

Annie Elliott wrote:I've always defended Gerry's right to express his side of the story, unfortunately there is so much in his book that is inaccurate. . .
Since there will probably never be another edition of Riding Shotgun, here are a couple of corrections I've seen here and there:
Rory did indeed go to his father's funeral, in fact he paid for it.
Rory paid for Gerry's honeymoon and bought him a house.

Anybody know of others? . . .


Yes. Oh yes.
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Re: "that book"

Postby M.felix » 08 Nov 2015, 04:32

:!: :roll: Read some book excerpt Gerry McAvoy and honestly do not understand why he wrote this book, it is clear that he did it for the money, however much we say no he did not see the mistakes, I do not believe he has not reviewed the book before publishing it I think he meant everything that's in the book, and do not agree on some things he talked and hyped as being underpaid and about not having credits on songs. I do not think quel he and Rory were such friends as he colaca in the book, logical that when you pass it very time with someone and especially on the road it creates linkages of friendship, but in his case and Rory I were friends but not intimate. But the book has it very interesting stories, if I had stayed only in telling the stories would have been better, it would not have been so butchered rather than exaggerate and make ridiculous comments without any basis. And on the Belgian model that Gerry talks in the book has a picture of her in the book and being honest I did not find it as "beautiful" as Gerry says, it is clear to me that it was Gerry who had an interest in it and not Rory with it insinuates, and in the book he does not say that she married and does not comment on Roland's reaction to what was going on inside your home (in the book he mentions that everyone knew what was going on) and on it there are rumors that it was not just Rory that she tried to seduce (as I said are rumors) and if true understand why she rejected
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Re: "that book"

Postby M.felix » 08 Nov 2015, 14:54

:P One more thing I forgot to talk , I know that many are ansios by Donal book and also really want to read the book Donal , but I think this does not happen is a shame because it just can clarify a lot, Donal to is people best known Rory and even he speaking in interviews was difficult to understand it , but remember that Donal great respect for his brother and also do not think he would like Gerry who used a ghost writer, in the case of Gerry was a mistake , and the way it is wait Donal take courage and resolve to write at once.
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Re: "that book"

Postby mattydredd » 26 Dec 2015, 12:08

I think Gerry would be the first to admit that he was very attracted to the lifestyle of the rock musician - women, wine, song, and so much more. In many ways he was coming from a totally different place as a person and a musician - just look at his Hawaiian shirts and haircut in the later 1970s, clashing with Rory's denim!

His book is a document of his experiences on the road as a touring musician, primarily as a bassist with the Rory Gallagher Band, and subsequently with Nine Below Zero. I doubt very much that the book was written just for money. At the time of its publication, the only book-length publication available on Rory was Jean-noel Coghe's 'Rory Gallagher: A Biography', which was more of a personal memoir than a researched history. Dan Muise had done some interesting research also, but only as part of a book on four 1970s guitarists (with Derringer, Trower and Marriott); further portraits by Mark Prendergast and Gerry Smyth in their respective surveys of Irish popular music were even more brief. No one had really stepped forward to fill the niche, and with the 10th anniversary of Gallagher's death immanent, I think McAvoy felt it was an apposite time to say his piece. His ghost-writer is described as a long-time Rory Gallagher fan and a bass player, so in important respects, the choice would have been justified.

I think 1950-60s Belfast was a more progressive place than the Ireland that Rory grew up in, which was still largely under the influence of a morally and socially conservative religious regime. Sexual liberation was well underway in Belfast during the 1960s, in tune with other cities in England and the US. I personally think Gerry could have been a bit more private with some of the details he gives about his sexual experiences. I personally don't want to know where he first got fellated. But that could be my Irish Catholic prudity peeping through.

He's perfectly entitled to his opinions and from what I recall, a majority of his recollections seem valid, humourous and, in most cases, measured. He seems like a hilarious bandmate, often prone to mischief, and being on the road with him would have been a lot of fun. It's evident that he admired Rory as a person, and he goes to great lengths to illuminate Rory's warmth, polite demeanour, love of music and of Ireland. The anecdote about Rory's encounter with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull is particularly telling in this regard.

In the book, Rory deservedly gets a lot of credit for his brilliant musicianship. Gerry would be the first to admit that he benefited directly from this, touring the world and recording with an internationally acclaimed musician at the top of his game. At the same time, however, a musician who could put his ego aside to the extent that Gerry was consistently able to do was a priceless asset to Rory. There were no set lists, at least in the early days; there were countless and continuous improvisational sections to negotiate as Rory's musical imagination wandered from place to place during a set. I've never seen a single piece of footage where McAvoy wasn't doing his absolute best to back up the G-man musically. There's never a cross word, a confused look or an angry stare as Gallagher flits from style to style, from piece to piece, or from song to song at a moment's notice. To me that says a lot about Gerry McAvoy's ongoing respect for his band leader.

No research has been done to date into Rory's songwriting and/or recording methods. It's almost impossible to establish how much input into the songwriting and recordings came from other band members. McAvoy states in the book that he approached Gallagher with songs and music, and he was turned down. In my opinion, that is probably true. Perhaps the songs weren't very good! He also notes that despite the group selling millions of albums and headlinig major tours, his wages were comparatively low. I think further research is needed to substantiate his claim, but I'm thinking it's probably true!

I feel that Rory's experiences with Taste taught him painful lessons about contracts, music publishing and copyrights. From what I can see, while he acknowledged all of the blues and folk artists whose works he covered, he remained very wary of crediting any of his bandmates' contributions. This lack of recognition could have been hurtful to his colleagues. Anyone who has done professional recordings will know that in the rock and blues rock tradition, this is always a collaborative process; all the musicians contribute in some way. So there is a case to be made about songwriting credits, at least until that process has been researched more fully.

Rory was a very private man, and rarely talked about his personal relationships to anyone. I guess that could have been difficult for his bandmates, as he didn't appear to open up to them about his feelings, or his successes and failures as a human being. Working with someone like that for twenty years could have been difficult.

I disagree that Donal Gallagher is necessarily the best person to write a measured biography of his brother. He would definitely need to be consulted for a detailed biography to have any critical weight, but I worry that his closeness to Rory, and his desire to maintain Rory's legend, might prevent him from being balanced in his approach. For example, in my opinion, he tends to give a very sanitised view of key events and people in Rory's life in interviews. He has been very slow to acknowledge Rory's debt to Gerry and the other musicians who supported him as a professional (I've spoken to him about it). He's been a vocal critic of Gerry's book, but the tenth, fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries of Rory's death have slipped by, and he has yet to commission a proper critical biography (I have only read excerpts of the independently written Marcus Connaughton book, but while it seems well-intentioned, it doesn't appear to be an appropriately detailed critical biography).

Being a family member doesn't necessarily translate into being a good biographer. Compare 'My Brother's Keeper' (written by Stanislaus Joyce about his brother James), with Richard Ellman's majesterial biography of the same writer, to see what I mean!

If Donal really wishes to do his brother's legacy justice, I believe he should employ a talented, well-informed and experienced researcher or biographer, and support them in creating a detailed, accurate and revealing document of Rory's life and work. This will help to contextualise Gerry McAvoy's memoir, and right any supposed wrongs committed by Gerry and ghost-writer Peter Chrisp. It's shocking to see the price of this book on the internet - glad I bought it back in 2005.

I hope this is useful and congratulations on a brilliant Rory-focused forum.
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Re: "that book"

Postby capo » 27 Dec 2015, 16:44

Thats a hell of a opening salvo mattydredd! Thank you for such a well reasoned and thoughtful analysis of what has been a very hotly debated subject on this here forum. I look forward to more excellent posts from you on all things Rory. Peace.
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Gerry book again

Postby M.felix » 12 Jan 2016, 22:52

I read on facebook Band of Friends that were found Gerry new book and copies are already for sale on Amazon.co.uk and eBay.co.uk, I see another war Between Gerry and Donal :roll: . When Donal will finally write the biography of Rory? I hope that with this news he do it.
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Re: Gerry book again

Postby RobertaSparrow » 12 Jan 2016, 23:44

I saw that on the Amazon UK site. Someone with a box of uncirculated books must have cleaned out their cupboards.
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Re: Gerry book again

Postby CiaSeattle » 13 Jan 2016, 03:38

If you are seeing 10 new copies on eBay for $60 US each, be careful. I saw a review from someone that had just purchased a book from this seller and although the cover was in English, the text was German. I was pretty sure that was the book they were talking about.
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Re: "that book"

Postby philipcuss » 16 Jan 2016, 17:03

Great post Mattydredd! I wouldn't agree that the Marcus Connaughton book was well-intentioned though. Thought it was just an attempt to cash-in on the Rory Gallagher name to be honest.

Most of the Connaughton book consists of recycled material with huge chunks lifted directly and openly from old magazines (Guitar Player interview conducted by Jas Obrecht and other interviews), while many of the anecdotes and facts are recycled from previously published books about Rory. The author fails to disclose many of his references and doesn't include a bibliography. This would appear to be deliberate and an attempt by Connaughton to conceal his reliance on previously published material.

Connaughton's book has many factual errors and inaccuracies and frequently goes off on lengthy tangents that have nothing to do with Rory. The author also refers to himself quite a bit, which implies that his book was more a vanity project than a serious examination of Rory Gallagher or his life as a whole.

I wouldn't consider it to be a biography because it fails on far too many levels for my liking.
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