The Other Book, and the First RG Band

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The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby RobertaSparrow » 17 Sep 2015, 17:20

With the release of Taste's I'll Remember four disc set, and the IOW concert DVD, there has been quite a flurry of new interest and posts about Rory. In particular about the early days, the times leading up to Taste and the beginning of Rory's career.

I read up on several different Rory-focused sites. I haven't posted much on any of the sites, because with work and my own health issues, I have not had as much time or energy as I had before this summer. I haven't lost interest or energy in Rory or protecting his legacy, I've just been burning the midnight oil trying to tend to everything I must in the day to day.

Anyway, on one of the Facebook sites, someone mentioned a different music book, written by a different Mr. McAvoy, Cork Rock, from Rory Gallagher to The Sultans of Ping, by Mark McAvoy (no relation to the bass player of the same last name, as far as I know anyway).

I bought this book a while back, and didn't really give it the thorough read it really deserved, because it is more an overview of the Cork music scene, and spans several decades and genres of music. But in hindsight, and with the release of this month's Taste material, I revisited Cork Rock.

In it Mark McAvoy covers Rory's early days, more than the other books at this point do, and in particular the formation of the first Taste.

JimLED had posed a question on another thread,

"As all good RG fans know in late days of 1971 Rory Gallagher has created his first solo project.
Wilgar and Gerry joined . Just interesting to know about a couple of things:

• What was the first song they played together at rehearsal room in a meeting day?
• What was the first name of the song they learned for album's material? "


My perspective on this, and this is my opinion only, feel free to give your own opinion if you will. But my opinion is Rory's first band was his first formation of Taste, The Taste as they were first called.

In his book, McAvoy relates via Donal how Rory met up with the Cork based band, The Axills, who had as their drummer Norman Damery and bassist Eric Kitteringham. The Axills in turn had asked Rory to join them, and Rory's response was, "I'm not joining anybody's band!" (Cork Rock, p. 38)[emphasis added]

Rory had already done his time as just another musician in the showband, he was done with that, and anyway, he was a leader, he didn't want to be just a guitarist in someone's band. After the showband that Rory had worked in, The Impact, had split up, and The Axills also fell apart, Rory, Eric and Norman joined up forming The Taste. Yeah, The Taste. They dropped "The" soon after. (See footnote 9 in Cork Rock).

Some dismiss the first incarnation of Taste. After all, to my knowledge anyway, the only surviving videos of Taste are of the second incarnation with John Wilson and Richard 'Charlie' McCracken, most of the earlier recordings with the first Taste were lost or destroyed (and I have read in more than one source, they were destroyed at the behest of the manager, Mr. Kennedy). Most people had never heard the first line up, and the second line up was so very good.

Side note here, one of the things that I really love about the 4-disc set is the inclusion of tracks from the original line up of Taste. The recordings are not as polished as the later ones, IMHO we are lucky to have those that did survive, because that is the Taste that first caught everyone's attention, including Eddie Kennedy, who later managed Taste, and orchestrated the replacement of Rory's two fellow Cork musicians with Wilson and McCracken.

But it was the original line up, with Kitteringham and Damery who were on stage with Rory at the Woburn Abbey Festival, the same festival that Hendrix played at the night before (Cork Rock, p.41)

And THIS recording, the one that some have said was the first time that Rory out-played Jimi Hendrix, is on disc 4 of I'll Remember. Disc 4 of the set is all recordings of the original line up. Rory performs several of his creations with the original line up, as he does with the later group: Blister On The Moon, Born On The Wrong Side of Time, and as it turns out, my favorite medley of "blues standards," if you will, Rock Me Baby/Bye Bye Bird/Baby Please Don't Go/You Shook Me Baby.

Listen to the original Taste do these songs, and compare them to the later versions. It is my opinion, and I am not in any way trying to diminish or trivialize the other musicians' contributions to the music, but it is MY opinion, that when you get right down to it, Rory was Taste- Taste lineup 1 and Taste lineup 2 was Rory.

Kennedy knew that, that is why he separated Rory from the other two, and brought in two musicians that he had worked with, that would tend to trust the manager- person they knew, more than this new young guitarist. With Rory came the music he wrote, and the band's name. The music was essentially the same, the recordings more polished, and the crowds and notoriety bigger, but still it was Taste. And truth be told, Taste was Rory.

And once again, let me cite Cork Rock,

"Eric Kitteringham felt that the fact that he and Norman Damery questioned many of Kennedy's decisions precipitated the change of line-up." (p. 41).

Later, when the new line up of Taste was successfully touring, drawing huge crowds and recording, and questions arose as to how it seemed they were a huge success, yet had no funds to maintain or replace their equipment, and each was asking where the money was going, it was easy for their manager to maneuver the two newcomers against Rory. But I think the manager underestimated Rory's basic integrity and sense of value. Rory would walk away from the fame at his feet rather than be manipulated like that.

In the booklet that comes with the collection, I'll Remember, John Wilson was quoted by Melody Maker-

"[H]e and McCraken felt that they had effectively been relegated to the role of backing musicians: 'We wanted to be recognised as equals with Rory. But instead it was Rory this and Rory that." (I'll Remember booklet, p.26)

Well, yeah, they felt that way because they were backing musicians. Rory was the shining star on that stage, the one who wrote the music, played guitar, harmonica, sax, and sang. The one who played his heart out for the fans.

So, In My Opinion, Taste was Rory's first band. Rory was Taste. The fans knew it, and so did Eddie Kennedy.

And by the way, if you want to read up on the early days of Rory's career while waiting for your new Taste discs to arrive, check out Cork Rock, from Rory Gallagher to The Sultans of Ping, by Mark McAvoy
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby SUBY1974 » 17 Sep 2015, 23:14

Yes I have the book and will read up on it again. Subrata.x
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby SUBY1974 » 17 Sep 2015, 23:26

Hope you feel better Cynthia. Subrata.x
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby Lee61 » 10 Feb 2016, 04:54

I have heard about this book and am trying to source it here in Australia. Still searching at the
moment but I am determined to find it...
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby RobertaSparrow » 10 Feb 2016, 06:17

Lee61 wrote:I have heard about this book and am trying to source it here in Australia. Still searching at the
moment but I am determined to find it...


It's odd, I bought this book not too long ago through Amazon UK. They still have it, but there are only two left in stock.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cork+Rock%3A+From+Rory+Gallagher+To+The+Sultans+of+Ping

That is a link to the book on the Amazon UK site. Hopefully that will work. It seems a bit more expensive than it was when I bought it.
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby Irishcelticgirl » 10 Feb 2016, 17:19

Lee 61, Waterstones bookshop in Cork had it in stock a while back, their email address is cork@waterstones.com. They may be able to help. I would pop in and ask for you but am away at the moment.
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby RobertaSparrow » 11 Feb 2016, 01:53

I ordered the book a while back, and initially I didn't give it a very thorough read. My focus is primarily on Rory, but I came across a couple of interesting posts on some of the RG FB pages by the author himself, and after the re-release earlier of some early Taste gems, I revisited that book, and it is a very interesting read by people who knew Rory in the earliest days, in particular in respect to the break-up of Taste. I was also able to add to the Rory timeline thanks to that book.

And if you are interested in the music scene in those early days, and especially if you plan on visiting Cork it is certainly worth a read.
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby Lee61 » 11 Feb 2016, 05:20

Thank you all I will try Amazon again, most places I have searched are out of stock. If I have no luck
will try waterstones...thanks again ladies x
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby Irishcelticgirl » 12 Feb 2016, 15:00

Hi Lee61, a company called AbeBooks search for a book if you are unable to track a copy and inform you if they locate one.
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Re: The Other Book, and the First RG Band

Postby willie the pimp » 14 Feb 2016, 23:22

Lee61 wrote:I have heard about this book and am trying to source it here in Australia. Still searching at the
moment but I am determined to find it...

Another Rory fan from Tassie! I thought I might be on my own...
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