Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

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Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby RobertaSparrow » 15 Mar 2016, 03:03

Here is a question, I saw this posted on one of the FB pages, and I I thought, what a great question, so I requested of the person posting it if I may repost it here. Courtesy of Ken Jones :)

"A serious question for all TasteBuds...... and it's not a loaded question in any way at all...... Was there ever a time in Rory's career when he would have benefited live from a rhythm guitarist on stage with him???? Someone who could allow Rory to explore the lead guitar & vocals/harmonica/sax without the constant pressure of filling the sound out with rhythm playing? Listen to any studio album and there is rarely ever one guitar to be heard (I'm ignoring bass btw)..... left & right stereo splits usually...... sometime three or four separate guitar tracks, all at once.....

Rory had all bases covered on stage, more than Jimi ever did, so I'm NOT doubting his abilities.... My point was Rory rarely ever used a single guitar when recording, using two, three or more guitar tracks in the studio (in the same way vocalists use two separate tracks together to get a fuller sound). Far from saying he would never use or need a second guitar, he actually did it all the time in the studio anyway! 'Who?' is a different question for another time. I'm just considering whether Rory in the studio could have benefited Rory on stage at any point??? Personally, I'd pick two guitars over guitar and keyboards every time.... But that's me. The Hammond organ sound trumps keyboards too, ala Traffic and Faces... Food for thought"


I'd like to hear the opinions of those of you so inclined to offer them. I'll throw my two cent's worth in later,but for now, what are your thoughts?

P.S. These are some of my favorite Rory lyrics.

Example, Studio Version, Overnight Bag



Rory Live, Overnight Bag



And,I Fall Apart Studio:



I Fall Apart, Live:

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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby capo » 15 Mar 2016, 04:43

I thought there was a thread here a while back on this same subject, but I don't have time now to find it. I will repeat what I think I posted then. Rory had Lou Martin on a few occasions live play rhythm guitar on "Daughter Of The Everglades", but it was soon stopped. On page 55 of Dan Muise's Rory book you will find that around the time of "Jinx" Rory considered hiring a Rhythm player. Gerry says a Tommy Willis was considered , and Ted Nugent's Derek St. Holmes too. But in the end Rory decided to stick with the trio. I'm glad he did, nobody could fill the spaces out like live like Rory. I think it would have made him less interesting live if he was just a standard Lead player. Rory was so much like the great Jazz players with all the room he had for improv. Anyway.........................
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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby ailish78 » 15 Mar 2016, 08:11

I already answered this one on the facebook page. Like Capo I honestly think it wouldn't have worked so well. In an interview Rory already said he preferred to do all the fill-ins himself. I'm glad he did kept it that way. I think it worked really well.
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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby ailish78 » 15 Mar 2016, 08:14

Oh and thanks for the clips. I really think Overnight Bag could have been a really good single. In fact a lot of Rory's songs could have been. I fall apart is lovely too.
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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby Jay Jay » 15 Mar 2016, 10:50

My opinion on this is based on what Rory said and reacted to me in 1988. Seeing him live at The Victoria Hall. Hanley UK :)

I'm glad Cynthia (Roberta) put up those two examples of Overnight Bag. As it was when shouting / requesting for Rory to play this song. That he came right over to me front of stage in between songs. With all the din and noise of the crowd he could not quite hear or understand what I was requesting. The gent that he was bending down from the edge of stage, then finally understood my request for Overnight Bag. He then gave me that beautiful smile and said and suggested with his wiggling fingers and nodding his head, that he had not got all the requirements and instrumentation to do this song justice on that night. I do believe he only performed this song live a couple of times previously on stage. Just after the time of the Photo Finish album.

Even though Rory was still a great player in the late 80's and early 90's. IMO, he hadn't quite got the dexterity he possessed in the 60's 70's and early 80's.
You've only got to look at the amount of musicians on his last studio album Fresh Evidence . Which was "10" including Rory..
Mark Feltham is another example live in his later years too. That he needed someone to fill in now and again and take a little of the load off him.

So my verdict on this question, is that I believe Rory would have benefited touring and especially live, with maybe an electric/ acoustic rhythm guitarist. To play some of the rhythm parts in those beautiful melodic songs such as "Overnight Bag", "Daughter Of The Everglades", "Lost At Sea", "Edged In Blue", "I'm Not Awake Yet", etc etc. In Rory's last 10 years that is only.
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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby RobertaSparrow » 15 Mar 2016, 17:39

Jay Jay wrote:My opinion on this is based on what Rory said and reacted to me in 1988. Seeing him live at The Victoria Hall. Hanley UK :) . . As it was when shouting / requesting for Rory to play this song. That he came right over to me front of stage in between songs. With all the din and noise of the crowd he could not quite hear or understand what I was requesting. The gent that he was bending down from the edge of stage, then finally understood my request for Overnight Bag. He then gave me that beautiful smile and said and suggested with his wiggling fingers and nodding his head, that he had not got all the requirements and instrumentation to do this song justice on that night. I do believe he only performed this song live a couple of times previously on stage. Just after the time of the Photo Finish album. . . .Even though Rory was still a great player in the late 80's and early 90's. IMO, he hadn't quite got the dexterity he possessed in the 60's 70's and early 80's. . . You've only got to look at the amount of musicians on his last studio album Fresh Evidence . Which was "10" including Rory.. . .So my verdict on this question, is that I believe Rory would have benefited touring and especially live, with maybe an electric/ acoustic rhythm guitarist. To play some of the rhythm parts in those beautiful melodic songs such as "Overnight Bag", "Daughter Of The Everglades", "Lost At Sea", "Edged In Blue", "I'm Not Awake Yet", etc etc. In Rory's last 10 years that is only.


I was looking at the date of that live recording of Overnight Bag, and you make a good point- that was Oslo in October of '78, right after the release of the album. That is the only recording I could find on YouTube of Overnight Bag from one of Rory's live performances. I noticed that Rory plays it, but not with the enthusiasm and ardor he usually does, and initially I thought, well, it is a bootleg, and those are by definition unplanned and unauthorized, so are almost never an artist's best work. I listened to the live recording again, and although I love this song, some of his best, most heartfelt lyrics are paired with that melody, in his live interpretation you can almost hear, Rory is not pleased with his interpretation, he pulls back somewhat on his playing, and he really does end it rather abruptly, as though he feels he is not reaching the level that he would always strive for. It's a shame he didn't play that one live on stage more often, it held great promise and if only (yes, in a world of "if onlys") he had released this one as a single, it would have been an instant hit. Then maybe we would see Rory Gallagher posters along side other greats such as Jimi, Clapton, as well as lesser musos such as KISS, The Ramones, etc. But once again, I digress . . .

I once read an interview with Rory where he speaks of his admiration for John Lennon, and his opinion of John's rhythm playing is quite complimentary. John Lennon was IMHO a creative genius, and as with most creative types, certainly had his flaws, but still- And his place in the Beatles, aside from being the co-founder and composer of arguably some of the most famous tunes on the planet- was as the rhythm guitarist for The Beatles-

In a world of "what ifs," and "if onlys," I would like to imagine, were it possible, how Rory would fare to have had John Lennon guest with him on stage and do some of those rhythm and fills, some of John's musical hooks, for some of these gems of Rory's.

I think John's sense of humor and goofy light-hearted stage presence would have been fun for Rory, and lightened his work load. Plus, John could also sing harmony. 8-)

John Lennon and Chuck Berry, with Johnny primarily being good on rhythm ;)

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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby RobertaSparrow » 15 Mar 2016, 17:58

Quick addendum,

Found this studio version, Rory's vocals double tracked, but also, the solo is very emotive, very powerful. Makes his guitar cry for him-



And yes, to do this justice live would be a challenge.
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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby ailish78 » 15 Mar 2016, 19:40

yeah there's a lot going on there. Thanks for the Chuck Berry/John Lennon clip. It's great. Rory with John Lennon. What a thought, eh?
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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby RobertaSparrow » 15 Mar 2016, 23:10

As I had mentioned earlier, I borrowed this question from one posed on Facebook, and was curious to see the opinions of others. As Capo had said, we have had similar questions here before, but this one, as its original poster had said, was based on the observation that for the studio versions, Rory often added to his music with overdubs of other guitars, and used many members of his rather inclusive collection of guitars in his studio work, some of which he deemed to be a bit too temperamental for stage work. So, he felt the additions necessary for the studio, but did not seriously seek out a rhythm player for the stage.

My answer on that page was this:

I have a lot of the live recordings and all of the studio recordings, and I almost always prefer the live versions to any of the studio versions of the same song, because Rory's music came alive when he played it on stage, he took energy and inspiration from the audience, and if you're in the audience you know what I mean, it was something about the man and the way he played. Rory knew it, too- something that isn't in his studio recordings, not that they aren't great, and there are a few on the studio recordings that I've never heard him play live. I think he had rhythm guitar and overdubs of other guitar tracks in the studio to fill in for that undefinable something in his playing that he was only able to unleash when he was in that sort of emotional feedback loop from the audience, live on stage the tension would build. He didn't have that part of his muse in the studio. That's why I think, he never sought out a rhythm guitar on the road, although I've read interviews where he did think on it now and then.


I don't know much about the origin of this one, it is rare, and obviously features multiple guitars-

Acoustic Ocean, I believe from Rory's Taste era, posted from YouTube and preserved by Roryweb. Rare Track taken from "Tasting the Fairfield"

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Re: Rory and a Touring Rhythm Player?

Postby folkdeejay » 16 Mar 2016, 09:50

Never heard that acoustic tune before.

Silly question - and it has a slightly Wheels within wheels sound to the phrasing I guess - but IS THAT HIM ? The solo doesn't sound much like RG at all. Maybe he accompanied a guest player who took the leads...

Unusual. Thanks for posting.
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