Rory Gallagher

Blue Day for the Blues

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A quickie compilation issued a few months after Rory Gallagher's untimely death in June of 1995, this generous collection assembles 16 tracks that show the deeper blues -- as opposed to harder blues-rocking -- side of the Irish guitarist. At the time it was issued, IRS only had rights to seven of Gallagher's albums, so there is a large bulk of material that might have fit the concept that could not be included. Additionally, this was released before Gallagher's catalog was overhauled in 1999 for CD, so the sound quality here is not as full and pristine as later versions of the same tunes. Out of print after IRS' demise, this is still a solid representation of the guitarist's diverse blues approaches. The songs are noted with the style they represent -- Texas, Chicago, ragtime, bottleneck, Appalachian, etc. -- and even though the sequencing seems random, the album does show Gallagher's amazing diversity. Covers of Lightnin' Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, Tony Joe White, Sonny Boy Williamson, Son House, and the traditional "Bullfrog Blues" (mistakenly credited to Gallagher as opposed to William Harris, the tune's typically accepted writer) share space next to originals whose influences are obvious. From a blues-rocker who had taste and class even when tearing through his barnstorming material at full volume, this music is reasonably well selected, especially since the compilers did not have access to his entire catalog. The disc is worth seeking out, especially for blues fans, since there are no other collections that focus exclusively on Gallagher's bluesier aspects.

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