Rory Gallagher

Fresh Evidence

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There was no way that Rory Gallagher could have known that Fresh Evidence would be his last recording, but in retrospect, it is a good summary of all that is fine and some that is frustrating about his work. The first few tracks are competent but less than perfect; "'Kid' Gloves" is yet another weak song that is based on his well-known love of crime fiction, and "The King of Zydeco" shows that Gallagher may have liked zydeco music a lot, but he doesn't sound natural playing it. Things pick up on "Middle Name," which sounds a lot like the Doors' "The Wasp" but has some sharp soloing, and things really get rolling on "Ghost Blues." From this point on, it seems that Gallagher wanted to prove his mastery of every style of blues, and amazingly, he succeeds. The Delta blues of "Heaven's Gate" shows his mastery of the form, and the jazzy, swinging Chicago blues instrumental "The Loop" is a classic track. The very best was saved for last: the thundering "Slumming Angel." Everything is absolutely together here, the distinctive voice belting out a great simple lyric over a hammering rhythm section and a heaping helping of guitar, guitar, guitar. For all that, it starts slow and has a few tracks that sound like filler, albeit tasty filler. Nevertheless, Fresh Evidence showed that even after over 20 years of reinterpreting various strains of blues, there was plenty of spirit and creativity left in the great Irish rocker.

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