Taste

On the Boards

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    8
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The second and final studio recording by Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher's neo-Cream trio reins in the playing to focus more on songwriting. The material is a virtual grab bag of blues-rock styles, moving from driving rockers ("What's Going On," "I'll Remember") and basic boogies ("Morning Sun," "If I Don't Sing I'll Cry") to a bottleneck blitz ("Eat My Words") and a pair of acoustic ballads. There's a pronounced jazzy tinge to his spiky guitar and never-again-heard alto sax on the slow blues of the title track and "It's Happened Before, It'll Happen Again," the latter giving the Richard McCracken-John Wilson rhythm section a chance to stretch out and swing fluidly. The lyrics, never a Gallagher strong suit, are pretty simplistic, but the chorus hooks do stick. It could all have added up to one big eclectic mess, but for the often one-dimensional, sometimes ham-fisted Gallagher, the laudable variety turns On the Boards into the high point of his recording career.

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