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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

Rory Gallagher: Ghost Blues & The Beat Club Sessions: The Story Of Rory Gallagher

By Published: November 13, 2010
Given the presence of audio engineer Joe Herlihy's account of the first outdoor Irish music festival, headlined (and largely subsidized by) Rory Gallagher, the omission of much detailed production info or musician credits is especially egregious for the twelve-cut CD companion piece to the Beat Club DVD. Comprised of excerpts from 1971 appearances on the German television series as well as en entire performance from 1972, Gallagher and company seem quaint in their aversion to theatrics, yet even the no-nonsense defiance of their group persona barely offsets the kitschy graphics of the early footage. Thankfully the stripped-down acoustic rendition of "Just the Smile" is more than ample antidote to what's preceded and much of what will follow in the 90 minutes playing time.

That tune alone is a striking demonstration of the sensitivity at the heart of Gallagher's otherwise often blustery blues-rock. He doesn't treat this intimate approach as anything other than equally legitimate as his electric music and displays just as much relish, especially when working out with the bottleneck. Woefully distracting graphics afflict most of the video footage, which only makes it worth owning the CD even though it lacks all the diversity of style contained on the DVD: to hear Rory Gallagher playing the mandolin on "Goin' To My Hometown" is a revelation about a musician who lived for such moments..

Tracks: DVD:The Beat Club Sessions: Laundromat; Hands Up; Sinnerboy; Just The Smile; Used To Be; In Your Town; Should've Learned My Lesson; Crest of a Wave; Tore Down; Pistol Slapper Blues; I Don't Know Where I'm Going; Going To My Hometown; I Could've Had Religion; McAvoy Boogie; Hoodoo Man; Messin' With The Kid. The Beat Club Sessions CD: Laudromat; Hands Up; Sinnerboy; Just The Smile; I Don't Know Where I'm Going; I Could've Had Religion; Used To Be; In Your Town; Should've Learned My Lesson; Crest of a Wave; Tore Down; Messin' With The Kid.


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