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Kickback City: Deluxe Edition

Doug Collette By

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Kickback City
Ian Rankin/Tim Truman/Rory Gallagher
40 Pages
Eagle Rock

Notwithstanding titles such as "Deluxe Edition" of Irish Tour '74 (Legacy Recordings, 2014)or the almost equally splendid archiving that is Notes From San Francisco (Eagle Rock, 2011), Kickback City Deluxe Edition is the most distinctive entry in Rory Gallagher's discography. Two collections of studio and concert tracks highlight the detective mystery theme running through Gallagher's later original material, all of which music relates to the graphic novel with which it's packaged.

Housed within this a 5.5"x7.5" hardcover book are the aforementioned discs, another CD containing actor award-winning actor Aidan Quinn's reading of by Ian Rankin's pulp fiction novella "The Lie Factory," the text of which renowned graphic artist Tim Truman illustrates in striking fashion a la the four black & white postcards enclosed within as well.

The cross-section of material offers ample evidence of Rory Gallagher's fondness for noir crime novels, in particular Kickback City Live. Comprised of excerpts from the fiery Opera House performances contained on the Live in Cork (Eagle Vision, 2009) documentary, never before available strictly as an audio release, these seven numbers complement similarly-referenced recordings of the late Irish bluesman's, all of which derive from the most recent remasters of his catalog.

The raw, rootsy likes of such songs as "Continental Op" might not otherwise readily reveal Gallagher's eye for detail in conjuring up vivid imagery along the lines of the noir mysteries he so favored, so their placement in this context, particularly in their enhanced sonic form, only elevates the man's artistic stature. Some selections, for instance "B-Girl," were in fact based on references to a particular lyric of Gallagher's within Rankin's writing across his bibliography, not just the story in Kickback City.

In a very similar sense, Rankin's writing evokes the shadowy atmosphere that permeates the work of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler without self-consciousness or irony. Truman likewise conjures and enhances the ominous air of that writing with the detail of his art: there is much more than first meets the eye when moving from panel to panel to follow the narrative.

Truman was chosen to work on the project in recognition of his own artistic renditions of the iconoclastic musician in his own Grimjack comics. And there are also artistic connections between Truman(who's also done illustrations for musicians including the Grateful Dead and Hot Tuna) and narrator Quinn, the sum of which collaborations makes for a tightly-knit piece of work.

As a result, fans of the respective contributors, while savoring ,em>Kickback City on its own terms, may also find their curiosity sufficiently piqued about the other collaborators to broaden their knowledge of them and their work. The team of creators who produced this truly deluxe edition can be as justifiably proud of their work as owners of the piece will be satisfied with it. .


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