This year sees the release of a new addition to the Rory Gallagher live canon in the form of Check Shirt Wizard, a collection of previously unreleased live recordings from his 1977 UK tour.
Fitting neatly between Irish Tour ’74 and 1980s Stage Struck, this album showcases Rory at his blistering best. The set does feature performances of songs released on the above mentioned albums as well as 1972’s Live in Europe, however, these performances recorded are excellently re-mastered sonically enhancing the tight and sustained virtuosity of not just Rory, but the band as a well-oiled unit blasting the audience away. With the same line-up as 1974, the ever present Gerry McAvoy on bass, Rod de’Ath on drums and Lou Martin on piano, the listener feels as if they are present at the concert. It is highly recommended by this listener to play this album at a very loud volume!
This 20 song collection sees Rory fresh from recording and touring on the back of his most recent release 1976’s Calling Card and the set includes many of the songs from that album. Also there is a decent five song acoustic set with Rory in fine form on a dobro and slide version of ‘Too Much Alcohol’ and bringing out the mandolin for the anthemic ‘Going to My Hometown’. The latter song was a runner up on Cork City Libraries’ and Creative Ireland’s recent Cork’s Favourite Song initiative. Deservedly also, at time of writing, Check Shirt Wizard was at No.1 on the Billboard Blues Chart
All these above mentioned albums and many more Rory related material can be borrowed from the Rory Gallagher Music Library. Enjoy!
by Conor MacHale