On the 27th August 2015 Johnny Campbell was good enough to agree to a ‘Question & Answer’ session in the City Library, Grand Parade, Cork. We managed to capture about half an hour of the event on camera, where Johnny talks about meeting Rory, growing up as a musician in Cork, and travelling with Rory to Hamburg, Germany, as part of a stripped down version of the Impact Showband.
If anyone would like to read a short article about this era of Rory Gallagher’s career then please click here:
‘A Question & Answer Session with Johnny Campbell’
Cork City Library, Thursday, 27 August, 7pm
During his musical apprenticeship with the Fontana Showband, the young Rory Gallagher, a mere fifteen when he joined in 1963, learned his craft as a touring musician. Never to be content as a cog in a machine churning out safe, dance-hall friendly, pop hits, night after night, Rory would inevitably push himself to the fore. As his reputation as a guitarist began to grow, the Fontana changed their name to The Impact in 1965 to reflect a more blues/rock-oriented set list showcasing Rory’s fiery guitar work.
Ireland’s conservative music scene was hardly the ideal stomping ground for this new direction, however, and The Impact was forced to find work abroad. As a natural metamorphosis, a stripped-down three-piece version of the band — featuring Rory on guitar & vocals, Johnny Campbell on drums and Oliver Tobin on bass — eventually found themselves on the club circuit in Hamburg, Germany.
For three Irish teenagers arriving in Hamburg in 1965, a city still reverberating with the aftershock from legendary performances at the Star Club, from the likes of The Beatles and Jerry Lee Lewis, it must have been like walking on to a film set, such was its legendary status. Even today, Hamburg is a city which pulses with primal, hedonistic energy. We can only imagine what it was like back in its heyday of the 1960s.
Throughout this relatively short but formative period in Rory Gallagher’s career, Johnny Campbell was the man behind the drum kit. As part of the 2015 National Heritage Week programme of events, Johnny will be in Cork City Library on Thursday, 27 August, at 7pm, for a special ‘Question & Answer’ session on his time with TheImpact Showbandand Rory Gallagher. So, if you’d like to hear it ‘from the horse’s mouth’, then here’s your chance!
In 1966, Rory Gallagher quit The Impact and went on to form the Taste. The rest, as they say, is history. And what a history it is! even if it ended prematurely. Like another Irish hero, Cú Chulainn, Rory Gallagher lived a short life that was filled with glory and his name will live on as part of musical lore until the last Fender Strat is plugged into the last Vox AC 30.
This year’s Cork Rocks for Rory weekend was a great success and attracted Rory Gallagher fans from all parts of the globe to the city on the Lee Delta!
The Rory Gallagher Music Library played host to the fabulous Dave McHugh who played an acoustic set of blues tunes which inspired Rory himself. This is Dave’s own rendition of ‘Gamblin’ Blues’, a tune associated with the great Lil’ Son Jackson and which features on Taste’s record, ‘Live Taste’. Rory played a smokin’ hot version of this tune at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 on his Fender Telecaster.
As part of our Rory 20 commemorations in the Rory Gallagher Music Library we have made available online for the first time, an amazing collection of rare photographs of Rory & band in full flight, taken in Manchester in the late 70s!
The photographer is Stephen Smith and we would like to thank him for donating his collection to our Rory Gallagher Archive.
Cork’s annual tribute to guitar legend Rory Gallagher will take place this weekend, the 5th and 6th of June, and the Rory Gallagher Music Library will of course be playing its part!
Well known axe-men Dave McHugh and Brian Tambling will perform a set of acoustic blues songs that influenced Rory Gallagher in the cosy setting of our music library at 2.30pm on Saturday, 6th June.
Admission is free for this event so don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience the music that helped to shape a legend, played by two of the best musicians in the game today. As 2015 marks the twentieth anniversary of Rory’s passing you can be sure that this year’s Cork Rocks for Rory event will be one to remember.