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Gallagher, Rory: Top Priority (reissue)

1979 saw Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher continue on with his venture into hard rock territory with the release of Top Priority, to this day a fan & critic favorite alike. Eagle Rock Records continues on with their reissue series of the Rory Gallagher catalog, and they've done a great job here with what is considered one of Rory's strongest releases in his 'hard rock period'.

It's hard to top the opening 1-2 punch of "Follow Me" and "Philby", two stellar heavy rock numbers littered with sizzling guitar riffs and scorching solos from the master. The former remained a concert favorite for many years (and contains some of the most blistering heavy blues rock guitar playing to this day), and the latter also features some wild sitar lines, ironically recorded on an instrument borrowed from The Who's Pete Townsend. The strong material continues on "Wayward Child", a driving rocker with soaring slide licks and strong vocals, and "Keychain" is a rousing guitar driven boogie rock number that hits on all the marks. Rory goes for a 'good time rock & roll' feel on the uptempo boogie 'n' blues number "At the Depot", complete with some wicked slide licks, and "Pad Penny" is a moody rocker with searing lead guitar and another appearance by the sitar. Gallagher and the band (Gerry McAvoy-bass, Ted McKenna-drums) get all manic on the frantic "Just Hit Town", which features some wild rhythms and Rory's scorching slide guitar, and the album's first real blues track comes in the form of "Off the Handle", another real workout for Gallagher on lead guitar.The regular part of the album ends with "Public Enemy No. 1", a fun blues-rock piece that shows Rory's talents on both vocals & guitar. This reissue has two bonus cuts, the gritty blues of "Hell Cat" and the more atmospheric rocker "The Watcher". Both are decent tracks, though the former might get the nod thanks to some sizzling slide guitar from Gallagher.

As with all the previous Rory Gallagher reissues, you get superior sound here, plus a booklet filled with photos and album notes from Rory's brother Donal as he talks about each track on the album. If you are a newbie to the world of Rory Gallagher, you need to hear this one.

Track Listing
1. Follow Me 4:40
2. Philby 3:51
3. Wayward Child 3:31
4. Keychain 4:08
5. At The Depot 2:56
6. Bad Penny 4:03
7. Just Hit Town 3:37
8. Off The Handle 5:36
9. Public Enemy No. 1 3:46
10. Hell Cat 4:50
11. The Watcher 5:44

Added: July 27th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1892
Language: english

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