Defender was the 1987 release from the late Irish guitar hero Rory Gallagher, released in a decade that saw his recorded output falter considerably compared to his prolific 70's schedule. Featuring the core band of Gallagher, drummer Brendan O'Neill, and bassist Gary McAvoy, Defender is another fine release from the guitar legend, and though there are less 'classics' here than on previous albums, it's still a fine display of his guitar prowess, vocals, and songwriting abilities.
Much of the hard rock of the late 70's and early 80's has taken a back seat to Rory's trademark blues rock, and there's plenty of strong tracks here, like the rollicking "Continental Op. (To Dashiell Hammet)", "Loanshark Blues", and the sizzling "Kickback City". Rory's gut wrenching blues tone on "I Ain't No Saint" is jaw dropping, and the gritty rock of "Failsafe Day" provides for some memorable moments. Some of Gallagher's best soloing can be heard on the grinding blues rocker "Road to Hell", and "Smear Campaign" features some crunchy riffs and O'Neill's nimble drum work. If you love Rory's scorching slide guitar, fret not, just check out "Don't Start Me to Talkin'", which also includes some wild harmonica as well. Bonus cut "Seems to Me" will appeal to all fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and "No Peace for the Wicked" is another great vehicle for slide guitar licks.
With great commentary from Donal Gallagher in the booklet, plus photos, this is a must have reissue of a strong album from late in Rory Gallagher's career. Kudos once again to Eagle Rock for doing a fine job keeping Rory's music alive.
1. Kickback City 4:51
2. Loanshark Blues 4:29
3. Continental Op. (To Dashiell Hammet) 4:34
4. I Ain't No Saint 5:00
5. Failsafe Day 4:24
6. Road To Hell 5:31
7. Doing Time 4:08
8. Smear Campaign 4:49
9. Don't Start Me To Talkin' 3:36
10. Seven Days 5:16
11. Seems To Me 4:53
12. No Peace For The Wicked 4:07