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Gallagher, Rory: Crest of a Wave-The Best of Rory Gallagher

Kudos to Eagle Rock for keeping the music of Rory Gallagher alive these days. With some stellar recent archival live releases and now Crest of a Wave-The Best of Rory Gallagher, the late guitar legend's music is available to the public, ready to be enjoyed for many years to come (and most of his back catalog has also been recently reissued as well). Though some may argue that there's already too many Rory Gallagher compilations out on the market (Th Essential Rory Gallagher and Big Guns are both solid collections, the latter even including some of his material with Taste), this is really focused on the best of his stellar solo studio output, with a slighter emphasis on the more hard rocking material.

Classic tracks such as "Moonchild", "Tattoo'd Lady", "Follow Me", "A Million Miles Away" and of course the showstopper "Shadow Play" are all here, combining hard rock energy with the passion and soul of the blues. Gallagher's searing guitar licks and smoky vocals are the star of the show all the way, but he never overplays, always letting the songs speak for themselves. Funky blues rocker "Walk on Hot Coals" features some hot piano and crisp guitar work, and "Shinkicker" is just a flat out fun party shuffle. Rory's slide work was also quite underrated-simply listen to him shred on the ass-kicking title track, as he easily gives Johnny Winter or Duane Allman a run for their money. He even moves into more psychedelic waters normally tread by Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, or Frank Marino on the song "Bad Penny", a real stirring number with plenty of searing guitar solos. Earlier I mentioned that this collection features quite a few of his hard rock gems-check out "Philby", "Overnight Bag", and "Calling Card", each one chock full of energetic rhythms and chunky riffs, but fans of his acoustic blues fare should look to the back end of this set, where tunes like "Lonesome Highway", "Barley & Grape Rag", and "Out on the Western Plain" are hidden.

The sound on this collection is top notch, and there is a nice booklet included with plenty of photos and some essays. Though there's much to choose from if you are new to the world of the late Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher, this is a great first step to begin exploring his musical output. If you like what you hear on this set, then check out his Irish Tour 1974, Live in London, and Live at Montreux live albums to really experience what he was all about. Then, be prepared to dip into the studio catalog for a more in-depth look at this greatly missed rock musician.


Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. Follow Me
2. Shinkicker
3. Do You Read Me
4. Bought & Sold
5. Loanshark Blues
6. In Your Town
7. Calling Card
8. Million Miles Away
9. Walk on Hot Coals
10. I Fall Apart
11. Tattoo'd Lady
12. Crest of a Wave
Disc: 2
1. Bad Penny
2. Overnight Bag
3. Philby
4. Shadow Play
5. Moonchild
6. They Don't Make Them Like You Anymore
7. Edged in Blue
8. Wheels Within Wheels
9. Out on the Western Plain
10. Out of My Mind
11. Barley and Grape Rag
12. Lonesome Highway

Added: February 23rd 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hits: 2437
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Gallagher, Rory: Crest of a Wave-The Best of Rory Gallagher
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-02-23 13:00:16
My Score:

Let's start off by thanking the fine folks of Eagle Rock Entertainment for breathing some new life into many classic performers and their incredible contributions to music. They've been keeping our personal music and video libraries stocked to overflowing by their regular dishing out of legacy concert films and even bringing some classic albums out from under the bed and back into the public eye. They continue the process with this amazing double CD release that celebrates the music of Blues-Rock guitarist Rory Gallagher and if you are someone like me who needs a healthy education in the man's accomplishments, well these 24 tracks are bound to get you onto the right path. The singer and axe-slinger hailed from Ireland, and sadly left us in 1995 after complications from a liver transplant at the young age of 47. Despite the loss, the man's music continues to impact the lives of innumerable guitarists of note and many of their acolytes and this will allow his name to carry on for generations. The compilation scans the musician's fifteen albums and from them deducts the live releases which give us a solid nine to work with. Add to this a few of his touching acoustic numbers and you have a really great place to begin your own musical journey into his career or if you are one of the existing diehards that has the whole enchilada, you have a cool disc to bring along with you on trips in the car. I will assume that by leaving the live releases material off this particular release that we shall find a "Best Of Rory Live" coming up next. There is no material from his band Taste and that makes sense since it precedes his solo work releases by a couple of years. Similar to my views on their hopeful release of a live compilation sometime going forward, perhaps if the demand is high enough they will look into doing something for Taste. I would like that since it is a band that was clearly before my time and not something I focused on much as my own interests developed.

There is a great booklet enclosed that lets the listeners hear some thoughts from Gallagher's own nephew and also from a core writer from Billboard Magazine so it's totally relevant narrative when it comes down to it. I had heard that some viewed this as an unnecessary purchase if you had all of the musicians stuff and I must say I disagree with that standpoint. If you are someone like me who doesn't have enough of a background on him then this is a superb collection and since it was all relatively "new music" to my own ears I could not determine what I liked more. There is a lot to absorb and if you are a fan of Blues based guitar driven Rock then you need to snare this while you can. I recommend this for all those fans that worship at the feet of the likes of Satriani, Johnson, and Moore and feel that they will feed their own thirst for quality music by owning this one. Eagle Vision has released an amazing collection of live footage of Gallagher and one solid recommendation is the "Rockpalast" multi-DVD set. That is well worth the price.



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