Rory Gallagher was a man of integrity. He was genuine; a dedicated follower and disciple of music. As Bob Geldoff so aptly put it in the opening segments of the “Ghot Blues” DVD (Eagle Rock Entertainment), “He could have been a priest … ‘cept his chalice was his guitar and his prayers were the blues.”
“Ghost Blues” is a fully authorized documentary of the guitar virtuoso’s life. Featuring interview segments with Gallagher, his brother Donal and praise from “fans” Geldoff, Johnny Marr, The Edge, Bill Wyman, Cameron Crowe and several U.K. music journalists, One gets a comprehensive understanding of the man and how he became a legend.
The documentary gives just enough background on Gallagher’s earliest beginnings (starting with his birth at The Rock Hospital in Cork – no joke – through the first Fender Stratocaster his family purchased for him at great sacrifice). The heart of the matter kicks in when Gallagher establishes his musical prowess in the show bands of the day, an experience he referenced as his “military days,” his first “band” – a power trio named Taste; and his eventual success as a solo artist.
This is the man who shunned singles because he didn’t want to be defined by a passing sound. All he wanted to do was play and make albums. Music, in its final packaging, is what mattered to Gallagher; so much so that he refused to bow to industry pressures, which ultimately had a negative affect on his career. For example, Gallagher infamously trashed an entire album of material literally minutes before it was to be debuted for 50 label executives. His brother Donal presented him with the vinyl master and he chucked it in the garbage can. The album was lost and the executives did not find any humor in Gallagher’s actions.
Gallagher was so influential people wanted to play like him and established artists wanted to play with him. The guitarist was always up for a go and appeared on albums by Jerry Lee Lewis, Albert King and Muddy Waters. He was also the frontrunner to join The Rolling Stones in 1974 when Mick Taylor jumped ship. According to Wyman, they jammed extensively but ultimately Gallagher wouldn’t give up control to “two monster egos” and be relegated to only playing the occasion solo. He was a front man and everyone knew that.
The second disc in this package is a collection of Gallagher’s appearances on the British TV show “The Beat Club.” live disc is worth the cost of the DVD set itself. The Beat Club Sessions CD also released by Eagle Rock Entertainment, offers audio from 12 of the performances seen live on the second DVD. The 16 performances captured over three sessions are remarkable and a great value.