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Author: Subject: My book review: Rory Gallagher - His Life And Times - by Marcus Connaughton

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 08:44 AM
Since there are plenty Rory Gallagher fans on this forum here's my book review of "Rory Gallagher - His Life And Times" by Marcus Connaughton

I was delighted to see that earlier this year a new book on Rory Gallagher was announced and was made available for pre-order. Beside a rather short and flawed French book by Jean-NoŽl Coghe ("A Biography" and a follow up / re-write on the Cork music scene) and bass player's Gerry McAvoy's memoirs "Riding Shotgun" books on Rory are few and far in between. There's also a book called "Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer and Trower: Their Lives and Music" (Rock Chronicles) by Dan Muise but Rory has to share the author's attention with 3 other music heroes and it's actually more a collection of interviews.
So any book is more then welcome, especially since there's still no sign of brother and manager Donal Gallagher's "ultimate" book on Rory.

Author Marcus Connaughton is a veteran of the Irish Record Music Industry primarily in his role as radio producer. In recent year's he did plenty of lectures and speeches on Rory Gallagher and he's clearly a fan.

Reviewing the book itself. To start of right away this is most definitely not the definite book on Rory Gallagher. It's flawed. Very flawed. But as contradictionary as it may seem
for fans it's still worth picking up. Although pre-order information mentions 250 pages the book is actually only 181 pages including the discography, acknowledgements and index.
There's already a bunch of pictures, chapter contents and introduction before the page count starts so i would estimate the actual book to be approx 170 pages. But unlike most biographies there aren't a few separate sections with pictures printed on finer paper but the book is filled with many pictures throughout. It are those pictures that in the end make it worth picking this book up because fans will not learn much from the author's (lack of) research on the musician and human being he admires. Minus the pictures we are left with a mere 110-120 pages of text. So you can do the math. To make things even worse the author often merely quotes well known and lesser known interviews and often at great length. He often makes side steps and gives background info on musician's Rory admired or who's songs Rory covered but fails to do so on some of the musicians with whom Rory actually worked for many years. Not much time is spent on Gery McAvoy for instance. He toured with Rory for more then 20 years and appears on almost all his recordings. The author spends plenty of time on an interview with movie maker Tony Palmer or fan / musician Barry McCabe's anecdote on trying to make it to a Rory gig in Berlin but ending up behind the Iron Curtain in stead. The latter story would have been a welcome addition to a fan anecdote section in a big 400 page coffee table book on Rory but now it's only distracting. There's also a section called "A Sense Of Ireland" and the role this festival played in trying to address the mutal fear and distrust between the British and the Irish due to the troubles in Ulster and the bombings in the UK. Once again interresting background information but in this very short book it almost appears as filler. Especially because most of the text is just lifted from the festival programme. Fans who have read previous books or magazine articles on Rory will not find much new information that shines another light on Rory Gallagher; as a touring musician, in the studio, his song writing process, his lonely private life and his untimely death in 1995. There's the mentioning of Rory having two 2 albums worth of new material in the works two years prior to his death, of the Rolling Stones auditions and even more interresting the mentioning of Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding's auditioning for the Rory Gallagher Band. But it's mentioned and that's that. No further research nor interviews seem to have been done to uncover more details. It also looks like the interviews that have been done for the book were not done with the key players in Rory's career nor his brother.

The discography section is incomplete. It looks like the book spent a long time at the printer because the new reissues on CD and LP are not mentioned and neither is the "Notes From San Francisco" release nor the "Beat Club Sessions" release. A video and
DVD section is strangely missing and the list of compilation releases incomplete. Bootlegs aren't mentioned either.

The book itself, published by "the Collins Press" is a very well bound hardcover book printed on excellent paper and is very well designed. The kind of paper usually used for bigger coffee table photo books. It makes the dozens of pictures, often in full page size, even look better. Some pics are often published and well known to fans but others are more rare and originating from private collections. It are these pictures that in the end make this book worth picking up. The book itself is read within a few hours. Grammatically it is sometimes lacking. Especially that througout the " sign is often missing while a quote ends. It is obvious a labour of love from a true fan but is lacking access to key information.
Maybe and hopefully Donal Gallagher is keeping that information locked away for his own book.

[Edited on 10/16/2012 by ABBDutchFan]

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 10:50 AM
Great Review!

I wrote a review of the Coghe book on Amazon.com back in 2003. It wasn't nice. I would've liked the book just for it's pictures, but Coghe kept injecting himself into every aspect of Rorys later life, surprised he wasn't dressed as a nurse at his bedside. Then to have the final photo in the book be one of Coghe holding the Fender Strat... I really had hoped Donal would write a book.

I will find the book for the pictures.

[Edited on 10/16/2012 by TanDan]

 

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 10:51 AM
Sorry, double post.

[Edited on 10/16/2012 by TanDan]

 

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 11:08 AM
quote:
Great Review!

I wrote a review of the Coghe book on Amazon.com back in 2003. It wasn't nice. I would've liked the book just for it's pictures, but Coghe kept injecting himself into every aspect of Rorys later life, surprised he wasn't dressed as a nurse at his bedside. Then to have the final photo in the book be one of Coghe holding the Fender Strat... I really had hoped Donal would write a book.

I will find the book for the pictures.

[Edited on 10/16/2012 by TanDan]


I agree on that French book. It should have been titled "My Friendship With Musician Rory Gallagher" or something like that. Apparently the author Jean-NoŽl Coghe is a big fan and is has been described as being a very humble and likable person so i guess he wasn't egotripping but "A Biography" is a grotesquelly wrong and misleading book title since it only focusing on the tours Rory did in France and Belgium and the short period Rory lived in Ghent, Belgium. It also suffers from poor translation and quality of paper and pictures printed leaves much to be desired. I guess a low budget labour of love.

Quality and outlay of the new book makes it well worth picking up especially (as mentioned before) due to the cool pictures through out.



[Edited on 10/16/2012 by ABBDutchFan]

 

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 01:15 PM
I saw Rory open for Deep Purple way back in 1973 and he completely knocked me (and my friends) out. Yet to this day I don't own anything. Tell me a good disc to start with please.

 

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 01:48 PM
thanks
 
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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 05:47 PM
quote:
I saw Rory open for Deep Purple way back in 1973 and he completely knocked me (and my friends) out. Yet to this day I don't own anything. Tell me a good disc to start with please.


Allthough he made some really excellent studio albums throughout his career his live performances are his true mastery and legacy.

Check out:

Irish Tour (live CD)

Live In Europe (live CD)

Rockpalast 3DVD Boxset (arguably the best music DVD ever released)

Live At Montreux (2DVD)

Since you mentioned Deep Purple i reckon you're into heavy rock so i could also
recommend his third live CD "Stagestruck" which is his most hardrockin' and high energy release ever.

All his CDs have been recently re-released and remastered again. Unlike a previous remastering job they now sound more like the original releases from back in the vinyl era and also the original cover art has been restored. Bonus tracks can still be found on the new rereleases.

 

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 07:43 PM
Don't forget all the free shows that have been offered up in the vines section.

 

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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 07:44 PM
Don't forget all the free shows that have been offered up in the vines section.

 

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"There's only two kinds of music...The Blues and Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah"- Townes Van Zandt

 

World Class Peach



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  posted on 10/16/2012 at 07:44 PM
triple post

[Edited on 10/17/2012 by TanDan]

 

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"There's only two kinds of music...The Blues and Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah"- Townes Van Zandt

 
 


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