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Rory Gallagher - Tattoo - LP -

Price per Unit (stuk): €17.95

Long before tattoos became a banality, Rory dedicated this album to those travelling fairground attractions, shared his cherished childhood memories of how they’d mesmerized him, comparing theirs to his lifestyle, and even finding the opportunity to blow some discreet sax lines inside the pounding and lively opener “Tattoo’d Lady”; whatever his muse was, it supplied our Irish Bluesman with the necessary amount of energy and inspiration to record an amazing collection of songs, guaranteed to leave you totally breathless.

On the sophomore record from this line-up of the Rory Gallagher group, gone are the hesitations and senseless perambulations that sometimes marred Blueprint, as they seem to have soldered like a real band, running like a perfectly oiled engine, as much on tight cavalcades (“Sleep on…”), as on ensemble riffing (“Admit it”) or more meandering and building pieces that attest to Rory’s growth as a composer (“A 1.000.000…”); unabashedly pleased with the new format, he who’d been a champion of the power trio, Rory is playing frankly better and bolder than ever; his singing followed suit and sounds more powerful, confident and eloquent.

Elaborating a bit on these issues, I’d say that for the eclectic and diversified songwriting, which ranges from the acoustic pieces that take his previous collaborations with Vincent Crane on his debut album a step or two further (“20.20 Vision”), to the Jazzy vibes (“They Don’t Make…”), the Rock-anthems (“ A Million Miles…”) and the freight-train urgency of dirty Boogies (“Cradle Rock”), Rory makes an amazing use of a diversity of tones, sizzling on “Admit it”, chiming or brittle on “A Million..”, sonic lightning-bolts on “Tattoo’d …”, shimmering reverby-jazz tones on “They don’t Make…”, rural acoustic slide (“20.20..”), making the transition from acoustic Delta dobro bottleneck to electrified, muddy, Chicago styled electric slide(“Who’s That Coming”) or commuting between Funky-wahs, stratospheric lines and blissful arpeggios (“Livin’ Like a Trucker”),making me wonder if this is some kind of History lesson!

On the other hand, and as his bass partner since day one Gerry McAvoy, has definitely formed a quasi-telepathic bond with new drummer Rod de’Ath, and their tandem is as reliable on thundering Rockers as on tranquil acoustic pieces, the other newcomer, keyboardist Lou Martin seems to have found his place, adapting, boosting or filling the holes of the leader’s busy playing, besides revealing a previously undisclosed diversity with his piano as comfortable with tinkling Blues, hammered Rockers, Boogie-Woogie or Jazzy pastures or when laying organ splashes (“Cradle Rock”).

Although not of the same stature as the album originals, appetizers for newcomers or rewards for those eager to update their old vinyl’s are include in the 2000 CD reissue Tattoo, which as usual in the Donal Gallagher supervised releases includes a couple of bonus tracks; the pair of non-originals is composed of  a version of Link Wray’s “Tucson, Arizona”, an outtake from the album sessions served on a relaxed Country-waltz mode and featuring some scintillating lap-steel guitar work, and the lengthy and romping Boogie Jam from the “Irish Tour” period “Just a Little Bit”, and where the punchy and steaming rhythm section allows Rory to come out with some of his mean and rowdy slide work, savoury  pinched fingered lines and more of that simultaneous playing and singing featured on some of the album tracks that is a true measure of the man’s joy and pleasure to be in such an energizing company.

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