Taste


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1965-68)

- Norman Damery - drums, percussion
- Rory Gallagher (RIP 1995)- vocals, guitar, harmonica, sax
- Eric Kittringham - bass

  line up 2 (1968-71)

- Rory Gallagher (RIP 1995)- vocals, guitar, harmonica, sax
- Charlie McCrackin - bass (replaced Eric Kittringham)
- John Wilson - drums (replaced Norman Damery)

 


 

 

- The Axels

- Axis Point

- Rory Gallagher (solo efforts)

- Hardin & York with Charlie McCracken (Charlie McCracken)
- Stud (Charlie McCrackin and John Wilson)
- Them (John Wilson) 

 


 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Taste

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-296

Year: 1969

Country/State: Ireland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut  out notch lower edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2263

Price: $40.00

 

A unique figure in modern rock, Ireland's Rory Gallagher spent the majority of his adult life touring, preaching the gospel of the blues throughout the world. Prior to his 1995 death, he released scores of albums, but never come close to commercial success.

Gallagher was playing guitar by the time he was eight and began playing professionally at age 15. Certain that his future lay in music, at eighteen he joined the Fontana Showband where he spent three years working on the dinner party circuit. Frustrated by the Showband's conservative repetoire and his inability to play the blues, Gallagher and fellow Showband members Eric Kittringham and Norman Damery tendered their notices in 1965. Forming the blues based Taste, the trio embarked on three years of near constant touring.   In 1968 they were signed by the Phil Soloman's small Irish Major Minor label, which saw the release of a one-shot single:

- 1968's 'Blister on the Moon' b/w 'Born on the Wrong Side of Time' (Major Minor catalog number MM 560)   

 

Their tireless touring culminated in a 1969 American tour as Blind Faith's opening act. Frustrated by their lack of commercial success and tired of the constant roadwork, Kittringham and Damery quit in 1968. They were promptly replaced by former Them drummer John Wilson and bassist Charlie McCracken.  The new line up relocated to London and, as part of the late '60s blues revival, began to attract a sizable following.  Polydor eventually signed them to a contract.  Ironically, the band's first collection, recorded live at London's Marquee club, was shelved. The album entitled "Taste Live At the Marquee '68" wasn't released in Europe until 1977. 

 

With Atlantic's ATCO subsidiary acquiring American distribution rights, the trio made it's debut with 1969's "Taste". Produced by Tony Cotton, material such as 'Sugar Mama', 'Hail' and a cover of Ledbetter's 'Leavin' Blues' made it clear Gallagher's musical allegiance was to the blues.  While publicity focused on Gallagher's blazing guitar, on original tracks such as the blazing 'Blister On the Moon' and 'Born On the Wrong Side of Time' Gallagher proved himself a more than capable vocalist. The bluesy nature of the set certainly limited the set's overall appeal, but to my ears the low tech, no-frills attack only served to underscore the set's appeal. 


"Taste" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Blister on the Moon   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:26      rating: **** stars

Try nodding off when Gallagher hits the opening chords ...   I'm not big on insightful lyrics, but 'Blister on the Moon' sported some fascinating lines.   Hard to believe a trio could generate this much sound !!!    The sound quality isn't great (kind of muffled), but YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song in Belgium at the August, 1969 Jazz Bilzen Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvBnY08xFaI    Clearly hoping to ride on the band's breakthrough, the song was reissued as a single by Major Minor label:

- 1970's 'Blister on the Moon' b/w 'Born on the Wrong Side of Time' (Major Minor catalog number MM 718)
2.) Leavin' Blues   (Ledbetter) - 4:15  
   rating: **** stars

It won't win me any fans, but traditional blues just doesn't do it for me.  This is one of the exceptions with some nifty Gallagher slide and even some nice jazzy moves.   One of those rare hardcore blues tunes I actually enjoy.    
3.) Sugar Mama   (Rory Gallagher) - 7:14  
rating: *** stars

Gallagher's reputation is rightfully based on his guitar, but that ignores what a good singer the man was.  Anyone doubting that comment should check this one out.   Yeah, 'Sugar Mama' was a bit too bluesy for me, but when the molten blues-rock moves kicked in, it quickly became clear that Gallagher and company could give blues-rockers like Free and the almighty Zeppelin a run for their money.   Again, be forewarned the sound quality is lacking, but YouTube has another performance clip from the 1969 Jazz Bilzen Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8FS2LxdmVc     
4.) Hail   (Rory Gallagher) - 2:35  
rating: *** stars

Acoustic blues tune - just Gallagher accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.   Geez, what does it take to play guitar like this?  And you thought Robert Johnson was the only one to have sold his soul for the talent ...   LOL  
5.) Born on the Wrong Side of Time   (Rory Gallagher) - 4:00  
rating: **** stars

For anyone who thought Gallagher and company were only capable of churning out traditional blues numbers, check out the surprisingly commercial rocker 'Born on the Wrong Side of Time'.   Okay, the midsection had a typically '60s vibe, but the rest of the song was simply killer.   The track was released as a single in the Ireland, Japan, and the UK:

   UK

- 1969's 'Born on the Wrong Side of Time" b/w 'Same Old Story' (Polydor catalog number 56313)

   Denmark

- 1969's ' Born on the Wrong Side of Time" b/w 'Same Old Story' (Polydor catalog number NH 56313)

   Ireland

- 1969's ' Born on the Wrong Side of Time" b/w 'Same Old Story' (Polydor catalog number NH 59298)

   Japan

- 1969's ' Born on the Wrong Side of Time" b/w 'Same Old Story' (Polydor catalog number DP-1646)

(side 2)

1.) Dual Carriageway Pain   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:13   rating: **** stars

Probably my favorite song on the album ...  Gallagher just sounded like he was having a blast on this one and his guitar work was ...  awesome.   
2.) Same Old Story   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:32   
rating: **** stars

The two solos on this one might be worth the price of admission alone.  
3.) Catfish (traditional arranged by Rory Gallagher) - 8:04  
rating: **** stars

Normally an eight minute electric blues number would simply bore me to pieces ...  Clocking in at just over eight minutes,  Gallagher's cover of the traditional blues tune 'Catfish' was simply too short.
4.) I'm Movin' On   (Hank Snow) - 2:29 
   rating: ** stars

The old Hank Snow tune in a acoustic blues arrangement.  Technically impressive, but didn't do much for me. 

 

 



Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  On the Boards

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-322

Year: 1970

Country/State: Ireland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6114

Price: $20.00

 

Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  On the Boards

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 583 083

Year: 1970

Country/State: Ireland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing; textured sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6115

Price: $20.00

 

With Rory Gallagher again responsible for all of the material, 1970's "On the Boards" wasn't a major change in musical direction, though the trio sounded more relaxed and comfortable this time around, exploring some directions not undertaken on the debut.  At the risk of alienating long standing fans, exemplified by material such as 'Railway and Gun' and 'If I Don't Sing I'll Cry', blues-rock remained the predominant genre.  That said, 'What's Going On' and 'Morning Sun' made it clear Gallagher and company were capable of handling conventional rock, as well as lighter, more pop-oriented numbers. Elsewhere, 'I'll Remember' found the trio offering up their best Cream impersonation. Weirdest offering here - the scat jazzy 'It's Happened Before, It'll Happen Again' (did you know Gallagher played alto sax?). An English top-20 hit, the collection vanished without a trace in the States.

 

"On the Boards" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) What's Going On   (Rory Gallagher) - 2:49    rating: **** stars

Anyone who didn't think Gallagher and company could really rock out only needed to check out the blazing opener 'What's Going On'.  Gallagher's speed and prowess were seldom displayed as well ...  

2.) Railway and Gun   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:38      rating: ** stars

While it took awhile to get into a groove, once it got going 'Railway and Gun' was a pretty good, if conventional blues-rock number.

3.) It's Happened Before, It'll Happen Again   (Rory Gallagher) - 6:30     rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, 'It's Happened Before, It'll Happen Again' was the album's oddest offering with Gallagher and company taking a stab a a jazzy number (complete with an extended, slight discordant Gallagher sax solo).  Gallagher's guitar work was actually pretty interesting, but the surprising secret weapon on this track was actually Charlie McCrackin's hyperactive bass line.   I'll give it an extra star for the weirdness factor ... 

4.) If the Day Were Any Longer   (Rory Gallagher) - 2:08     rating: **** stars

Even with the needless harmonica solo, 'If the Day Were Any Longer' was one of Gallagher's prettier ballads (and one of the few tracks that didn't include a full out guitar solo).  The song also served to showcase who good Gallagher's voice was ...       

5.) Morning Sun   (Rory Gallagher) - 2:37     rating: **** stars

A rollicking blues-rocker with one of the album's best Gallagher solos, 'Morning Sun' ended side on of a high note.  


(side 2)

1.) Eat My Words   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:44     rating: **** stars

I remember seeing Gallagher in the mid-1970s playing a free concert in downtown Brussels, Belgium (hi Mark - remember running into that bar to grab some beers during the show), and the image that remains with me some thirty years later is his amazing slide guitar.  'Eat My Words' serves as a wonderful platform to hear this side of his repertoire.  Kiiller tune.   

2.) On the Boards   (Rory Gallagher) - 6:00     rating: **** stars

Almost psychedelic, the atmospheric title track showcased one of Gallagher's most melodic solos.  Simply gorgeous and one of my all time favorite Gallagher performances ...  Clocking it at 6 minutes it was simply too short.    

3.) If I Don't Sing I'll Cry   (Rory Gallagher) - 2:37    rating: ** stars

'If I Don't Sing I'll Cry' found Gallagher returning to conventional blues-rock.  Professional, but other than the weird vocal effect on the chorus (which was actually kind of cool), the track was pedestrian and ultimately kind of forgettable.

4.) See Here   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:03     rating: **** stars

Just Rory Gallagher and his acoustic guitar, 'See Here' was a pretty, stripped down ballad.  Hard to believe how impressive this simple number was.  A perfect way to hear the man's amazing gifts ...  

5.) I'll Remember   (Rory Gallagher) - 3:00     rating: **** stars

'I'll Remember' ended the album with another jazz-tinged rocker.  Whereas 'See Here' showcased how good Gallagher could be on his own in a barebones environment, this one showcased how good he could be in a band format.  And yes, I had to admit the guitar and scat segment was friggin' impressive.   Another track I wish had been stretched out a bit longer ...     

 

I've never owned a copy, but the album was actually tapped for a couple of singles, though for some reason the latter 45 was only released in Spain:

 

 

- 1970's 'What's Going On' b/w 'Railway and Gun' (Polydor catalog number 2058 008)

- 1970's 'What's Going On' b/w Morning Sun' (Polydor catalog number ???)

- 1970's 'If I Don't Sing I'll Cry' b/w 'I'll Remember' (Polydor catalog number 20 56 17)

 

All told a good place to dip your toe into Gallagher's earlier career and you can still find cheap copies.

 

There are scores of Rory Gallagher websites out there and there are quite a few Taste sites as well.  One of the better ones is Ducth site:

 

http://rorygallagherandtaste.nl/

 

 

 

 



Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Live Taste

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 231 0082

Year: 1971

Country/State: Ireland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments:  minor ring wear; UK pressing

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

 

1971's "Live Tastewas released in the wake of Gallagher's decision to break up the band and start a solo career.  Produced by Tony Cotton, the album captured the trio during a 1970 performance at a casino in Montreaux, Switzerland.  Heavy on extended blues covers, the set's probably a little too plodding for casual fans, though it did an admirable job of capturing the trio's in-concert chops.  (The set didn't see an American release.)

 

"Live Taste" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Sugar Mama   (traditional - arranged by Rory Gallagher) - 8:29

3,) Gamblin' Blues   (Jackson) - 6:18

3.) I Feel So Good (Part 1)   (Wild Bill Broonzy) - 3:39

 

(side 2)

1.) I Feel So Good (Part 2)  (Wild Bill Broonzy) - 4:00

2.) Catfish   (traditional - arranged by Rory Gallagher) -  9:30

3.) Same Old Story   (Rory Gallagher) - 5:42 

 


Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Taste Live at the Isle of Wight

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 238 3120

Year: 1971

Country/State: Ireland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1384

Price: $20.00

 

The second posthumous Rory Gallagher concert set, 1971's "Taste Live at the Isle of Wight" captured Gallagher and company playingl before some 600,000 largely stoned fans at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Taste played on the third day of the event, following Canadiain horn-rockers Lighthouse.  Interestingly the band had to play with borrowed equipment since some low life creatures stole all their gear.   The fact the album sounded as good as it did was quite a reflection on the band's tenacity and professionalism.    In terms of content the set wasn't all that different than the first live release; both sets including extended versions of 'Sugar Mama' and 'I Feel So Good'.  The audio quality was quite good, with two of the extended blues numbers covered the same ground as the earlier album.  If you were on a limited budget and had to pick between this and "Live Taste", the nod probably goes to this set since it contained five Gallagher originals.  Of course a true Gallagher fan would skip a couple of lunches and pick up both collections.    (For some reason the set didn't see an American release.)   Was it the definitive Gallagher live collection ?   Nah.  It was released as a Gallagher solo effort, but  I'd go with "Irish Tour '74".

 

"Taste Live at the Isle of Wight" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) What's Going On   (Rory Gallagher) - 5.28

One of Gallagher's most tuneful compositions, though the performance sounded a bit thin.  Kudos to Charlie McCrackin for giving Gallagher a run for his money as he tried to keep up with his boss.   rating: *** stars

2.) Sugar Mama   (Rory Gallagher) - 9.43

As much as I love Gallagher, I'll be the first to admit some of his extended blues-rock numbers seem endless.   This fell in that category.  rating: ** stars

3.) Morning Sun   (Rory Gallagher) - 4.19

When it got going 'Morning Sun' almost sounded like an update of a traditional Irish jig.    Awesome fretwork.   rating: *** stars

4.) Sinner Boy   (Rory Gallagher) - 5.15

Anyone who thought Gallagher was nothing more than a blues purist would do well to check out this blazing rocker ...   Not only did it rock out big time, but it was actually quite funky, displaying some of his tasty slide moves.  Easily the album's highlight.    rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) I Feel So Good   (Wild Bill Broonzy) - 9.04

Clocking in at over nine minutes with plenty of room for McCrackin and John Wilson solos,, this version of 'I Feel So Good' was energetic, but a bit too long for its own good.   rating: *** stars

2.) Catfish    (traditional - arranged by Rory Gallagher)- 13.55

The band's encore, 'Catfish' was clearly intended as a tour-de-force but stretched out over thirteen minutes, by the end you just kind of wished they wrap it up and let the next band get on stage.   Any idea who they would have been ?   A true reflection of the festivals eclectic line-up, the follow-on act was Tony Joe White.   rating: *** stars

 

 


 

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