Rory Gallagher – All Around Man, Live in London: Album Review

23-track live album of unreleased material taken from a previously undocumented period of one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

Release date:  7th July 2023

Label: UMC

Format: 2CD / 3LP

 If told I had to sacrifice all my blues albums but be allowed to keep one collection, it would be that of Rory Gallagher.  It would be a difficult choice between him and Peter Green, but throughout the 70’s, I must have been to see Rory Gallagher more than anyone else. For pure excitement, power, hot riffs and stunning solos he had no equal.

Considering he performed as a three-piece with just him, drum and bass, I’ve never seen any other group whose sound filled every cubic centimetre of the room as much as they did. Every performance was exhilarating and breathless and after the show, the sounds rang in your ears for days. He was never ear-splittingly loud or confused with intricate solos, it’s just that the heart-pounding performance you experienced and every glorious sound you had taken in was totally exquisite.

Every feature of these 2  CD’s completely replicates every element of those live concerts. Recorded live in 1990 as Gallagher released his final album, Fresh Evidence, show how his performances and versatility shortly before he all too early passed away hadn’t waned. It beggars belief what he could have gone on to write and achieved had he survived into his 50’s or even longer. 

Listening to these recordings, I am transported back to Manchester’s Free Trade Hall which i regularly visited. It is completely impossible to single out one track out of the 23  as every one is pure blues rock gold. If Rolling Stone recognised him as the 57th greatest guitarist of all time somebody must have pinched a whole stack of voting papers to put 56 ahead of him. He wasn’t flash, he wasn’t overly loud, and his songs may not have been commercially successful in terms of chart success but read the stack of artists from several musical eras who have paid tribute to him and admitted how much he influenced them – Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Johnny Marr, Slash, Brian May, Joe Bonamassa to pick out just a few – and you can see how that 57th slot is completely underrated!

This performance is recorded over two nights at the Town & Country Club in London in December 1990, and if you’ve never heard Rory Gallagher before it is a perfect introduction as it includes tracks from the Fresh Evidence album that was released in May 1990. This album features captivating live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1987 Defender album and regular songs on his career set list like Tattooed Lady, Messin With TheKid and Bullfrog Blues.

Rory Gallagher’s memorable and legendary live performances are already famously represented on the classic albums  Live! In Europe and Irish Tour ’74, yet All Around Man – Live in London matches those albums. He was never a man of many words either on stage or off. He didn’t need to be, this release shows that his live performances says all he had to say.

Rory Gallagher online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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2 replies »

  1. Were you at the Rory gig in the Free Trade Hall when the power went off and he entertained us all in the dark on his mandolin? When the power came back on the the band joined in on time and in key to the verse of Going to my Home Town. Awesome

  2. rod i bootlegged the very same thing but that was at Manchester Apollo oct 78 he did an accoustic set no power , it died off in calling card, amazing

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