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  RORY GALLAGHER: 'KICKBACK CITY' BOX-SET
(Sony Music CMG)
Release Date: 28th October 2013


Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

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kickback city

It felt like any other morning with a crisp, fresh vibe in the musty air. The dame had gone to work her dead-end job under the cover of the early morning darkness, stepping around the puddles which were the only signatures of the downpour the previous night.

Feeling the Autumnal chill, I slipped on some clothes and couldn't shake the thoughts that were in my head. There was an assignment that had to be tackled, that had to be shared with the world. An assignment like no other when compared to some of the jobs I'd had to chew on.

I sat down to write a review of a box set that initially spoke to me of pretention, but once I started to dig deeper revealed so much more. The box set was a collaborative package incorporating the varied talents of an author called Ian Rankin, an illustrator known as Timothy Truman and an actor that had paved a notable career and went by the name of Aidan Quinn.

Article continues below...

 
 


These three misfits were affiliated with a box set that came to my attention thanks to some publicity and an individual who will remain anonymous. The tip off was somehow concealed within the shadows of electronic mail, and it whispered to me.

I don't recall word for word what it said, but it contained a vague similarity along the lines of: "Gary, you're a no good waste of space who sits on his backside from morning to night. It's time for you to earn a pretty penny and wrap your eyes and ears around this collection."

They were right on a couple of accounts, and who was I to say no. I got bills to pay just like the next fella.

kickback city

Thinking back to how it all started stirs something in me, something that I cannot put my finger on. I guess I should start at the beginning.

It was a few minutes after noon as I rubbed my chin, feeling the prickles of my stubble, when the phone rang. I quietly hoped that it might be a guardian angel ready to inform me of a plan to whisk me off to 'Kickback City' to check out what others called 'The Lie Factory' but instead I heard the soft lilt of an Irish accent. The voice belonged to Rory Gallagher's brother, Donal Gallagher.

He sounded like it was business as usual, and over the course of our conversation had a lot to say. After all, he had lived and grown up with a guitarist and vocalist who shook things up and did things his own way.

Rory Gallagher was known for initially making an impact via a band known as Taste, but from 1971 through to 1990 had successfully built up a body of consistently strong work that allowed him the luxury of impressing and touching many famous hearts as a solo artist.

rory gallagher

The spell he cast reached such notable talents as Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers, Brian May and many, many others. Whether you stumbled across him through hearing a cover of his track 'Cradle Rock' by Joe Bonamassa for example, or you'd been there when the guitarist/vocalist was alive and performing emotive gigs, somehow this guy got under the skin.

"I knew my brother Rory was a great lover of crime books, and it was one of his hobbies and passions", began Gallagher's Brother as the story unfolded. He went on to fill me in on the work he was doing for an acoustic-based album by Rory and how during the mixing process the engineer informed him that the book he was reading was called 'A Question Of Blood' by Rankin. The protagonist in this book went by the name of Rebus and was a fan of Rory Gallagher.

"I thought about this idea of a crime novel", Donal advised when referring to talks with Sony about concepts and releases to do with Rory's back catalogue.

"Once I knew the record label were kind of interested in this crime idea then, I was going to Scotland, so I asked Ian if he would be kind enough to meet me and chat about the idea of; it was my son (Daniel Gallagher) actually said rather than get him to write the sleeve notes get him to write about something more specific."

With the concept of the crime theme sitting around for about two years, and with Donal accumulating around forty tracks that retained that sense of criminal character from the body of work that Rory had left behind, the plan was in motion.

"So I gave Ian these forty tracks like a jigsaw puzzle and said well actually, could you find a thread or a storyline through these songs?"

As it happens, Rankin completely got it and whilst this idea unravelled, another element to this intriguing story was taking place in the U.S.

A comic book called 'Grimjack' had an episode about a musician who carried a battered Stratocaster and resembled Rory Gallagher along with other subtle nods to the man.

"We made contact with the artist, a guy called Timothy Truman, who declared his love for Rory." Truman highlighted his general love of music and how he too played guitar and had worked on cover artwork for Grateful Dead amongst other things.

"I said, look I've got this idea. Ian Rankin's going to write the story, would you perhaps do some graphics for it?" enthused Donal as he reflected over the exchange of communications.

About a year or so went by as the process came together knitting the words of Rankin with the graphic design of Truman for the main character known as a Regan, the Private Investigator, or Agatha Dempsey, Kid Gloves and Anthony Costello amongst others. Donal then explained the thinking behind bringing in Quinn to provide a voice for Regan adding another dimension to the crime-themed concept.

"We had the story formed from Rory's lyrics and the graphics formed from Ian's writing so it had become quite elaborate by then; and actually thought well a lot of people who are, to make sure they would get it I felt that it needed almost an audio book because not everybody's you know, the greatest reader, and particularly crime plots can be a little bit entangled for people.

"So we approached Aidan Quinn because we wanted a voice with a good sort of American gang, detective accent if you like, that was non-descriptive, the 40s, 50s, whether it was Chicago, New York or L.A. or whatever."

I interrupt my recollections of that fateful conversation over the phone by taking a look at the hardcover book-like presentation of 'Kickback City', with Regan's image standing in the middle of the street. This was worthy of any top quality graphic novel I could have ever laid my hands on. Truman had done good; I couldn't dispute that.

As I leaf through the pages, there is the novella by Rankin which he titled 'The Lie Factory', the name for the city that Regan chooses to give it due to the criminal and illegal nature of how the city built its way up. Slipped in amongst the pages are pockets containing three CDs.

One is a studio-based compilation that showcases fourteen tracks from Rory's solo career that are appropriate to the story. A second CD is the remastered and audio version of the 'Live In Cork Opera House' film around the time of Rory's 1987 album 'Defender', with a third CD providing the audio book where Quinn does a fabulous job of putting a voice to Regan taking us through the story of 'The Lie Factory'.

If that wasn't sufficient, I then notice some postcards adding the cherry on top.

'Kickback City' is a lavish affair providing those who take the time to not only read a crime-based novella from the mind of Rankin, but also get to indulge the eyes with a feast of graphic novel proportioned imagery. The compilation of Rory's music is the inspiration behind the novella and had to be included, but what is a real treat for those Rory fans is the live CD which is a real bonus.

I'd spent several days going to and fro in my car with the third CD playing. Watching the road twist and turn to the soundtrack of Quinn's voice narrating the words that Rankin had set out for his novella. When I'd go back to the written material and read 'The Lie Factory', interestingly enough I heard Quinn's voice in my head. They were meant for each other.

Father and son team Donal and Daniel Gallagher haven't cut any corners making this box set a comprehensive and thrilling collection. I felt like this was real value for money and an interesting collaboration bringing together top names from different fields.

Would I dare visit 'Kickback City' and survive to tell my story? A scruffy urchin like me would be murdered in cold blood and buried without anyone noticing that I was gone. 'The Devil made me do it' I guess. I'm off to face those 'loanshark blues'.

So, on that thought, I'm off to dip in to this world that's all thanks to the initial works of Rory Gallagher, and then given a new lease of life by the ever-talented mind of Ian Rankin.

CD 1.
1. Kickback City
2. Continental Op
3. Kid Gloves
4. Big Guns
5. Loanshark Blues
6. Secret Agent
7. B Girl
8. Slumming Angel
9. Barley & Grape Rag
10. Doing Time
11. In Your Town
12. Sinner Boy
13. The Devil Made Me Do It
14. Seven Days

CD 2.
1. Continental Op
2. Tattoo'd Lady
3. I Ain't No Saint
4. Off The Handle
5. The Loop
6. Messin' With The Kid
7. Loanshark Blues

CD 3.
1. The Lie Factory – Narrated by Aidan Quinn


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27.10.13





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"This means that I am okay to get back to work, but I am told to ease back into it and on my own timeframe..."

turbowolf TURBOWOLF RELEASE BLISTERING NEW SINGLE 'NINE LIVES'
"Nine Lives is a song about making the most of our limited time; about living with no regrets; about changing our attitudes towards death and about life..."

arch enemy ARCH ENEMY ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DATES FOR 2015
European fans will see Arch Enemy again in late April. The band are coming back with support from US Metal force Unearth and Drone from Germany...

motley crue EXCLUSIVE: MOTLEY CRUE PAY TRIBUTE TO GARY GLITTER ON THE FINAL TOUR
Debauched rockers Motley Crue are currently in Japan performing their last Asian dates on their much publicised Final Tour...

music for nations LEGENDARY HEAVY METAL LABEL MUSIC FOR NATIONS IS BACK
As well as reissues, the label will be signing new artists for the first time in over a decade...

satyricon SATYRICON SIGNS WITH NAPALM RECORDS FOR RELEASE OF SPECTACULAR LIVE DVD
"It's not a live album. It's a celebration of what Satyricon stands for as a band..."

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'IN SOME WILD UNIVERSE' PLUS TOUR UPDATE
This video features the touring line-up of the band for 2015...

rival sons RIVAL SONS WITHDRAW FROM SOUNDWAVE 2015
Australia will have to wait a little longer to see Rival Sons in the flesh as family matters take priority...

the answer THE ANSWER RELEASE BRAND NEW LYRIC VIDEO FOR TRACK 'LONG LIVE THE RENEGADES'
"The song is about just doing what you do best and having a bit of a bunker mentality..."

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPE HEADLINE TOUR FOR JUNE 2015
US punk pioneers will bring their distincitve sound to four countries over ten dates...

carl sentance BREAKING NEWS: CARL SENTANCE ANNOUNCED AS NEW VOCALIST FOR NAZARETH
Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance replaces Linton Osbourne to start the next chapter for the Scottish hard rockers...

rockingham firefest BREAKING NEWS: ROCKINGHAM RELIGHTS THE FIREFEST; GOTTHARD, DAN REED, STAN BUSH AND MORE ANNOUNCED
The AOR flag will be raised high yet again over Nottingham Rock City...

pentagram PENTAGRAM RE-SIGNS WITH PEACEVILLE RECORDS - ALBUM RECORDING UNDERWAY
Through four decades of adversity and triumph, Pentagram have become a legendary international act...

uriah heep URIAH HEEP 2015 UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
This tour follows on from the release of the band's acclaimed album 'Outsider' which enjoyed excellent reviews...

godsmack GODSMACK VOCALIST SULLY ERNA TO MAKE AN ONLINE POKER COMEBACK
For Godsmack fans this could be disheartening as Erna shifts his attention from music to poker...

quo convention FIRST EVER STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION ANNOUNCED
There will be live music, very special guests and a packed programme this October for this very special celebration...

queensryche THUNDER CONFIRMED AS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS TO ZZ TOP AT WEMBLEY ARENA PLUS MINI UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
The group's first studio album in six years, 'Wonder Days', reminds us why Thunder are now more revered than ever before...

queensryche QUEENSRŸCHE TO TOUR EUROPE AND RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN 2015
It's a busy year for Queensrÿche with headline shows and festival appearances before the new album release...

dir en grey dir en grey RETURN FOR TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS
The Islington O2 Academy will be the scene for Japanese avant-garde Metal in May...

unleashed SWEDISH LEGENDS UNLEASHED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND ARTWORK
The founders of the Viking Death Metal movement are back and as brutal as ever...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ REVEAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'MY REMEDY'
Get a taste of the new album with 'My Remedy', the third single to be released...

Shattered sun LEGENDARY BRITISH MELODIC ROCKERS FM RETURN WITH 'HEROES & VILLAINS' ON APRIL 17TH
"We're on a roll! Some of the tracks on this album are better than anything that the band has ever produced, and Steve's voice is as good as ever..."

nightwish NIGHTWISH ANNOUNCE ONLY UK DATE THIS YEAR WITH ARCH ENEMY SUPPORTING
"Who would have thought about headlining at Wembley Arena one day when we were starting our UK touring history..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS GO UNPLUGGED AND PERSONAL: ACOUSTIC DATES ANNOUNCED
After last year's highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015...

killit KILLIT UNLEASH DEBUT VIDEO AND ANNOUNCE FIRST EVER LIVE SHOW
'Shut It Down' is the first single from the album and is out now and available...

state villains STATE VILLAINS TO RELEASE SECOND EP IN SPRING
State Villains have an honesty that harkens back to an era of integrity and a distinct lack of gimmicks...

chris slade BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS SLADE IS BACK IN AC/DC
Chris will rejoin the legendary hard rockers for their appearance at the 57th annual Grammy Awards as well as the band's upcoming tour...

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