Rory Gallagher / ‘The Best Of’ is a stellar ensemble of music

There is pretty much no middle ground when it comes to compilation albums. They are either an all killer blissful and nostalgic listening experience, or simply stink to high heaven of a contractual cash grab. But when it comes to Rory Gallagher, it is virtually impossible to get an anticlimactic dud.

Rory Gallagher – The Best Of Rory Gallagher (UMC)

Release Date: 9 October 2020

Words: Brian Boyle

From 1974’s ‘The Story So Far’ to this years ‘Check Street Wizard’ live collection and the other dozen-odd in between, you are going to get quality and bang for your buck whatever the content.

The music world lost the incomparable talent of William Rory Gallagher on 14 June 1995.

From Eric Clapton to Johnny Marr, Brian May to James Dean Bradfield, Slash to The Edge, they have all credited him as a towering influence and of course the ‘at the time untouchable’ Jimi Hendrix labelled him the “greatest Rock guitarist in the world”.

And the legacy of this self taught genius is still as powerful as it ever was.

Albert Lee, Peter Frampton, Rory, Jerry Lee Lewis. Photo © Strange Music Ltd
Albert Lee, Peter Frampton, Rory, Jerry Lee Lewis. Photo © Strange Music Ltd

‘The Best Of Rory Gallagher’ might sound generic and a bit dull for a title and while there will probably be gasps of disapproval at what is not included, it pretty much matches its billing.

On offer is a 2LP/1 CD containg 15 tracks, but if you want the whole story I suggest you do it properly, go large and grab the 30 track double CD.

This opens with ‘What’s Going On’, a magical reminder of his Taste days and a band that need to discovered by those only scraping the Gallagher surface.

The Best Of Rory Gallagher
1971: In the studio. Photo © Mick Rock c/o Strange Music Ltd

What follows is a hat trick of his more undiluted Rock tunes with ‘Shadow Play’, ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Tattooed Lady’, three monster songs that shaped Gallagher’s career in the 70’s.

The superb ‘Daughter Of The Everglades’ is a track that should be included on every Gallagher compilation. It’s silky guitar tones and Lou Martin’s punchy ivory tickling, still make the tummy flutter.

1971’s ‘Duece’ is well represented by ‘Crest Of A Wave’, ‘I’m Not Awake Yet’ and ‘Out Of My Mind’, but to be a little greedy, an inclusion of the live version of ‘Used To Be’ that appeared on ‘Check Street Wizard-Live in 77’ would’ve properly have sufficed.

And speaking of live tracks, it’s a pity a couple of tracks from the classic ‘Irish Tour 74’ album weren’t squeezed in.

But in all fairness, across the fourteen albums covered, the song choices curated pretty much sum up the versatility and quality of probably the finest Blues Rock guitarist there has ever been.

The Best Of Rory Gallagher
Rory 1971. Photo © Mick Rock/Strange Music Ltd

One song you couldn’t predict showing up was his previously unreleased collaboration with Honky Tonk legend Jerry Lee Lewis on The Rolling Stones classic ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’.

Bizarrely this was an unused outtake from the Lewis’s 1973 star studded ‘London Sessions’ album.

But as they say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and this is without doubt a gleaming gem.

On the whole, Gallagher collectors and aficionados should not be disappointed with this stellar ensemble of music.

And for those new to the experience, a good chunk of his essential listening like ‘Bad Penny’, ‘Moonchild’, ‘Loanshark Blues’ and ‘A Million Miles Away’ will set you on a truly enjoyable journey.

The man who on 29 December 29 1974 at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, braved The Troubles in Northern Ireland to bring Catholics and Protestants together in a night of Blues Rock abandon, continues to have a unifying effect on music lovers the world over.

And if you’ve been lucky enough to attend the annual Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival in Ballyshannon, you will know exactly what I mean.

Formats: 2LP black vinyl, limited 2LP clear vinyl, 2CD, 1CD, Digital HD, Digital Standard

The Best of Rory Gallagher is released on 9 October by UMC. Pre-order the album from here.

Double CD Version Track Listing:


1. Taste – What’s Going On (from 1970’s ‘On The Boards’ LP) 2:48
2. Rory Gallagher – Shadow Play (from 1978’s ‘Photo Finish’ LP 4:47
3. Rory Gallagher – Follow Me (from 1979’s ‘Top Priority’ LP) 4:40
4. Rory Gallagher – Tattoo’d Lady (from 1973’s ‘Tattoo’ LP) 4:41
5. Rory Gallagher – All Around Man (from 1975’s ‘Against The Grain’ LP) 6:15
6. Rory Gallagher – I Fall Apart (from 1971’s ‘Rory Gallagher’ LP) 5:12
7. Rory Gallagher – Daughter Of The Everglades (from 1973’s ‘Blueprint” LP) 6:12
8. Rory Gallagher – Calling Card (from 1976’s ‘Calling Card’ LP) 5:24
9. Rory Gallagher – I’m Not Awake Yet (from 1971’s ‘Deuce’ LP) 5:37
10. Rory Gallagher – Just The Smile (from 1971’s ‘Rory Gallagher’ LP) 3:41
11. Rory Gallagher – Out Of My Mind (from 1971’s ‘Deuce’ LP) 3:06
12. Rory Gallagher – Edged In Blue (from 1976’s ‘Calling Card’ LP) 5:29
13. Rory Gallagher – Philby (from 1979’s ‘Top Priority’ LP) 3:50
14. Taste – It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again (from 1970’s ‘On The Boards’ LP) 6:33
15. Rory Gallagher – Crest Of A Wave (from 1971’s ‘Deuce’ LP) 5:54


1. Rory Gallagher – Bad Penny (from 1979’s ‘Top Priority’ LP) 4:04
2. Rory Gallagher – Walk On Hot Coals (from 1973’s ‘Blueprint’ LP) 7:02
3. Taste – Blister On The Moon (from 1969’s ‘Taste’ LP) 3:27
4. Rory Gallagher – Loanshark Blues (from 1987’s ‘Defender’ LP) 4:27
5. Rory Gallagher – Bought & Sold (from 1975’s ‘Against The Grain’ LP) 3:26
6. Rory Gallagher – A Million Miles Away (from 1973’s from the Tattoo LP) 6:56
7. Rory Gallagher – Wheels Within Wheels (from 2010’s ‘Notes From San Francisco’ LP) 3:38
8. Rory Gallagher – Seven Days (from 1987’s ‘Defender’ LP) 5:14
9. Rory Gallagher – Ghost Blues (from 1990’s ‘Fresh Evidence’ LP) 8:00
10. Rory Gallagher – Cruise On Out (from 1978’s ‘Photo Finish’ LP) 4:42
11. Jerry Lee Lewis ft. Rory Gallagher – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1973 outtake from the Jerry Lee Lewis ‘The Session… Recorded in London With Great Guest Artists’ LP) 3:50
12. Rory Gallagher – They Don’t Make Them Like You Anymore (from 1973’s ‘Tattoo’ LP) 4:05
13. Rory Gallagher – Moonchild (from 1976’s ‘Calling Card’ LP) 4:47
14. Rory Gallagher – Jinxed (from 1982’s ‘Jinx’ LP) 5:12
15. Taste – Catfish (from 1969’s ‘Taste’ LP) 8:06

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