Taste – On the Boards
For my first proper album post of a 1970 release, I present someone in whose music I’m currently immersing myself: Rory Gallagher. More accurately, it’s the second and final album by Gallagher’s band Taste before he set out on his own (the band continues to this day). Rory Gallagher is one of those names I heard and read a number of times before finally giving him a listen. I picked up his live album Irish Tour ’74 a few years back and instantly loved it, but for whatever reason didn’t begin to explore his other albums until more recently.
The band, originally a blues rock trio, was formed by Gallagher in Cork, Ireland in 1966, with Rory as the chief songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. Eric Kitteringham played bass, and Norman Damery was on drums. Though they headlined many of their own shows, some of Taste’s higher profile live performances came in support of Cream on their 1968 farewell tour, and later opening for Blind Faith during its North American tour of 1969. Later in 1970, after On the Boards‘ release, the band played a set on the third night of the epic Isle of Wight Festival. That performance was released on LP in 1971, and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. It was one of the last shows the band did before Gallagher set out on his own.
In addition to heavy blues and rock, on this recording they also express their jazz influence with Gallagher on saxophone as well as guitar. On the Boards, released 50 years ago yesterday (I’ve got some catching up to do…), was received well by critics for its precise musicianship which can be heard right out of the gate on What’s Going On? Gallagher’s versatility is even more apparent on the jazz-heavy track It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again featuring Rory on sax.
I do hear hints of other late 1960’s/early 70’s British blues rock bands on this album such as the Jeff Beck Group and Fleetwood Mac. The guitar sound on Eat My Words is reminiscent of Jimmy Page on Zeppelin tracks such as Traveling Riverside Blues. But comparisons such as these might be lazy on my part, as Taste and later solo Gallagher definitely had their own heavy but tight, compact sound. The exception here is the title track with its long, soulful and moody instrumental portion. There’s not a bad track on this album, which means it’s not a matter of acquiring a taste for Rory Gallagher’s music as suggested in the title of this entry. It’s simply about waking up and giving it a listen.
- What’s Going On?
- Railway and Gun
- It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again
- If the Day Was Any Longer
- Morning Sun
- Eat My Words
- On the Boards
- If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry
- See Here
- I’ll Remember