Reviews roundup ~ Rory Gallagher ~ Tamara L Wilson ~ Crossroads

Reviews roundup ~ Rory Gallagher ~ Tamara L Wilson ~ Crossroads

Rory Gallagher 50th Anniversary Box Set


50 years, eh? I suppose that’s worthy of a reissue. But what you’re getting here is a REISSUE!

Yup, that 10 track album that took up 45 minutes of your life has now been expanded to a megalith that will take up most of the rest of your life. Deep breath…

There’s a brand-new mix of the original album, 30 previously unreleased outtakes and alternate takes, a six-song 1971 BBC Radio John Peel Sunday Concert, plus four 1971 BBC Radio Sounds of the Seventies session tracks, all mastered at Abbey Road Studios. Also included is a previously unreleased 50-minute DVD of Rory’s first-ever solo concert which was filmed in Paris for the “Pop Deux” television show. The box set package also has a 32-page hardback book with photos, essays and memorabilia from the album recording including hand-written song lyrics by Rory, and an exclusive limited-edition poster. There’s also 2CD and 3LP editions of the album will be cut-down versions from the deluxe box set. There will also be a special limited-edition Neon Orange (transparent) 1LP featuring the BBC Sunday Concert exclusively available via uDiscover and Sound of Vinyl. That’s a whole lotta Rory.

Is it worth it? Meh. His debut was good but it’s not his best. “Laundromat”, “Wave Myself Goodbye”, “Hands Up”, “Sinner Boy” and “I’m Not Surprised” still hold up. I’d actually forgotten how good “Wave Myself Goodbye” is with some lovely piano from a moonlighting Vincent Crane (Atomic Rooster). But a lot of the out-takes don’t sound much different from the finished versions and no-one needs four versions of “At The Bottom”. Although the six versions of “Hands Up” almost made me forget I actually really like the song. The fourth disc with the BBC live stuff is the real winner.

I’ve only got the audio but the DVD is probably worth a peek at too. But for what’s getting on to close to £100 I’m not in the least bit tempted. The vinyl may be worth a sniff, especially the Sunday Concert but as that’s plastered with a self confessed paedos name I’ll probably give it a bye. One for the absolute diehards.

Let It Go


Peace, love and happiness, eh? That’ll be shining.

But as little as I believe in it, I’m glad there are people out there who do. And Ms Wilson is one of them.

A new name to me but apparently she has an earlier album and a sprinkling of EPs to her name. It’s singer / songwritery stuff and the opening ballad “It’s Your Life (Believe)” is just hoaching with positive vibes. I was expecting more of the same but she stymied my hackneyed anticipation with the bright and bouncy brass that opens up “Little More Love” makes it the standout for me. It’s quite nineties sounding summer pop but the melody is thoroughly infections. Seems that was a single release last year and you can understand why that was punted out to the great listening public.

“Let It Go” (no, not that one) is another melodic delight which for some reason reminds me of long lost nineties popstrel Zoë Pollock. The brass returns on “Have It All” and it makes many a nod to classic soul music. She’s got a nice voice and there isn’t s duff song here. One of those ones where you wonder why she hasn’t had the breaks.

Fire In The Valley


A self proclaimed rock / country rock band from Maine. Which is one of those states you wonder might be made up. I mean, Maine?

Anyway, they’ve been on the go since 2016 playing clubs across the state and this sees them presenting twelve tracks of original material. And it’s Ok-ish.

There are some decent songs and plenty of good guitar lines right across the board. They’re not really country rock, mind, more Southern rock ala the Outlaws, especially on the likes of the title track I’m guessing the lockdown gave them plenty time to work on songs, away from the cover band staples.

The keyboard work is good as well but there are a couple of things that need sorting. The sequencing is one of them. The opening “Complicated” is the worst song here. You might get away with that mid-album but not up front. The other, and by the far most important, thing are the vocals. They’re split between four members of the band with female vocals on five of the tracks. And none of them are great. Now that’s a problem. You can get away with a lot in a jam packed Friday night bar (I should know) but in the harsh light of the recording studio everything is open for inspection.

That’s something that really needs worked on as it holds back even the best of the songs. But musically there is certainly some promise.

St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton

The Rocker monthly reviews sampler now available on Spotify

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