Archive for Photo Finish

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Rory Gallagher- Stage Struck

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, films, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2014 by 80smetalman


I must confess that I’m cheating a little bit here. I never heard of Rory Gallagher until 1982 when the ship I was on played a concert video of him live at Montreux. Even then, the video didn’t name the brilliant guitarist who was kicking so much ass in the video. It was another four months before I finally learned his name. Because I saw the video so early in that year, I naturally assumed that the concert took place in 1981 and it was in support of an album he released in the year. However, I learned that “Stage Struck” was actually released in the tail end of 1980. Therefore, to quote from “Full Metal Jacket:” “That’s why God passed the law of probability.” I can infer that because I was still serving on a ship at the time, I wouldn’t have known about this album until early 1981 and that is why I am including it in this year.

I can’t say that any of the songs from this album were recorded from the concert I watched. There is a “Live At Montreux” that was released in the later years but that’s irrelevant here. Because “Stage Struck” is a brilliant live album that showcases the music and talent of this wonder. The majority of the songs on it are from his last two studio albums, “Top Priority” (I’m kicking myself for not visiting that one in 1979) and “Photo Finish,” which I did. It’s no wonder this album is so good.

He opens the show with a song that if he was still alive and could play at my dream festival, it would be in his contract that he opens his set with “Shin Kicker.” It is also the opener for the “Photo Finish” album and there is no better song in which to open a concert or show. It’s one of those that grabs you by the balls and makes you give it your undivided attention. Nor do you get time to rest before the second one, “Wayward Child” takes over and you’re rocking away to it. Right after that, there is probably my all time favourite Rory Gallagher song, “Brute Force and Ignorance.” A great blues/rock gem that features some great guitar work. But the guitar display doesn’t end there. The next three tracks are all big blues rockers with him soloing away to the point that you are left feeling breathless. The last two songs, “Last of the Independents” and “Shadow Play” are great songs from the “Photo Finish” album that take the album to the climax. I can’t say conclusion because if I was at the concert and it ended here, I would have my lit cigarette lighter and held it aloft screaming for more.

Track Listing:

1. Shin Kicker

2. Wayward Child

3. Brute Force and Ignorance

4. Moonchild

5. Follow Me

6. Bought and Sold

7. Last of the Independents

8. Shadow Play

Rory Gallagher

          Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher- vocals, guitar, harmonica

Gerry McAvoy- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

I believe that Rory Gallagher never quite got the total recognition he should have. I know many Americans who have never heard of him and that’s a shame. Rory was a great guitarist and a decent singer. One concert video from more than thirty years ago, still remains strong in my memory and the albums I have posted here also bear witness to his greatness.

Next post: Laina Dawes book- “What Are You Doing Here?” My thoughts

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Great Rock Albums, 1978: Rory Gallagher- Photo Finish

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2012 by 80smetalman

It was 1982 when I first discovered Rory Gallagher and then it was several months later before I learned his name.  The encounter happened when I was on sea duty in the marines. The ship’ s onboard tv station would show anything that came to hand, the many reruns of  the then popular sitcom “Alice” laid proof to that. One evening, when expecting the same, I saw a three piece band on the television, with most of the camera focused on the guitarist/singer. I didn’t know who they were and there was much speculation among my fellow marines, but what we all agreed was, these guys could jam. The guitarist especially was “bitchin’.”

A few months later, the mystery as to who had rocked us out was finally solved. While on liberty in Barcelona, Spain, we were in a bar that decorated its walls with album covers. I could amaze you with some of the great albums that were stuck on them, but I won’t. However, in amongst those albums was the “Photo Finish” album by Rory Gallagher. Fortunately, we weren’t drunk enough yet so we could all look and agree that the person on the front cover of the album was that guitar ace who had dazzled us a few months earlier. Unfortunately, I waited a month to when I went home on leave to purchase this album and being Sound Odyssey in South Jersey, they had no clue what I meant and said they couldn’t get it. (Probably weren’t bothered.) But there is a happy ending. Four years later, I came to the UK and saw that this album was still readily available. Needless to say, I purchased it there and then and haven’t regretted it since.

Not only should Rory Gallagher have been included in my “Great Guitarists of the 70s” post many months ago, he also is number one on my list of “Great acts who never made it in America.” Many Americans, although I am bracing myself for replies to the contrary, haven’t heard of Rory Gallagher and know what a great musician he was. I say “was” because his death in 1995 robbed the world of yet another great musician.

“Photo Finish” is proof in the pudding of what a great guitarist Rory Gallagher was. Each of the tracks on this album displays a unique riff coming from his talented hand and every track on it shines in its own way. Unlike a lot of albums, I can subvocalise most of the songs and am right now playing them in my head. Obviously some stand out more than others. My favourites are “Shin Kicker,” “Brute Force and Ignorance,” “The Mississippi Sheiks,” “Cloak and Dagger” and “Shadow Play.”

Track Listing:

1. Shin Kicker

2. Brute Force and Ignorance

3. Cruise on Out

4. Cloak and Dagger

5. Overnight Bag

6. Shadow Play

7. The Mississippi Sheiks

8. Last of the Independents

9. Fuel to the Fire

10. Early Warning

11. Juke Box Annie


Rory Gallagher- guitar/vocals

Gerry McAvoy- bass

Ted McKenna- drums

For a classic blues based album, this is one of the best. It shows that Rory Gallagher deserves his place along with the greatest guitarists. For metal heads, there are some great rocking moments on it as well, another reason why it appeals to so many. “Photo Finish” is definitely, for many Americans anyway, a great undiscovered gem.

Next post: Patty Smith- Easter

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle

 p.s. I have just learned from a friend that when Jimi Hendrix was asked in an interview at Woodstock what it was like to be the world’s greatest guitarist, he responded with “I don’t know, ask Rory Gallagher.”