The original Gallagher

@xtcfans aka-Andy Partridge

I converse regularly on Twitter. I have a very small band of followers but follow a much larger positive orchestra. One of my firm favourites is @xtcfans the twitter name for Andy Partridge. To those utter philistines, Andy Partridge is lead guitarist and singer of XTC. They happen to be the finest English rock band to ever come out of Swindon (or anywhere else for that matter). Andy Partridge is a hugely entertaining and intelligent bloke as well as being a brilliant songwriter. His guitar playing style is unconventional, choosing often unlikely chord progressions and key changes. he is not a flashy player but obviously is no slouch either.

His Twitter contributions consist mainly of question and answer sessions. He appears to answer every question succinctly but honestly. I was intrigued as to whom influenced his guitar playing style? Andy answered by citing Jimi Hendrix who I have heard much of his material and Rory Gallagher of whom I had heard nothing at all. I then tweeted Andy again to ask what he would advise me to listen to as a starting point. He suggested the album ‘Deuce’ as a good starting point. I duly obtained a copy of the aforesaid and have listened fairly regularly since then. Rory Gallagher was an exceptional blues/rock/folk guitarist from County Donegal in Ireland. He was born in 1948 and rose to notoriety as part of a three piece called Taste. After they split in 1970 he went solo. He continued recording until 1990, releasing eleven studio albums. He died in London in 1995.  He is much revered by such luminaries as Johnny Marr, Slash, Gary Moore, the Edge as well as Mr Partridge. His virtuoso style of playing is very original in the way that much of the guitar sound of XTC is. ‘Deuce’ his second solo album released in 1971 and is a fantastic mix of blues,rock, folk almost bluegrass styles. The  track ‘Should’ve Learned My Lesson’ is classic blues almost in the style of BB King or Muddy Waters. ‘Crest Of A Wave’ is more rock orientated but has some unpredictable chord changes and fantastic bottleneck slide solo almost Jimmy Page-esque. ‘ I’m Not Awake Yet’ has definite folk roots and is probably my favourite track on the album featuring acoustic guitar both as rhythm and lead. ‘Used to Be’ sounds like Eric Clapton or Peter Green at his height and is great driven hard blues number. ‘Out of My Mind’ is very bluegrass in its style and shows off his versatility. ‘Persuasion’ is another great driven rock track that could have flew off the frets of fellow celtic rockers Thin Lizzy. It is in short a great album that has opened my eyes to the wider world of Rory Gallagher. I am aware that the more modern Gallagher’s (or Gallargers as Mark Radcliffe pronounces them), are prominent in the public conscience these days. Noel’s first solo offering is in my opinion a step up from latter Oasis material. Liam and his Beady Eye project are less convincing.
If we are talking about Gallagher’s though, I urge you to listen to, download or even buy ‘Deuce’ by Rory. How good a guitarist was he? Jimi Hendrix was asked in a 1969 interview shortly after Woodstock, “So Jimi, what’s it like to be the best guitarist in the world?” Jimi replied “I don’t know, ask Rory Gallagher”.


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