Column: Rory Gallagher's Kirkcaldy YMCA gig recalled

Rory Gallagher tuning up in the studo (Pic: Mick Rock/Strange Music)Rory Gallagher tuning up in the studo (Pic: Mick Rock/Strange Music)
Rory Gallagher tuning up in the studo (Pic: Mick Rock/Strange Music)
While congratulating Kings Live Lounge on the announcement in the last few weeks on their Grassroots Music funding I was reminded about some of the legendary names from the past that graced the stages of Kirkcaldy.

I will examine this more in the coming weeks but meantime I spoke to Jim Cooper who was General Secretary of the YMCA in Valley Gardens in the 1960s and what a lineup of bands they brought to Kirkcaldy.

One such band was a trio called Taste from Cork led by Rory Gallagher and his 1961 Fender Stratocaster.

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The hard-core music fans crammed into the tiny downstairs room at the YM to hear what was billed as ‘Irish blues group’ on the ticket priced at 5/- for members on the June 1, 1968.

Rory would play three more times for Jim before saying ‘you cannot afford me any longer’ although the fee increased with each appearance.

That same year they opened for Cream for the sold-out Farewell at Royal Albert Hall before a US tour with Blind Faith and a slot at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival with Hendrix, The Doors and The Who.

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Rory was a master of the guitar and it became an extension of him.

A new compilation released this week called The Best of Rory Gallagher gives a comprehensive review of his works.

The simplistically raw What’s Going On from the Taste years disguises the advanced jazz sounds of It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again yet blends into Shadow Play with better production and signature licks before Tattoo’d Lady has all the hallmarks of rock radio.

All Around Man has his slide guitar like no other yet Calling Card is modern blues absorbing the past with underlaid piano now from his later solo band.

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A rare gem is the unreleased (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction with Jerry Lee Lewis from his London Sessions.

Released as two LPs, limited clear vinyl LPs, CDs and digital and covers music from Taste to his final studio album in 1990.

Rory died after a failed liver transplant in June 1995 aged just 47.

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