Thursday 17 October 2019

Rory Gallagher remembered during Enniscorthy blues festival

Ibar Carty, Donal Gallagher and his son Eoin Gallagher
Ibar Carty, Donal Gallagher and his son Eoin Gallagher

Brendan Keane

A fascinating insight into the greatest guitar player Ireland has ever produced was presented in Enniscorthy Castle last weekend.

The name Rory Gallagher is synonymous with blues rock and his recordings have ensured that his name will forever be etched in the annals of world rock history.

However, on Saturday afternoon his brother, Donal, who was also his tour manager, gave an intriguing insight into the man behind the music.

From growing up in a household steeped in traditional Irish music to listening to American jazz because of the benefits of a military radio signal the stories recalled by Donal were captivating.

He highlighted how his brother was a visionary and very driven to succeed with some of the anecdotes invoking much laughter from the audience.

When he was in his late teens Rory managed to buy the Fender stratocaster with which he would become synonymous.

However, the story of how Donal was appointed to point duty by his brother to make sure no-one touched the guitar as it was kept hidden under the bed was told with the warmth and sincerity of someone who was fondly remembering a brother with whom he had an obviously strong bond.

When asked if there was a particular song that his brother felt was the best recording he ever made Donal said Rory was always looking forward.

'He would always be trying out new things in the studio,' he said.

'He would look at new ways of recording instruments, experimenting with sound,' he added.

'I suppose the album Calling Card is one that possibly captured [a lot] of what he was about but that's really from a personal perspective'.

Donal also revealed that on one occasion both Rory and the late Gary Moore, another Irish rock legend, jammed together in a hotel room invoking for everyone present an image of what must have been a truly incredible session.

Donal's son, Eoin, was also present at the event honouring his uncle.

Two of Rory's guitars and some of his stage gear also attracted a lot of attention and images of the rock legend on stage added to the vibe of a truly memorable event.

Enniscorthy Guardian