An Irish Man On The Radio – Alternate BBC Sessions 1971 – 1973 (Godfatherecords G.R. 614)
Paris Theater, London – August 12, 1971 – Maybe I Will, I Could’ve Had Religion, Crest Of A Wave, Messin’ With The Kid
Bob Harris Show – July 10, 1972 – I Could’ve Had Religion, Messin’ With The Kid, The Cuckoo
Tommy Vance Friday Rock Show – February 5, 1973 – Walk On Hot Coals, Banker’s Blues
Saturday Rock Show – February 21, 1973 – Unmilitary Two Step, If I Had A Reason
Saturday Rock Show – May 12, 1973 – Tattoo’d Lady, Cradle Rock, A Million Miles Away
An Irish Man On The Radio from Godfather is a release documenting various BBC radio sessions from Rory Gallagher. He did an immense amount of recording for the BBC and the disc features five of these sessions from the early 70s, all within a two year span. To my knowledge, only a few of these tracks have been issued officially but all are excellent quality and deserve an official release.
Paris Theater features Gerry McAvoy on bass and Wilgar Campbell on drums and was recorded in front of a live audience. DJ Alan Black acts as MC and introduces some of the tracks as well as the band members. The power trio gives an inspired performance with the live audience bringing out that extra energy in their playing. In Alan Black’s words “I Could’ve Had Religion” features “some tasty slide guitar”.
For The Bob Harris Show, Rod de’Ath has taken over on drums after Wilgar Campbell’s departure. Along with the slow blues, “I Could’ve Had Religion”, they covers Junior Wells’ “Messin’ With The Kid” again for this program. “The Cuckoo” from this session features Rory alone on acoustic and vocal.
The two February 1973 sessions feature tracks exclusively from the Blueprint LP, released around this time. Along with McAvoy and de’Ath, Lou Martin was added to the line up on keys. Just three months later on the Saturday Rock Show, Gallagher would be promoting tracks for another new LP, Tattoo.
Rory covers a variety of different blues styles during these sessions from slow slide guitar to up-tempo rockers and finger style solo acoustic tracks like “Banker’s Blues” and “Unmilitary Two Step” to the waltz feel of “If I Had A Reason”. Although he may not have achieved the stature of players like Clapton, Beck or Page, his playing stands up to the best of them.
An Irish Man On The Radio is another class act production from Godfather that comes packaged in the usual tri-fold digi-pack with various photos of Rory. The performance is outstanding in all these BBC recordings and is recommended listening.