Not The Rollers’ Maniac!(Tarantura TCDRG – 1, 2)
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan – November 3, 1977
Rory Gallagher toured Japan at the end of 1977 still in support of his latest LP, Calling Card, released in October 1976. He is joined by Gerry McAvoy on bass, Rod de’Ath on drums and Lou Martin(who sadly just passed away August 17, 2012) on keyboards. This particular line up had been together now for about five years and is arguably one of his best touring line-ups and also included some of his best song writing. Rory would soon return to a trio format after the departures of Martin and de’Ath in 1978.
Not The Rollers’ Maniac! from Tarantura is a 4CD set that features both the afternoon and evening shows from November 3, 1977 in Tokyo. Both sets come from Mr. Peach recordings and definitely measure up to the high standards we have come to expect from his excellent quality tapes. Both shows are very complete documents with no apparent musical cuts.
Disc 1: (70:01) Afternoon Show– Introduction/Monitor Check, Moonchild, Bought And Sold, Band Introduction, Calling Card, Secret Agent, A Million Miles Away, Tattoo’d Lady, Out On The Western Plain, Barley And Grape Rag (Pistol Slapper Blues), Too Much Alcohol, Going To My Hometown
Disc 2: (48:19) Afternoon Show– I Take What I Want, Garbage Man, Walk On Hot Coals, Souped Up Ford, Bullfrog Blues, Bass Solo, Drum Solo, Bullfrog Blues, Country Mile, Announcement
The recording for the afternoon set comes from an excellent well balanced recording that sounds fairly close to the stage. There is a nice range of frequencies making this an absolute pleasure to listen to. The band is very tight and the audience is non intrusive with the small exception of some minor clapping.
After opening with the rockin’ “Moonchild” from the Calling Card LP, Rory welcomes the audience to the first show in Tokyo and says that they have been having a good tour in Japan so far. “Bought And Sold” is perfect for the Japanese audience to clap along with. It becomes evident during his guitar solos that he is definitely feeling loose and certainly having an “on” night. Rory and Gerry McAvoy have a cool little exchange of riffs at the end of “Calling Card” while he shows off some sweet slide guitar in “Secret Agent”.
“We are going to go back a little bit in time and do something a little more mellow. I hope you like this one it’s called “A Million Miles Away”. Rory noodles around a bit before taking his opening lead. “Tattoo’d Lady” is excellent and features a Lou Martin solo on electric piano before Gallagher steals the spotlight again.
Rory switches to acoustic guitar for a four song acoustic set starting with the Leadbelly track “Out On The Western Plain”, which he recorded for his 1975 LP, Against The Grain. He really rips it up here (much to the crowds delight) and extends the track to over nine minutes.
He plays mandolin on “Going To My Hometown” and is now joined by the rest of the band. Martin takes a nice saloon style solo on piano and the band sounds like they are having a lot of fun with this one.
They get into some slow blues with “Garbage Man”, giving it a real Hendrix feel. Rory brings out some true emotion during the Muddy Waters track especially when he breaks into some great slide work. “Souped Up Ford” is a nine minute barn burner that finishes the main part of the show. The tape captures two minutes of audience clapping while waiting for the bands return.
“Bullfrog Blues” is the first encore with both Gerry McAvoy and Rod de’Ath getting short spotlights respectively. Both display some very impressive chops and are the perfect compliment to Gallagher’s musical style. “Country Mile” from Calling Card closes the afternoon set.
Disc 1: (71:36) Evening Show– Introduction/Monitor Check, Moonchild, Bought And Sold, Band Introduction, Tattoo’d Lady, Calling Card, Secret Agent, A Million Miles Away, Do You Read Me, Out On The Western Plain, Too Much Alcohol, Barley And Grape Rag (Pistol Slapper Blues), Going To My Hometown
Disc 2: (52:37) Evening Show– I Take What I Want, Walk On Hot Coals, Garbage Man, Souped Up Ford, Bullfrog Blues, Bass Solo, Drum Solo, Bullfrog Blues, UDO’s Announcement, Country Mile, Boogie, Announcement
The sound for the evening set is again an excellent punchy recording with a nice balance and sounds like it was recorded from the same spot as the afternoon show. The setlist changes only slightly from the early show. The first change occurs with “Tattoo’d Lady” being moved to the number three spot tonight. This along with “Bought And Sold” are again some of the strongest numbers in the set. “Calling Card” has a really nice piano solo from Lou Martin while Rory dazzles us again with his slide playing in “Secret Agent”.
After another beautiful melancholic version of “A Million Miles Away” they include “Do You Read Me” from the Calling Card record. It is a great live track that has a nice funky groove and includes a brief reference to the Beatles “I Feel Fine”.
No surprises in the acoustic set with a standard five minute version of “Out On The Western Plain”. His finger picking is spot on while he proves once again he can captivate an audience by himself. A shout out from a girl after gets a big laugh from the audience. Rory gets a huge participation from the crowd, clapping along with “Too Much Alcohol” and “Barley And Grape Rag”. His versatility as a player during the acoustic set becomes very apparent.
“Garbage Man” is played after “Walk On Hot Coals” for the evening set. “Souped Up Ford” brings down the house and Mr. Peach lets the tape roll again capturing the crowd’s chants before the encores. As with the afternoon show, “Bullfrog Blues” contains the bass and drum solos.
There is a short announcement from the Japanese promoter, Mr. Udo, before Gallagher and company return for “Country Mile”. Tonight’s set is extended with a six minute “Boogie” tacked on to the end of “Country Mile”.
Not The Rollers’ Maniac! comes in a hinged glossy box with the four individual discs in separate sleeves and includes a nice insert with the track listings and photos of the master tapes. The insert also contains an essay written in Japanese with what possibly looks like the various dates from the Japanese tour. These recordings pack a nice punch and together make up another superb Tarantura box set that leaves me hoping that we will see more from this tour in the future.
With Gallagher’s playing ranging from bluesy and cool to nasty and out of control, it is easy to see why so many great guitar players cite him as one of their biggest influences. Not The Rollers’ Maniac! is an amazing release from Tarantura well worth searching for.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)