Taste Feature (1967-1970)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
There is little that can be said or written about Rory
Gallagher, arguably the
greatest guitarist Ireland has ever produced, which hasn't been
covered elsewhere, in more depth. On this page, we will
limit our discussion to his career as part of the showband era and
Irish rock groups,
but he spent such a short time in the ballrooms it will be a short
Rory was born in Ballyshannon, Co.
Donegal, but the Gallagher family
moved to Derry the following year and on to Cork when he was only seven. He started playing very young
and by the age of twelve, Rory won a local talent contest, taking the
money and putting a down payment on his first electric guitar, a
Rosette, Solid Seven. He would still owe £25 which would not be paid
off for four years.
In 1963, Rory got a job with his
first showband, the Fontana Showband. Shortly after joining
the band, he purchased the 1961 Stratocaster which he would play
until he passed away in 1995. Rory's brother, Donal, tells the story
of Rory purchasing the guitar in a great article at the website
www.roryon.com. If you are interested in reading the story, please
follow this link:
http://www.roryon.com/fenderstrat254.html. Originally owned by
Jim Conlon of the Royal Showband, the guitar was traded in for a red
Strat which would better match the Royal's new uniforms (or so the
legend goes) and match Hank Marvin's signature red Strat. One way or another, the guitar became Rory's trademark
and a symbol of the hard working musician whose hard driving career
was reflected in ever scratch and dent on his trusty axe.
was a regional showband at the time, playing mostly from Cork to
Limerick. The band's lineup was: Bernie Tobin (trombone), his
brother Oliver Tobin (bass), Rory (lead), John Lehane (sax), Eamon
O'Sullivan (drums) and Declan O'Keefe (rhythm). In 1964, the Fontana
headed of to England as all showbands did during Lent and Rory got a
taste of the London scene.
decided to change their name to the Impact Showband in 1965.
They added Michael Lehane on keyboards and John Campbell replaced
Eamon on drums. As Rory started to establish himself as one of the
country's premier guitarists, the band incorporated more blues and
rock n' roll into their programme. The same year, they performed on
RTE's Pickin' The Pops.
With their new blues and rock
programme, the Impact went to London and played extensively at the
US air bases across Europe. However, before the end of the year they
split and Rory, Johnny Campbell and Oliver Tobin went on to Germany
to play the Hamburg clubs. In 1966, Rory returned to Cork and formed
the first Taste, a trio featuring Eric Kitteringham on bass and
Norman Damery on drums. The band lasted only a couple of years,
spending an increasing amount of time in the UK.
In 1968, Rory formed his second
Taste which featured John Wilson on Drums and Richard McCracken on
bass. In an article in Spotlight, it was stated that even then, Rory
was unsure whether he would retain the name "Taste", which he
eventually did. This lineup would move to London and enjoy success touring the
US and Canada, playing support to major acts and releasing two
albums, Taste and On The Boards. In 1970, Taste
performed at the Isle of Wight Festival.
In October, 1970, Rory and Taste
came home to Ireland for a short tour. They played a series of gigs
around the country ending up in Belfast at the Queen's University
Hall prior to which Rory announced it would be their last gig.
According to drummer John Wilson in an article in the Spotlight
issue of October 23, 1970, the split in the band was over money.
According to the article, written by Donal Corvin, Rory wanted to
put the two boys on wages while he took the lion's share of
earnings. Said John, "after playing together for so long and looking
back on the days when we were paid only 12 pounds a show, Richard
and I were very hurt by this suggestion."
In the aftermath of the split, of
course Rory went on to even greater international fame with his own
band which he formed with Wilgar
Campbell and Gerry McAvoy. In the meantime, McCracken and Wilson
formed the band, Stud, which released three albums but only lasted
for about eighteen months.
More to come.....
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