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Tattoo

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About this deal

This list is our tribute to Rory Gallagher, and perhaps an introduction to his catalog for those not familiar with him. 10. Against The Grain The song follows more of a pop chord progression than a blues one and, with its catchy chorus and stunning lead work, Edged In Blue had all the components of a potential hit single. Even Chris Wright, then the boss at Chrysalis Records, advised Rory that it could be a contender for a number one hit in the USA, but Rory had long since shunned the singles market, as well as the concept of mainstream fads, fashions and fame in general. He didn’t sleep. At that age, turning 25, you have the energy. Rory was a dynamo. He burnt himself out in the end, but he lived three or four lifetimes.” A few years earlier, in 1972, he’d told Rolling Stone, “It seems a waste to me to work and work for years, really gettin’ your music together; then to make it big, as some people do, and just turn into some sort of personality. You play less, you perform less, you circulate less. It becomes something completely different.” In July 1973, Gallagher carved out a couple of weeks to put some shape on what became Tattoo. His band was tightly knit at this point. Belfast bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy had joined him in 1971, and went on to spend 20 years riding shotgun. Classically-trained Lou Martin was on keyboards. Drummer Wilgar Campbell, who had a fear of flying, had left by mutual consent and was replaced by Welsh man Rod de’Ath. They were based in London, but it made sense to convene in Cork to rehearse the new album.

And so, Edged In Blue remained an album-only release, but nonetheless a gem of both the album and Rory Gallagher’s catalogue as a whole.

Reviews

Underscored with unison guitar and piano plus brilliant harmonics, They Don’t Make Them Like You Anymore conjures up a relaxed jazz feel. This title could now be said of Rory himself… We set up a recording studio at the Shandon Boat Club,” recalls Dónal. “It was comfortable for Rory because he was at home. The guys loved staying at the Metropole Hotel. They always had great craic around the city. It was a very ‘up’ period. I’d describe it as his Cork album. It’s a strong album from the Rory canon point of view because you’ve ‘Tattoo’d Lady’, one of the classics opening it.” Tattoo’d Lady’ describes the life he was leading at the time: living under a canvas roof, roaming from town to town, like the circus or fairground way of life, and it captures his childhood memories. As a kid, Gallagher loved going to the Mardyke in Cork city to visit the fairground. It always caught them off guard when suddenly it would have disappeared, gone for another year. No trace left behind. The curiosities of the fairground are carved into the song, the shooting gallery, the penny slot machines, the bearded baby, the ‘Tattoo’d Lady’ herself.

I told him, ‘You took the heart out of us. We thought you’d fallen off the cliffs.’ He said, ‘I just got inspiration for a new song. If I didn’t sit down and write it there and then, I was going to lose it.’ That I believe to be ‘A Million Miles Away’, looking out at the ocean, a million miles away, but at the same time he’s in the bar with the band after a gig when his thoughts might be a million miles away. While it sounds a very sad song it’s about getting peace of mind.” Tattoo was released in November 1973. It received a favourable review from Rolling Stone magazine, believing it to be Gallagher’s “brightest and most joyful work, but still contains that streak of meanness which makes his live sets so powerful”.

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