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Live in Europe

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Live In Europe would be Gallagher’s most successful record yet on both sides of the Atlantic, but the band’s ferocious work rate was taking its toll on Wilgar Campbell. The only member of the band with a family, he found the strain of touring too much and began missing shows. The final straw came when he bailed out on the day the band were to due to fly to Ireland to play a gig that was being recorded for a TV broadcast.

I was from Belfast, Gerry was from Belfast and there was co-operation from ‘The Organisation’ to make sure the concerts went OK,” says Lou Martin. I n July ’73, the band should have relocated to Cork to rehearse for their fifth album in three years, Tattoo. It was the first time Gallagher had worked on an album in Ireland since the Taste days.

Rather than live versions of his most popular songs, there are only two songs on the album that were previously recorded by Gallagher in the studio, "Laundromat" from his first album and "In Your Town" from his Deuce album. All the other songs are Gallagher's versions of classic blues songs. The album starts with what was to become a signature song for Gallagher, Junior Wells' "Messin' With the Kid". The song "I Could've Had Religion" was Gallagher's salute to what he called the "redemption style blues" of the Robert Wilkins and Gary Davis. After hearing the song on this album Bob Dylan expressed interest in recording it and assumed it was a traditional blues number rather than an original song by Gallagher. [2] Taste played their final show at Belfast’s Queens University on October 24, 1970. It was a hard decision for the guitarist –“I don’t like to think about it too much, because it upsets me,” Gallagher later said of Taste’s split – though, typically, that didn’t stop him making it. He even witnessed the Sex Pistols’ infamous final show at San Francisco’s Winterland in January 1978. Rory could have done with a coach to discipline him,” says Donal. “He would work himself into a frazzle and what should have been an enjoyable experience wasn’t.” We did shake hands,” says de’Ath, who would play with Gallagher until 1976. “I don’t think he did that with Gerry.”

By the time Rory Gallagher was released in May 1971, the trio had played their first live shows, a series of dates in Europe. The first gig, at Paris’s Olympia Theatre, was sold out and filmed for French TV. Other shows in were less successful. It was in Belfast that Gallagher began searching for a new band. He soon found two players he could work with: drummer Wilgar Campbell and 17-yearold bassist Gerry McAvoy, whose own band, Deep Joy, had supported Taste. Ironically, Deep Joy had split up on exactly the same night as Gallagher’s former group, just down the road in Ulster Hall.While the sound quality is variable – partly due to the fact that they couldn’t get insurance for Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studios in the more troubled areas – the album never loses its primal, raw urgency. It’s the sound of a band leaning out over the precipice – something Gallagher deliberately encouraged, making up the show as he went along. Released in November 1971, just six months after the debut, Deuce incorporated Celtic influences amongst the tight blues workouts, notably on I’m Not Awake Yet. Elsewhere, Don’t Know Where I’m Going was an homage to one of Gallagher’s more unlikely heroes, Bob Dylan. Gigging before, during and after the recording of Deuce, the band had little time to celebrate its entry into the charts at a respectable No.39. We did a couple of shows in the north of France and only a handful of people turned up,” says McAvoy. “But that was OK. Our attitude was if we put on a great show then next time twice as many people will turn up. And that’s generally what happened wherever we played.”

Johnny Marr was another devotee. “ Deuce was a complete turning point for me,” the former Smiths guitarist told Guitar magazine in 1997. Marr has admitted that, as a teenager, he tried to emulate the look of Gallagher’s increasingly battered and weather-worn red Stratocaster on his own instrument – with the help of a blowtorch and a chisel in woodwork class. Amazingly we were cleared,” recalls McAvoy, who remains convinced that the drugs had been planted. “But Rory didn’t know about it.” To the immense relief of the rhythm section, they made it to America unmolested by the law. As well as introducing Gallagher to a new market, their US dates – where they played with Little Feat and Frank Zappa– opened the band’s eyes to the pulchritude that was on offer. But while the band were delighted to find that their crowds were almost 50 per cent female, Gallagher refused to take advantage of the situation. I only joined a showband because there was nowhere else to go with an electric guitar,” he later explained.I asked Rory before we started working in Tattoo if he could write down lyrics for me so I would have something to work from,” says de’Ath. “But he never did. I don’t know what he was thinking.”

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