Last September Ear of Newt raved and raved about the release on DVD of Ghost Blues, a documentary about one of our ultimate guitar heroes, Rory Gallagher. But what's got us even more psyched than that is tomorrow's release on Blu-ray of Irish Tour '74, a godsend of a documentary by Tony Palmer, who followed Gallagher around Ireland when the 28-year-old picker was at the very top of his game.
I watched it on the weekend, and lemme tell ya: if you like rock guitar, you have to see it. Palmer's concert footage is superb, and Gallagher tears up the frets like a wild man on tracks like "Walk on Hot Coals", "A Million Miles Away", "Going to My Home Town", and the only thing he wrote that resembled a radio hit, "Tattoo'd Lady".
The bonus material includes home-movie footage from Gallagher's Japanese tour of the same year and a half-hour Irish TV documentary that boasts live performances from '72 of such Rory standards as "Laundromat", "Pistol Slapper Blues", and "Bullfrog Blues". Insightful audio commentary by Gallagher's brother/manager Donal and his old bassist Gerry McAvoy is the icing on the cake.
The really good news for Rory Gallagher freaks is that you don't even have to rush out and buy Irish Tour '74 tomorrow: you can win a copy of the Blu-ray right here on Ear of Newt, courtesy Eagle Rock Entertainment. All you have to do is explain, in 50 words or less, why Gallagher deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, and Page. Tell everyone who might not know why he's so damned great, and let me take a break from it for a change.
The winning entry will be announced this Saturday (April 16), the same day that we'll decide once and for all which solo on Thin Lizzy's "Cowboy Song" is the best, Scott Gorham's or Brian Robertson's. Why not enter that contest too, and try to win a copy of the Jailbreak: Deluxe Edition CD as well as the Irish Tour '74 Blu-ray. That's one damn fine Irish-rock combo, if I do say so myself.
You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.