BLUES APPRECIATION SOCIETY -THE EVOLUTION OF THE BLUES
One of the Finest Works a Sadly Short Career
By any measure, the three-year, 1973-‘76 run that resulted in 1976’s Calling Card was an impressive achievement. Rory Gallagher defined himself as a creative blues rocker, not just one who respected and learned from the genre’s greats, but an artist who took those lessons to new heights and depth through original material that was melodic and left room for his sizzling Strat solos. The fifth release featuring this band is the final chapter of the series, the last with keyboard whiz Lou Martin (Gallagher reverted back to a Taste-styled, guitar-bass-drums three-piece on his next set of discs) and one of the first to employ an outside producer, Roger Glover.
Best known as bassist for Deep Purple, Glover didn’t alter Gallagher’s sound as much as made it a little fuller and slightly more commercial, using overdubs to fatten the approach without diluting the brass-knuckled solos or the singer/songwriter/guitarist’s always emotive vocals.
This is Galagher’s most consistant effort with the “Fever”-styled, bass-driven, jazzy title track (a song that appears on nearly every Gallagher hits collection), unforgettable riff rockers like the pulsating “Moonchild” – perhaps Gallagher’s most defining song – and even beautiful, heartfelt ballads such as “I’ll Admit You’re Gone” and the terrific “Edged in Blue,” one of the often overlooked gems in his bulging catalog.
The remastered audio jumps out with the sharp backbeat drums that open and invigorate “Do You Read Me,” and continues with the plucked guitar that starts off the boogie-happy, slide guitar showcase of “Country Mile,” a ringer for Golden Earring’s driving “Radar Love” rhythm. Gallagher continued to release quality albums at an inhuman pace, but Calling Card is rightly considered one of the finest works of his sadly short career.
Hal Horowitz is a contributing editor at Blues Revue and BluesWax.
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