Live in Europe – Rory Gallagher

Released on 14th May 1972, so 50 years ago today!

I bought it with money from my first summer job. We didn’t have a record shop in our town so I had to hitch-hike 12 miles to Kells, the nearest town with a record shop. I must have done some persuading to get my mother to agree to me hitch-hiking, seeing as I was only 14 years old at the time.

I’d gone there to buy Rod Stewart’s latest album because I really liked the single he had out at that moment, “You Wear It Well”, off his “Never A Dull Moment” album. I still love that album too.

Tom Murray, the shop owner came out from behind the counter and asked me if he could help me. I said I wanted Rod’s album, which he had in stock, and then for some strange reason I turned my head to my left, looked up high on the wall and said – and I’ll take that one too. ‘That one’ being Rory’s “Live in Europe” album. What possessed me to do so? To this day I have no idea; perhaps it was the cover, the beat-up guitar, a guy with long hair. Something about it struck me strongly, even though I didn’t know him.

After I got back home, I commandeered the record player (it was always a fight over who got to use it) and decided to play Rory’s album first. I was curious as to what it was like. The needle dropped on Side 1, I heard someone introduce him and then… my world changed forever! Really, my mind exploded. I’d never heard anything like that before. Bear in mind, back in ’72 we only had RTE radio and they played a steady diet of Céilí music, Irish ballad singers and the odd pop song.

I listened to all of Side 1 in a sort of trance, got up and turned the record over and was hit with “Going To My Hometown”. That was more accessible but I was still on the outside. This was a new world to me, an alien sound. I got all the way to the last note of Bullfrog Blues… and decided to play the complete album all over again.

The key for me getting into the album ended up being the part of “In Your Town” where Rory takes it right down and there’s only guitar playing. It was a sort of magic moment. It really felt like it was inviting me in… and I dove in, head first.

For the following weeks and months, right after school, I put the album on again and again and I think I slowly drove my family crazy! I brought it to every party and insisted it be played. I even brought it to a local disco and asked the DJ to play it. He asked if people could dance to it. I answered – yes, so he put it on. It cleared the floor in about one minute and he took it off 30 seconds after that. That incident still makes me laugh!

The second serious effect this album had on my life was the fact it made clear to me what I wanted to do in the future… travel and play music all over the world. As I’ve written before, that’s a dream that has come true many times over.

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1 year ago

What a beautiful history lesson of your life you share here above with us, Barry…and that is what music can do with a person…it gets in your heart, head and soul…and never leaves it again… And not everybody can make it to be an musician/artist like dreamed of and became…but by listing to the fine music of Rory everybody has the right to at least dream of becoming an guitarplayer, drummer, trumpetplayer…don’t they? Imagenation/creativity encircles the world (Albert Einstein)…

James Mather
2 years ago

Thanks Barry!
I first heard on Calling Card at a friend’s house (his sister’s, left at home while she was at uni!) and he and I went the next time Rory was in town. We were 14. Wow! A musical epiphany! (I’d only seen Don McLean before, talented but solo.) Seeing Rory was like electricity sparkling into whole areas of unused brain!

I like many forms of music, but I always come back to Rory!

Molly Kavanagh
2 years ago

Loved that Barry! You actually, always reminded me of Rory both musically & looks wise!! Keep ROCKIN my friend! What amazing memories! 🤘🏻🤘🏻♥️🎸

Patrick Fairchild
2 years ago

Awesome to read Rory changed many young lives mine included I was not a guitarist but was infatuated with harmonica from an early age and Rory’s love and inclusion of it in his songs🎸🎸🎸👏👏👏😎🇦🇺

Ray Cadorette
2 years ago

Mornin’ Barry..
Nice read here and WoW..50years ago!!
Rory and yourself were so much alike..
Long hair, a passion and drive and both dove right in. You’ve such wonderful memories and I love the fact that you share them with us, the Rory fans and your fans.
I’ll never forget meeting chance via the internet while surfing Rory up pops ‘Artists like Rory Gallagher’ Barry McCabe!
I looked you up, listened and thought to myself..WoW this guy truly has Rorys drive.
So I reached out to you and you did get back to introduced me to the
Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival in Ballyshannon, Donegal where you would be playing Tribute to the man and we would meet in person.
Mostly I’ll never forget your US East Coast Acoustic Tour where you and Danny would close the Tour with a private house party which my good friend Trish and I put together.
Thank you for your music and the memories!!
Peace and Cheers, Ray

Ray Cadorette
2 years ago
Reply to  Ray Cadorette

Hope to catch up again some time..
Hello to Suzanne…

Sigmund Ruud
2 years ago

Couldn’t agree more, Barry. Excellent live album that I didn’t get until a few years later. My first album by Rory was “Calling Card” after seeing him on TV from Rockpalast. In 1978 he also visited my hometown at a festival. Bob Marley & The Wailers ended the festival but Rory was THE main one on stage for me that day.

Ronnie Smith
2 years ago

I had a similar experience with Black 47’s Home of the Brave album

2 years ago
Reply to  barrymccabe

So true…..doesn’t happen too often…makes it all the more special…hope you’re keeping well….