William Rory Gallagher Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist and songwriter,
was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland. Rory received his first
guitar from his supportive parents at age 9. But it was the 1961 Fender
Stratocaster he bought at age 15 (the first Strat in Ireland) that would become
his career trademark. While playing songs by Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran,
he discovered his greatest influence, Muddy Waters. Having no record player,
he listened to Radio Luxembourg, BBC and AFN radio to learn Big Bill Broonzy,
Albert King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie songs.
He soon began to experiment with ragtime, folk, blues, rock guitar styles.
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John Lee Hooker,r"King Of The Boogie", was born near Clarksburg, MS
to a sharecropping family. Influenced in music by his stepfather, Will
Moore, he moved to Detroit in the 1940's. He was playing house parties
when discovered by a record shop owners who brought him to Bernard
Besman of Sensation Records. His early recording of "Boogie Chillin"
"Crawlin' Kingsnake" and "Hobo Blues.". Another career surge was a
result of more than 100 songs on VeeJay Records in the '1960's:
"Maudie" /"Tupelo, Mississippi", "Freight Train" (performed with Ry
Cooder) "Serve Me Right to Suffer" (1964), "Down Home Shakedown"
(1965) and the classic crossover hit covered by George Thorogood,
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" (1966) are a few examples of his
hits from this period.
British artists like The Animals, John Mayall, and The Yardbirds dug
his sound and introduced Hooker to new UK audiences In the 1970's.
The Blues Brothers movie resurrected his big 1962 hit, "Boom Boom".
Eagle Rock Entertainment, with the Gallagher family, announced four re-releases in 2011: Defender (1987), Rory’s
Fresh Evidence (1990), BBC Sessions including the epic "What in the World" (1999), Wheels Within Wheels (2003).
Guest artists include Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch, Lonnie Donegan, Bela Fleck, and the Dubliners. Finally, enjoy this
Interview with Rory from 1978 with Guitar Player Magazine. For more info on Rory, visit his official website.
With over 90 solo albums and 50 studio collaborations with l;egendary artists such as The Rolling Stones, Ry Cooder,
Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana, Johnny Winter, The Doors, Willie Dixon and moving performances with Van Morrison:
"The Healing Game" and "Never Get Out of These Blues Alive". John Lee discusses his renewed popularity in the
documentary, John Lee Hooker & Friends - Live 1984-1992 featuring Ry Cooder, John Hammond, Bonnie Raitt,
Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Johnnie Johnson (Chuck Berry's Pianist) and Charlie Musselwhite ending in a jam of "Baby
Irish Tour '74 with the kick-ass version of "A Million Miles Away" became Rory's
most successful US album. Against The Grain (1975) and Calling Card (1976)
followed, the latter produced by Deep Purple's, Roger Glover. Photo-Finish
(1978), Rory's seventh album, included the classic,"Shadow Play" but it was
Top Priority (1979) that saw Rory trim his band from four to a trio with Gerry
McAvoy (bass) and Brendan O'Neil (drums). This line-up lasted until 1991. His
final album for Chrysalis, Jinx, was in 1982 and featured the Louisiana Red
classic, "Ride On Red, Ride On". A 5-year hiatus followed until 1987's release
of Defender, only released in Europe. LIVE At Cork Opera House (1997) was
also released during this time. His last US album Fresh Evidence (1990) was
also Rory's last album. His last recordings were "Leaving Town Blues" and
"Showbiz Blues" on the album 'Rattlesnake Guitar - The music of Peter Green'.
Suffering from his drinking habits and medication, after waiting six months for a
liver transplant, Rory passed on June 14 1995, during surgery.
Taste, his first semi-successful band, released their self-titled debut album in
1969 in the UK. Opening for Clapton's Blind Faith at the Isle of Wright was a
high point but Rory wanted more and set off for a solo career. His solo debut
LP, Rory Gallagher (1970), was picked up in the US by Atlantic Records. Deuce
chart, went platinum. He released both Blueprint and Tattoo in 1973 to less
than stellar sales but still managed to win "Musician of the Year" from UK's
Melody Maker Magazine, beating out both Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page!
- "The Blues is the first music that was here. It was born with Eve and Adam in the Garden. It is the
one that tells the story. It’s in you, and it’s got to come out."
The 80's brought some great collaborations: "It's My Own Fault" (with Muddy Waters' Band: Otis Spann, James
Cotton, & Pat Hare), Then in 1989, The Healer went platinum as John Lee played the title role in Pete Townshend's
film, The Iron Man. It was released to critical acclaim with a million copies sold. No one knows why More Real Folk
Blues (called The Missing Album) stayed in the vault for so long. John Lee was inducted into Rock HOF in 1991. For
more visit his official website.
His great live performances include The 1971 Beat Club Sessions, Montreux in 1975, his first appearance on the BBC
Old Grey Whistle Test in 1976, his return to Montreux in 1977, his performance of "Mississippi Shieks" (1979) which
appeared later on the Rock Goes to College DVD, the Karussell Special Volkshaus in Zurich (1980), a third trip to
Montreux in 1985, Vienna in 1987 and Rory's last TV session in 1994 on UTV. Monster studio collaborations include the
Jerry Lee Lewis London Sessions (1972), "As the Years Go Passin' By" with Albert King, "Can't Be Satisfied" with jazz
legend Chris Barber and Muddy Waters on both his "London Sessions" and "London Revisited" albums. Some great
stage jams, too, like "Mendelay" with Albert Collins and two versions of "I'm Ready"; one with Jack Bruce) and the other
with Eric Burdon and David Lindley as a result of a 1982 Loreley jam session.
- "One day I was playing along with the Deuce album. It was a complete turning point for me as
a guitar player. ” --- Johnny Marr, The Smiths
JOHN LEE HOOKER
March 2, 1948 – June 14, 1995
August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001
- "It seems a waste to me to work for years and just turn in to some sort of personality."
- ""I don't know , ask Rory Gallagher ". --- Jimi Hendrix, when asked what it was like to be the greatest
guitarist in the world.
Yes, They SaiD It...
R.I.P. JOHN LEE
JOHN LEE SAID...
- "The blues tells a story. Every line of the blues has a meaning."