01 Jun RORY GALLAGHER- “ON THE BOARDS” (ALBUM REVIEW)
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“ON THE BOARDS” (ALBUM REVIEW)
BY DAVID F. WAGNER
THE APPLETON POST CRESCENT
JULY 12, 1970
In the last few years, the so called ‘”heavy” rock groups (such as Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge) have, generally speaking, turned off critics, but delighted large numbers of fans and — in the case of Zeppelin — other rock musicians.
The reasons for the great acceptance of this wildly overdone, head-splitting music are varied, probably going directly to a psychological root dealing with release of hostilities, frustrations and who-knows-what-all. With rare exceptions, this type of music leaves me cold — perhaps even offends some snooty attitude I have which is unidentified. Probably the closest I get to liking the crashing, heavy sounds is an Irish trio — Taste.
Ever since seeing them perform last year in Milwaukee, Rory Gallagher, Richard McCracken and John Wilson have given me much pleasure. Their first album, released last summer, got more than the average airplay on a critic’s turntable which has trouble keeping up with new products. Their second LP, “On the Boards,” I enjoy even more. Gallagher again keeps the spotlight — entirely. This time he wrote all the songs, plays lead guitar and has added alto sax and harmonica to his repertoire.
I should clarify that when I call Taste “heavy,” I don’t mean it in a psychedelic rock sense. It’s just that there’s a lot of out front banging and crashing, with little left for wondering. Which is not to say Taste is not often subtle, even light. Just please don’t think it’s all ear-drum-killing.
The set opens with probably the least meritorious number, “What’s Going On,” a rough-edged shouter that would be quite good in person but less impressive at home. “Born on the Wrong Side of Time” affected me the same way on the first album. In the second number, Rory gets into one of his favorite techniques; mixing two numbers into one, or at least having drastic changes in tempo, “Railway and Gun” begins a bit like “Season of the Witch,” and then — typically sudden — BAAARRRRRUUUM, a heavy interlude, eventually fading into the originally easy-paced number. It may be trite, but it works.
Two pieces give Gallagher a showcase for his jazzy alto sax work — “It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again” and the title track.
It’s elementary jazz sax work, but again, it’s effective and provides the change-of-pace too many albums today lack. Each is followed by a number which gives Rory his head on harp. There’s he nothing special, but both “If the Day Was Any Longer” and “If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry” are different from any other selection here, each is commercial enough for a single, both remind me of something else and each cooks a little.
On the first album, “Hail” was a complete solo for Gallagher and quite good. Here, “See Here” does the same thing, if a little less compellingly. Both sides end with rhythm heavy numbers which could also be successful singles — “Morning Sun” and “I’ll Remember.” I would like to see Taste get a hit, if only to guarantee its survival in the cruel business world. To date, there has been little sales action.
I’ll avoid any silly puns about the group’s name in my recommendation to buy the album, but do give it a try. It’s a good one.
On the Boards is the second album by Irish rock band Taste, released in 1970.
1- “What’s Going On” – 2:48
2- “Railway and Gun” – 3:38
3- “It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again” – 6:33
4- “If the Day Was Any Longer” – 2:10
5- “Morning Sun” – 2:39
6- “Eat My Words” – 3:47
7- “On the Boards” – 6:02
8- “If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry” – 2:40
9- “See Here” – 3:05
10- “I’ll Remember” – 3:02
All tracks composed by Rory Gallagher.
Rory Gallagher – guitars, vocals, saxophone, harmonica
Richard “Charlie” McCracken – bass guitar
John Wilson – drums
RORY GALLAGHER DISCOGRAPHY:
1969 Taste (w/Taste)
1970 On the Boards (w/Taste)
1971 Live (w/Taste)
1971 Rory Gallagher
1972 Isle of Wight (w/Taste)
1972 Live in Europe
1974 Irish Tour ’74 (Live)
1975 Against the Grain
1976 Calling Card
1978 Photo Finish
1979 Top Priority
1980 Stage Struck
1990 Fresh Evidence
1999 BBC Sessions
2003 Wheels Within Wheels (Acoustic)
2011 Notes from San Francisco