- 02 Dec 01
The first three albums scarcely need any new recommendation from me. For all that, the disc which makes this boxed set an absolute must-buy for all Rory Gallagher fans, is the splendidly titled Waiting For The G-Man.
Although Rory Gallagher wrote and recorded some great songs in his time, the definitive Rory was always to be found up there on the stage, which is why he could release a hat-trick of live albums in the course of his career, yet never once sound like he was treading water or going through the motions.
Well, now you can make that four.
Let’s Go To Work is a beautifully packaged boxed set containing the previously released classics Live! In Europe, Irish Tour ’74 and Stage Struck and the previously unreleased Waiting For The G-Man, which turns out to be an absolutely incendiary show, taped in Amsterdam in 1993.
Ranging across potent performances of such Gallagher signature tracks as ‘Messing With The Kid’, ‘Goin’ To My Home Town’, ‘Cradle Rock’, ‘Tattoo’d Lady’, ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Bought & Sold’, the first three albums scarcely need any new recommendation from me.
For all that, the disc which makes this boxed set an absolute must-buy for all Rory Gallagher fans, is the splendidly titled Waiting For The G-Man, recorded in what a happy-sounding Rory calls “the beautiful, beautiful” Paradiso Club in Am’dam.
And a beautiful night it was, to judge by this superior bootleg-style recording, which comes as close as possible to positioning the listener right in front of the stage, with fans shrieking in your ear, the floorboards shaking and the music bouncing off the sweat-soaked walls.
The record starts as it means to go on, with one of the simplest, most attention-grabbing intros I’ve ever heard on a live album: crowd noise, a guitar being tested, a pause, Rory barking “Let’s go to work” and – bam! – they all pile after him into the great, swaggering blues-rock of ‘Continental Operator’.
Only on Muddy Waters’ ‘Mean Disposition’ does the pace slacken, but not the intensity, as Rory rips off a scalding solo and cries the bluesman’s lament, “why can’t I be happy like everyone else?”
It’s a poignant moment, for sure, but Waiting For The G-Man otherwise seems to prove that the demons which assailed him in later life could still back off long enough for Rory to party to the max.
That’s certainly the prevailing spirit of this set, as he throws ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’ into the whammer-jammer instrumental rave-up ‘The Loop’; segues Sonny Boy Williamson’s jukejoint stomper ‘Don’t Start Me Talkin’’ into The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ (that must have brought a smile to Tom O’Driscoll’s face!); and even prefaces his own full-tilt ‘Ghost Blues’ with what sounds like a jokey reference to the Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’.
The best is kept till last, however, with the mandatory ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ giving away to the joyous countdown “Uno, dos, tres, quatro” – and Rory and crew are off and running into perhaps the ultimate feelgood party anthem, ‘La Bamba’.
“Hope you like it. Thangyew”, he used to say.
We did, we still do and we will never be able to thank him enough.