Rory Gallagher Stage Struck / Jinx

With the arrival of the '80s, Rory Gallagher returned to some familiar ground for Stage Struck. As its title suggests, it was another live album (his third to date), one that focussed on his last two albums. Considering he always turned up the guitars on his live shows, this meant the material was played fast and loud, with some songs taking the treatment more favourably than others. "Shin Kicker" was made for this kind of performance, whereas Calling Card's "Moonchild" was almost bludgeoned beyond all recognition. This is definitely the weakest of his live albums and not recommended for that reason. Jinx (released in 1982) was an improvement over his last few studio albums, even if he was getting somewhat disillusioned with life at this point and ended up taking off six years before his next release. The reason for the step up in quality is that Gallagher added some introspection to his inventory again, allowing slower songs like "Easy Come Easy Go" and "Nothing Like the Devil" to sit amongst bombastic ones like "Big Guns" and "Double Vision." He only made two more albums before his untimely death at the age of 47, and neither was any better than this. While he never made a really bad record, his golden age was definitely in the mid-'70s. (Eagle)