Rory Gallagher

Calling Card / Photo Finish/ Top Priority

BY Michael EdwardsPublished Jul 12, 2011

If its predecessor was an example of Rory Gallagher going through the motions, the following year's Calling Card was him at the top of his game. Like Tattoo before it, Calling Card has great range, including one of his best and most personal songs to that point, "Edged in Blue," a lovely acoustic number that should have been covered many times by now. While his live shows were the perfect venue for long, drawn out songs, they fall a little flat on record and "Jack-Knife Beat" would have been a better track if it had shaved a couple of minutes off its seven-minute running time. But that's a very small complaint about a great record. 1978's Photo Finish was much more concerned with volume than subtlety. It did give Gallagher a great opportunity to demonstrate his mastery of his Stratocaster, but it's a little one-dimensional. The songs drag on, thanks to his inevitable solos, and while there are a couple of tracks that would still likely appear on a Greatest Hits compilation ("Fuel to the Fire" and "Shin Kicker"), they are some of the lesser ones in his canon. He finished out the decade with his tenth album in ten years, Top Priority, which has many of the same issues as Photo Finish. It veered surprisingly close to metal territory, at times, due to the combination of the cranked up guitars and Gallagher's growled vocals. There's no denying that he was capable of rocking, but whether he was still capable of anything else was more of a concern and based on Top Priority, his glory days were behind him.

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