TVD Radar: Rory Gallagher, Check Shirt Wizard Live in ’77 3LP
in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Following on from 2019’s highly successful Blues album, Chess/UMe proudly released Check Shirt Wizard Live in ’77, in multiple formats, including 3LP 180g black vinyl, 2CD and digital, earlier this month.

Now, this 20-song, previously unreleased set—culled from four Rory Gallagher shows (London, Brighton, Sheffield, and Newcastle) during an early 1977 tour across the UK in support of his then-latest album Calling Card—is No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart. Featuring explosive live versions of tracks from that album as well as songs from the 1975 Against The Grain album and other live favorites, Check Shirt Wizard has been mixed from the original multitrack tapes from the Rory Gallagher archive, which were recorded by the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull’s mobile studios and mastered at Abbey Road.

The set was produced by Gallagher’s nephew, Daniel, whose father, Donal (Rory’s brother and manager), took him to his first Rory concert. Check Shirt Wizard’s cover painting is by a young Irish graffiti artist Vincent Zara who has stenciled Gallagher’s image across his home country.

“The first time I ever saw my uncle Rory playing live was at the Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1987,” Gallagher recalls. “My father woke my older brother and me up and said we were going on an adventure. Parked outside our house was a large tour bus, we got in and were whisked away to the famous theatre a few miles north. At the time, being five years old, I had little awareness of what my uncle and father did for a living. I used to think Rory meant magician when he said he was a musician.

We got to the side of the stage, my Dad put ‘Rory Gallagher’ t-shirts on us and pulled back the curtain, and there was uncle Rory playing his battered Fender Stratocaster to thousands of rockin’ fans. Rory looked over and saw my brother and I air-guitaring away and with a huge smile on his face Chuck Berry style ‘duck walked’ over to rock out with us. I finally realized what my Dad and Rory did and why they were always going on trips abroad!

“Ten years earlier, at the very same venue, Rory was performing tracks from his then latest album Calling Card. I found the multitrack tapes to this 1977 concert and three others from the same tour (Brighton, Newcastle, and Sheffield) in our tape archive and decided to see what magic was on them. What I found was Rory and his band at peak performance, playing a set that covered tracks which hadn’t been on other live albums.

Rory tended to release a live album after every two studio records, and it seemed he planned to do that in 1977 having recorded these shows after his Against The Grain and Calling Card albums. He was then distracted by further touring and making an album in San Francisco, so never got around to creating this live record. I hope the tracks I selected to mix and master are what Rory might’ve chosen himself.”

Rory Gallagher’s most popular albums have always been his live ones, such as Live! In Europe, Irish Tour ’74 and Stage Struck. He was an artist who came alive when onstage, and this album covers a previously undocumented live period. “The whole concert was taped on the Jethro Tull Maison Rouge mobile by the way, and from where I was standing that concert on record would surpass the classic Live in Europe album. And that’s saying a lot.” —Brian Harrigan, Melody Maker – 1977, Hammersmith Odeon, London.

If ever there was a “musician’s musician” then that accolade surely belongs to Rory Gallagher. Renowned for his blistering live performances and highly respected for his dedication to his craft, he died at 47 in 1995, yet his reputation has continued to flourish in the years since. Indeed, some of rock’s most seminal figures, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, Queen’s Brian May to The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, have cited him as an influence. Rory Gallagher remains a touchstone for all would-be guitar heroes in the 21st Century.

Rory Gallagher Check Shirt Wizard – Live ’77, 3LP
Disc 1
Side A

1. Do You Read Me (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
2. Moonchild (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
3. Bought And Sold (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)

Side B
4. Calling Card (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
5. Secret Agent (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
6. Tattoo’d Lady (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)

Disc 2
Side A

1. A Million Miles Away (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
2. I Take What I Want (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
3. Walk On Hot Coals (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)

Side B
4. Out On The Western Plain (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
5. Barley & Grape Rag (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
6. Pistol Slapper Blues (Live From Sheffield City Hall, 17th February 1977)
7. Too Much Alcohol (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
8. Going To My Hometown (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)

Disc 3
Side A

1. Edged In Blue (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
2. Jack-Knife Beat (Live At The Hammersmith Odeon, 18th January 1977)
3. Souped-Up Ford (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)

Side B
4. Bullfrog Blues (Live From The Brighton Dome, 21st January 1977)
5. Used To Be (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)
6. Country Mile (Live At Newcastle City Hall, 18th February 1977)

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