Fans flock to the Ulster Hall for another taste of Gallagher's blues
[Published: Friday 29, December 2006 - 10:30]
By Emily Moulton
Hundreds of denim-clad rockers will flock to the Ulster Hall tonight to pay homage to one of Ireland's greatest musicians € the late Rory Gallagher.
A special tribute has been organised to coincide with the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the venue by the rock legend's brother and manager Donal.
Always decked out in a denim jacket, checked shirt and his battered 1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar, Gallagher arguably became known as the man who spearheaded and influenced the entire Irish rock movement.
At 15 he joined the Fontana showband which later became The Impact, a six-piece R'n'B outfit, with whom Rory headed to Europe for the first time.
In 1966, still only 18, Rory formed Taste with bassist Eric Kitteringham and drummer Norman Damery which became a regular attraction at Belfast's famous Maritime Club, before moving permanently to London.
By then the line up had changed and the trio - Rory, Richard McCracken on bass and John Wilson on drums - went on to record two studio albums, Taste and On The Boards, in 1969 and toured extensively before playing their last gig in Belfast on New Year's Eve in 1970.
Gallagher then went on to fulfil an extremely successful solo career and collaborated with his childhood influences such as Muddy Waters, Joe O'Donnell, Albert Collins, Box of Frogs, The Fureys, The Dubliners, Phil Coulter and Chris Barber.
He even recorded with The Rolling Stones in 1975 as their first choice replacement for Mick Taylor but Gallagher decided to go his own way.
While touring Holland in 1995, the rocker became ill and had a liver transplant in April but died in a London hospital on June 14. He was just 47 years old.
Tonight's special tribute at the Ulster Hall, organised by Belfast City Council, was a venue close to Gallagher's heart.
"Rory had a special love for Belfast, where he made his first real breakthrough playing with Taste in the late 1960s," said Ulster Hall manager Pat Falls.
"He remained loyal to his Belfast fans right through the darkest days of the '70s and '80s, returning every year for barnstorming performances at a time when many other big names stayed away.
"Since his untimely death, we often have been asked by fans to erect some form of memorial to him. This plaque, and this tribute night, is a great way of us showing our respect to one of the greatest Irish performers of his - or any - generation."
More than 600 tickets have already been sold for the packed event which features performances by The Pat McManus Band (featuring Pat McManus, formerly of Mama's Boys) and the world's top Rory Gallagher tribute act, Sinnerboy.
There also will be a screening of Rory's legendary 1984 Ulster Hall concert as well as acoustic performances and an exhibition of Rory Gallagher memorabilia.
Doors open at 6pm.
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/ ... 110445.ece
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