Review: Rory Gallagher ‘Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition’

Review: Rory Gallagher Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition’

By Mike O’Cull

Irish blues guitar superstar Rory Gallagher’s second album Deuce will be celebrated and expanded with the release of the new Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition by UMC.

The new set drops September 30th, 2022 and aims to give Gallagher fans an enormous helping of rare and remixed material to keep their speakers humming for a long time to come. It contains a new mixdown of the original album, 28 previously unreleased alternate takes, a six-song 1972 BBC Radio ‘In Concert” broadcast, and seven Radio Bremen radio session tracks.

The package will also contain a 64-page hardback book with a foreword by guitarist Johnny Marr of The Smiths, unseen photos by the late Mick Rock, essays, and Gallagher memorabilia from the recording sessions. The 2CD and 3LP editions will be cut-down versions of the full box and there will also be a special 2CD 1LP of the BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972 show.

Deuce was first released in late 1971, a mere six months after his self-titled debut album met the world. It was tracked at Tangerine Studios, a pint-sized reggae studio in Dalston in East London, due its connection with legendary producer Joe Meek. Gallagher produced the record himself with Robin Sylvester engineering. He was backed up in the studio by Gerry McAvoy on bass and Wilgar Campbell on drums, a fine rhythm section that made large contributions to the sound and feel of the proceedings. The goal was to get Gallagher’s live vibe on tape, so he captured these songs immediately after playing live gigs, when he and the band were hot, and gave them minimal production. He knew when he was at his best by then and took full advantage of it.

Rory Gallagher photo

Photo: Rory Gallagher by Mick Rock, Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition

The new mix of Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition is crisp, clean, and corpulent. Gallagher’s guitar tone is throaty and full, the bass warm and well-defined, and Rory’s vocals right up front where they belong. Tracks like “Used To Be” and “In Your Town” are inspiring and volcanic, practically writing a book about what a power trio should be and do.

The more contemporary material is just as cool and a song like “Whole Lotta People” shows what was on Rory’s mind at the time and where he was taking his prodigious skills. Knowing what we know now, it’s easy to hear Gallagher’s legend building.

The alternate takes will be of interest to collectors and complete-freaks, as they always are. Gallagher heads will have hours of fun comparing two new recordings of “Used To Be,” five new recordings of “Maybe I Will,” four of “Whole Lot Of People,” four of “In Your Town,” and many others. The recording process takes time and requires a lot from the musicians involved and many listeners will find these glimpses of the performances that weren’t chosen as just as compelling as those that were. Letting us hear them is a solid from Gallagher’s archive.

The performances from the Radio Bremen session are exquisite and show Gallagher at the peak of his powers. His vocals and playing are spellbinding and will leave even hardcore Rory fans agape and cheering. His guitar work on the slow blues “Should’ve Learned My Lesson” is blazing and especially impressive. You can hear how what Gallagher was going for back then carried forward and influenced future guitar heroes like Stevie Ray Vaughan. The version of “Messin’ With The Kid” captured here burns just as hot and features some of Gallagher’s most ferocious guitar slinging on this entire set.

The BBC In Concert show also rocks well and Gallagher’s muscular presence keeps each of the six tracks it holds fresh and transformative. Rory was helping create the future of blues/rock during this time period and listening to him doing it in real time is unforgettable. The Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition is a worthy acquisition for all who admire Gallagher’s body of work and hunger for more of it. There’s a lot to be happy about here so settle in and enjoy every note.

Pre-order Deuce 50th Anniversary Edition Here.

“There’s A Light (50th Anniversary Edition)”


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