Rory Gallagher

Blues Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter





Cruise the Site!

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx


As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit www.makeNYNYagain.com and rebuild America!

GALLAGHER (née Roche) (Douglas, Cork) - August 14, 2005, at the South Infirmary, Monica (Mona), dearly loved wife of the late Danny and much loved mother of Donal and the late Rory; sadly missed by her loving son, sisters Noreen and Kathleen, daughter-in-law Cecilia, sister-in-law Kathleen, grandchildren Eóin, Daniel, Catherine and Hugh, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Lying in repose at the Temple Hill Funeral Home, Boreenmanna Road of Jehr O'Connor Ltd. Removal at 6.30 o'clocktomorrow (Tuesday) to St. Columba's Church, Douglas. Requiem Mass at 2 o'clock Wednesday. Funeral afterwards to St. Oliver's Cemetery, Model Farm Road.


"May she rest in peace."

Sad news, on Friday August 12, 2005 Monica Gallagher. mother of the famed late blues guitarist and composer Rory Gallagher, suffered a massive heart attack. She passed away on the 14th. The simplest way to convey the impact of this news is to quote from some email sources.

Just heard that Mrs. Gallagher died today.

Monica Gallagher died yesterday (14. Aug.2005) Maybe some of you read it before (Loop mailinglist /Meetingplace).
She [had] a terrible heart attack on Friday 12.August .She didn't recover .
Met her after the mass for Rory on 14.June in Cork .
She looked so stout, never thought she would pass away only
2 month later .
My deepest sympathies for her family ...

With deepest love/prayers to DONAL...and today is also the
14th!...same as the day [of the month] our sweet RORY left...my eyes are filled
w/tears...thank you, Angela, ...God Bless The GALLAGHER'S..

[Photograph: Monica Gallagher in 1996 receiving one of the many awards and honors bestowed upon her son Rory.]

She was a wonderful but has been broken hearted since the day she lost
Rory. She was an absolute lady with a wonderful sense of humour.
I was fortunate to meet her when I was in Cork on June 13th.
I know she is happy to be with Rory now. God bless her my thoughts and
prayers go out to Donal and his family.

This is indeed sad news. My heart goes out to Donal and his family. I know
lots of us Loopers have lost our mothers, mine I lost last October. I
understand the pain and sorrow. It seems so empty to say, but time will
heal. It doesn't seem possible at the time. I never met Rory and certainly
never met his Mother and only know Donal casually through email, although he
has been very kind to me. Nevertheless, Monica touched my life through her
sons. For that I thank her. I believe that there is an afterlife and that
she is now with her son and God. This is a very small comfort to the
family, but there will one day be reunion and all tears will be forever
May God richly bless the Gallagher's at this time of supreme loss.
With much love and respect,

Thank you for letting us know the sad news. I was fortunate
enough to briefly meet her at the mass held for Rory on June 14th and
she seemed like such a nice woman. I have heard only wonderful
things said about her from people who knew and met her. My heartfelt
condolences to Donal and his family.

All I can think of is that perhaps she was very happy
to see Rory still alive in so many fans on his 10th
anniversary of passing. 
Yes, I believe that she is united with Rory again now.
Thank you Mrs. Gallagher. Take care of Rory now,

My deepest respects for this wonderful and lovable woman and mother.
I'm very sad to hear that...

Very sad to hear that news. But I think she is happy to be with her son.
Living ten years AFTER a son's death must be very very hard....

Just read that bad news !
I'm so sad and will light a candle for this wonderful woman
tonight .
Met her also in Cork , she was so formidable .
Now she died . Can't believe it's true ...
My thoughts are with Donal and his family .

This is indeed sad news...we were fortunate to meet her briefly at
St Peter & Paul's church on June 14th on the occasion of the memorial mass
for Rory and she seemed to be a sweet, dignified lady....she's back with her
loving son now and we also send our deepest sympathies to Donal and family
and also to Tom O'Driscoll who has been very close to Monica over the years.

Thank you for passing this sad news along. Could you pass along the
funeral details if you get them? Thanks

I am very sorry to hear that. All our condolences go out to the Gallagher family and their friends. A real matriarch of the family, and there to see Rory rise back among the people like a great painter after his life was over. To be appreciated, and remembered for raising a great family and many more things to those who knew her--no doubt. May she always live on in the hearts and souls of those who knew her, through Donal and his children, and of course of those who appreciate her role in Rory's career. It seems that she truly lived a long and full life--all we can ask for on this plane of existence and beyond.

I was shocked when he phoned me
this morning about the sad news, my thoughts are so much with Donal and all
the people close to her now. I did not know her but was fortunate to briefly
meet her in June and the picture of this little sweet elderly woman lingers
on my mind; her face showing a strength I often wish I had myself, a great
personality and a deep felt ... what can I say .... thankfulness and pride
maybe? On that day I do think she was happy and proud to see what genuine
impact Rory had and still has on so many people. Words fail me now - Rest
in peace Monica Gallagher, you were a great lady and I will always admire
your strength, bless you from the bottom of my heart.

We join everyone in our sadness in Monica's passing. We were
fortunate to spend part of an afternoon with her a few years ago, and to
see her again in Cork in June, as well sending a couple of letters back
and forth. It was so easy to see where a lot of her in Rory and Donal,
especially in their manners and how they treat people. What's that old
saying....'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree'. Most of the time,
that phrase is used in a negative sense, but in this case it is only
Our condolences to the Gallagher family and to Tom.

Darn it anyhow, Rory's Mom

The Mayor of Cork is given a Fender Stratocaster as part of a festival in that city honoring Rory Gallagher June 2005. Donal Gallagher, Rory's brother and long-time manager is holding the instrument's body. Monica Gallagher is to the right of the mayor.


"Here was a man who managed to combine the gift of being an authentic creative genius with the even rarer gift of being a genuinely decent, honourable human being." So began the series of tributes paid to Rory Gallagher - the outstanding pioneer of Irish rock - published by the Irish music newspaper HOTPRESS in July 1995. Rory Gallagher was an Irish blues and rock guitarist, singer and songwriter. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, on 2 March, 1948, he grew up in the city of Cork. Based in London during most of his 30 year career, he toured extensively, sold 30 million records, and had a worldwidefollowing of loyal fans. He died in London at the early age of 47, on 14 June 1995, from complications following a liver transplant. Although he had suffered health problems for some time, he toured until falling seriously ill late in 1994. THE TIMES obituary (16 June 1995) described him as "an uncompromisingly serious musician", "a courageously honest performer [who wrote] his own material, and [who] considered the blues to be the most personal form of musical expression". Consistently eschewing commercialization, musical and stage gimmickry, and the trappings of rock-stardom, he took simplicity as the key in his total commitment to making authentic, high quality music. Frequently described as a shy, friendly, modest man, Rory Gallagher was the antithesis of the blazing persona that he projected as a live performer. His grit and integrity earned him the respect and affectionate admiration of many. Performing at his best on stage in front of a live audience, he was widely acknowledged as one of the finest blues musicians treading the boards. "The first Irish rock'n'roller and a unique blues guitar voice rolled into one. Missed by everyone"

(The Guitar Magazine, August 1995).

One of the greatest blues guitarists of the 20th Century. Rory Gallagher is Gary Morrissey’s musical hero—the author’s as well!

Harry first saw Rory Gallagher perform at New York City’s Felt Forum, an auditorium in Madison Square Garden in November of 1973. Rory opened that night for Deep Purple.

“I’ve never, either before or after, seen an opening act win over a hostile crowd, indeed get pulled out for three encores! We all collectively fell in love with this genuine, unique and incredible performer.”

In those days, progressive rock was popular. Guitarists had large stacks of amps, tons of outboard gear and numerous instruments on stage. Who could afford all this hardware to make music? Why was it necessary? This frustrated Harry to the point that he had decided to stop playing guitar and concentrate on the bass. Then he heard Rory. There on stage was one man with a battered Stratocaster and one small combo amp. With this limited arsenal, Rory Gallagher made more honest, meticulously crafted music than anyone Harry has seen before. Not only did Harry decide to stick with the guitar, he found the genre known as the Blues and began a love affair with the Stratocaster that continues to this day.

Rory Gallagher toured almost continuously until shortly before his death on June 14, 1995. In Europe, the anniversary of his passing is commemorated with tribute festivals and other events. Rory has never found the recognition he deserved in the United States. His popularity in Europe was huge—and it continues to grow! Loyal American fans are continuously spreading the good word as well, we will see Rory get the fame he so justly deserved!

Rory Gallagher by Steve Rosen

Rory Gallagher was mentor and founding member of Taste, a pre-Cream trio which pioneered the way for the so-called “heavy” bands. With his Irish trio he laid down the foundation upon which many groups subsequently were built: Passionate guitar, thundering drums, and throaty vocals. But what set Rory apart (and still does) was his ability to draw a screaming guitar sound from a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier turned up half-way when everyone else was rocking the world with banks of Marshalls. His first consideration was always the music, which he tempered with the right amount of volume and tone.

Gallagher's trademark is his battered sunburst Stratocaster which has seen him through countless festivals, concerts, and albums. Long before the days he ever plugged in an instrument, the Irishman practiced and toyed with various inexpensive acoustic instruments. and it was at the age of nine that be first set finger to string. “I was playing before that actually,” he says, “but it was with an Elvis Presley ukulele I got at Woolworth’s.’’

Completely self taught, Rory learned chords and fingerings by buying tutorial books and ‘‘seeing where they put their fingers.” He has some regret for never having taken any classical training, but feels there is still a straight “classical type” approach to his playing. In any event, Rory prefers an instinctive style as opposed to a structured one.

It was three-and-a-half years later, when he was thirteen years old, that this guitarist picked up his first electric instrument. At that time, when he was still experimenting with acoustic guitars, he had no interest in electric six-strings. His main concern was with skiffle music, a popular English / Irish term put on the music of performers like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie played on combs, wash-tub basses, etc.), and it wasn't until he actually had his first non acoustic instrument that he realized the potential of rock and roll. A Rosetti Solid 7 plugged into a Little Giant amplifier (with an output of four-watts) was the first electric setup, but after that thirteenth year guitars and amplifiers were changed annually.

The infamous Stratocaster came into Rory’s hands when he was fifteen, after it had been in the possession of another player for about three months. This Fender Sunburst is a late 1959 [Actually, an 11/61 model. --Harry] model with new machine heads, new frets, and a new pickguard. “In all those hot gigs in Taste the pickguard just folded up one night,” Gallagher explains, “just came up off the guitar.” Other minor alterations include the changing of the bridge to enhance string/neck action, and the discarding of the tremolo arm after it fell off. To accommodate the loss of the vibrato, Rory has slipped a small wedge inside the bridge to keep the tailpiece from moving and to keep the other strings in tune if one breaks. “I never put the vibrato back on, because I don't particularly like it,” he says ’l like the Clarence White attachment [Evans Pull String. See Alembic Report mfgr. address) where you can bend up a second or third string a tone. But as to the tremolo arm, I try to get the vibrato with my fingers, though it was fun in the early days with the dance bands, when you'd be playing a guitar boogie shuffle, and go wooo [imitates the sound of bending guitar string]"

Because Rory has brandished a Fender for so many years he obviously feels compatible with that make of guitar, though there have been several occasions when he has substituted his Strat with a Gibson, Taste bass player Richard McCracken would loan Rory a red Gibson if his Stratocaster was in the shop for a refretting or if he needed a particularly different sound for a studio recording. As for Gibsons in general, Gallagher says, “I don't feel that at home with them. I'm obviously so much a Fender musician. I can't get the clarity from a Gibson, the metallic clarity you can get from a Strat. You cant get syncopated rhythmic things with most of the Gibsons. There's a few odd Gibsons which are beautiful. But then again you can get a beautiful big fuzzy chord from the Gibson that on a Fender can be sometimes difficult to get. I don't think it travels as far as a Fender either :a Fender will hit the back wall. Even playing with a small amp in a huge band with brass, though a Fender might not be loud enough, it always peaks through. That's the main difference.” Rory also contends that you “cant get away with as much” on a Fender as you can with a Gibson because of the former’s clarity.

As for boosters, fuzzes, wah-wahs. and boxes, the only time Gallagher ever used any was in his first pickup dance bands and the early days of Taste when he used a fuzztone. Now, he stays away from external devices because he sees them as crutches and not as creative embellishments. ‘‘I’m a little bit old-fashioned about boxes and effects. I mean I'm not narrow-minded. I've heard a lot of great songs from them, but I like the old wah-wah effect with the tone control a little more, I don't know, I've just seen so many guys playing boring guitar breaks with them, I've seen guys play a nice interesting solo, and they get bored, and they go over to it and say ‘Oh to hell with it,’ and bam _waaaaah waaaaach. It's too much of a getaway- I like naked guitar."

For amplification Rory plugs into a Fender Twin tweed amplifier which was pre-dated in the primal days of Taste by an AC-30 Vox. To this day he still uses the standard Vox on stage after being introduced to it years ago when he saw the legendary Shadows [ early British rock group] using them. Gallagher used his for ten years, and even during the Cream / Hendrix period when everybody was rushing to Marshall he stuck with the relatively unknown amplifier, he describes the tube setup as having a ‘‘loud throaty sound, though he feels that the American versions built between 1963 and 1965 leaned to the flimsy side and were weak in the treble department"  The ‘fawn” box with his amp had numerous click switches, which according to Rory, meant nothing, but did ‘weird’’ things. “I think they just made them to change the design each week. Every time you opened it up, it had different tubes in it."

As with his guitars, Rory prefers not to tamper with the basic structure of his amplifiers. ‘You might stick in a different resistor or you might try that wire there,” he says, but I've never had them doctored.’ He isn't entirely against modifications, but believes that guitarists who place Gibson pickups on Fender instruments completely destroy the unique qualities of that brand of guitar.

The different sounds Gallagher achieves are strictly created by hand, guitar, and amplifier. One technique he uses to great effect is that of harmonics. The Fender neck creates overtones up and down its entire length and lends itself particularly well to this style of muffling flutes. On its lower reaches Rory’s use of finger/pick muffling causes the notes to sound like a synthesizer, while notes pinged” higher up the neck sound like they're in a tape loop and are coming out backwards.

When asked how he manages to extract such a clean, ringing sound Gallagher hems and haws and finally just chalks it up to experience. “I've been doing it for years.” he says. “It depends on the tone, and how much you really want to get them out. You can get a lot of interesting effects from it. Mind you, you wear your nail down to a shred though.” The pinging is achieved by the combined use of the pick, thumbnail. and the first finger ; and to add to the basic difficulty of this technique. Gallagher caught his thumbnail in a car door some nine years ago, and since that time, it has never grown back normally.

To facilitate the crisp tones of the harmonized notes, Rory sets the treble control on his Fender Twin just about full up he likes a “stinging” sound without it being too trebly: I like it clangy,” he states, “clangy is the word.” he plugs into the normal input of the amp, though there is a “brilliant” input which would make the guitar even sharper sounding than it is. He sets the amp volume on seven which in the case of his amp is a little over half-full (this particular year of amplifier ranges to number twelve). When he uses the AC-30 it, too, is placed at this point, and then miked naturally through whatever public address system is being used. Above this range the amp is sending out more distortion than tone, though Rory has talked with guitarists who recommend playing an amplifier from the seven to ten or twelve range.

To control his sound for a particular passage and to make a solo clean, Gallagher can lower his volume on his guitar. Then, for chording, he turns the guitar volume back up full to achieve a fuzzy tone.

While Rory has stuck with Fender and Vox he has experimented and tested several makes of amplifiers. Some of the more interesting makes he ran across were Stramp (a clean-sounding German amp which Leslie West used), Magnatone, Burns, and Vincent (an Italian brand). For studio work Rory also uses Fender — a small Deluxe which sounds rather fuzzy at the time of recording, but which comes across very clean on record.

Rory strings his Fenders with Fender Rock & Roll ordinary light gauge strings, but (in the past has used Clifford Essex (which he found to be temperamental in the heat). Gibson Sonomatics and Showboat. Strings are changed every two nights on the Strat and every fourth or fifth night with the Telly.

For picking Gallagher uses a Herco Heavy which gives a flexible attack because of its nylon makeup. Fender heavy and medium picks were too brittle, he explains and didn't allow him to do things with the strings” as he's able to do with the Hercos.

Another side of Rory Gallagher is his ability as a slide guitarist, a technique which came in part from listening to the old masters like Muddy Waters. Howlin Wolf (though Wolf seldom played slide on records) and the more modern players like Jeff Beck and Duane Allman. Rory alternates from metal tube to bottle for slide work, usually using the latter in the studio to achieve a softer sound. The action has been raised considerably on the Telecaster (though Gallagher normally plays his guitars with high action) and sports medium gauge strings with a wound third. He tunes the Fender to open E or ( his singing range) and employs a capo to get a G. B. or C tuning. He also uses a Martin D-35 and a National steel guitar for slide.

“I just try and get a volume whereby the guitar is still almost of an acoustic nature.” Rory states. ‘You know, if you just hit that a little harder you can get a hard note, and if you hit quite soft sound. I still like to get that acoustic feel about the guitar, does that sound crazy? I don't like to see a guy hit a note and let that do the work .I just like to go woomph and really dig the note. For an introduction or solo, I have guitar up to ten or maybe nine-and-a-half to give myself a little room, and then for the rhythm guitar I'd have it about seven-and-a-half or eight. Rory adds that with a Strat there is a different nature and volume for the separate pickups, and that in a certain position you can get away with less volume for a particular passage, because of the pickup setting.

"I like to keep that acoustic approach" he reiterates. "I mean I like to have electronics, sure, but I'm just into the guitar. I don't want to get into the so-called popular blues style - playing single notes and then turning your guitar down and singing. I'm into getting as much as out of the guitar as possible, which was the original idea of the guitar. I'm almost, if you will, into the classical approach to the guitar like Segovia had of getting everything you can out of the guitar by the use of all the fingers and all the means you can get. There's a million things in there to come out. Sometimes you can get them out with an electronic device, but that's the beauty of the instrument."

This article comes from Guitar Player ( 73/74?)

Rory Gallagher

by Colin Harper

RORY GALLAGHER died in London of liver failure on June 14.1995. A UK resident for many years, he was born in Ballyshannon in the Northwest of Ireland, on March 2,1948. His funeral took place at St. Oliver's Cemetery on the outskirts of Cork five days after his death, and was attended by thousands of friends, colleagues and admirers. Among them were guitarists Gary Moore and The Edge, along with Gallagher's longtime bass player, Gerry McAvoy. Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners read words from the Book of Wisdom, and messages of sympathy were acknowledged from Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton and John Mayall among many.

Gallagher's career began in showbands, an Irish phenomenon of the 60s wherein touring groups would emulate the sounds of the British hit parade on a thriving ballroom circuit.. When Gallagher left the Impact Showband to form a three—piece in 1965 it was, even within the beat scene, a bridge too far. The story goes that a friend had to pose for a photograph with a Vox Continental and fill the stereotypical fourth place for the group to gain a residency in Hamburg. A second lineup of the group was formed in 1966 and called Taste. They were always best received in the blues clubs of Northern Ireland, meeting their manager Eddie Kennedy in Belfast and, with a third lineup, moving to London in May '68. Gallagher's reputation for hard gigging and 100 percent performances began at this point.

Taste's career was as brief and dynamic as that of Cream, with whom they were oft compared. Their first, eponymous album reputedly sold 175,000 in its first year (1969); their second, On The Boards, remains as powerful and assured as any other rock album of the period, containing the core elements of style, technique and soul that Gallagher would develop as a solo artist.  He shared with Alvin Lee a breathless, soulful urgency in his vocal phrasing, words spilling out like flurries of notes from a guitar — Americanized to a degree but never mid Atlantic. In terms of the crushing intensity and the voice/guitar chemistry of his finest heavy blues recordings - Sinner Boy and Whole Lot of People among them — he was a one man Led Zeppelin. There were also occasional echoes of Van Morrison in his work, shimmering acoustic masterpieces such as his perennially crowd-pleasing arrangement of Leadbelly's When I Was A Cowboy never jarred with the harder blues or rock elements of his repertoire. The albums he made for Polydor between 1971 and 1974 - Rory Gallagher, Deuce, Live In Europe, Blueprint, Tattoo and Irish Tour ‘74 - remain a definitive testament to this musical spirit.

It is true to say that his star seemed to have faded in recent years — even in Ireland, where he remained an icon and a pioneer to those of his own generation. Business problems going back to the days of Taste and the late Eddie Kennedy had, friends admit off the record, triggered an alcohol problem for a period. Fluctuating health followed, with a large percentage of his income being swallowed up in legal affairs. His last Dublin show (like his last London one) was in 1992, although there were further concerts in Europe and America. Only two albums had appeared since 1982, although he'd made frequent and increasingly low-key guest appearances on albums by Irish artists including Dave Spillane, The Dubliners and Phil Coulter.

The last recordings Gallagher made were for a forthcoming Peter Green tribute album. In this respect and in others, there was a sense in which Gallagher's life was coming full circle. Fans remember fondly the tangible emotion of BBC Television concerts in the '70s, but almost certainly his final TV moment was an appearance in an Ulster Television documentary on the history of Northern Irish rock’n’roll, filmed in May ‘94. He sat on the edge of his bed in the London hotel room he'd made his home, talking simply and unpretentiously about the path he'd forged between the deep blues and modal scales of Irish music: about Davey Graham and Martin Carthy: and about the old days in Belfast.

As a wonderful musician, and as a wonderful human being, the loss of Rory Gallagher has engendered a genuine sorrow rare among rock musicians. He is already greatly missed.

The author of LOW END built this replica of Rory’s battered Fender Stratocaster, seen here with his wife Elaine.

Please follow this link to read more:


Rory Gallagher’s popularity has grown in the United States posthumously. Please see the following sites for further information on this uniquely gifted artist.

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The sound clip heard when page opens is NOT Rory Gallagher, it is Harry Pellegrin playing a portion of a song Rory often performed.


The Classic Guitar Method: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.

With the aid of a good teacher, the student will rapidly progress through The Classic Guitar Method attaining technical proficiency and musical eloquence.

This method stems from the need to incorporate a number of schools into a single cohesive curriculum. Years of honing a logical approach to the guitar and the creation of music culminate in this volume. As a self-proclaimed Disciple of Valdés-Blain , much of that famed teacher's focus can be found in Mr. Pellegrin's method.

ISBN: 978-1-4116-9442-2

Published by PAB Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 2369 Scotia, New York 12302

Please go to www.lulu.com to order.