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
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
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
understand the pain and sorrow. It seems so empty to say, but
heal. It doesn't seem possible at the time. I never met Rory and
never met his Mother and only know Donal casually through email,
has been very kind to me. Nevertheless, Monica touched my life
sons. For that I thank her. I believe that there is an afterlife
she is now with her son and God. This is a very small comfort to
family, but there will one day be reunion and all tears will be
May God richly bless the Gallagher's at this time of supreme
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
she seemed like such a nice woman. I have heard only wonderful
things said about her from people who knew and met her. My
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
I'm very sad to hear that...
Very sad to hear that news. But I think she is happy to be with
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
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
St Peter & Paul's church on June 14th on the occasion of the
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 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
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
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
maybe? On that day I do think she was happy and proud to see
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
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
and forth. It was so easy to see where a lot of her in Rory and
especially in their manners and how they treat people. What's
saying....'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree'. Most of
that phrase is used in a negative sense, but in this case it is
Our condolences to the Gallagher family and to Tom.
Darn it anyhow, Rory's Mom
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
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
(The Guitar Magazine, August
of the greatest blues guitarists of the 20th
Century. Rory Gallagher is Gary Morrisseys
musical herothe authors as well!
first saw Rory Gallagher perform at New York
Citys Felt Forum, an auditorium in Madison
Square Garden in November of 1973. Rory opened
that night for Deep Purple.
Ive 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.
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.
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 hugeand 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!
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.
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 Woolworths.
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.
Stratocaster came into Rorys 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 formers 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. Im
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."
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
Rorys 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
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
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
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
"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?)
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
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 threepiece
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
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
rocknroll, 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
The author of LOW END built this replica of
Rorys battered Fender Stratocaster, seen
here with his wife Elaine.
this link to read more:
popularity has grown in the United States
posthumously. Please see the following sites for
further information on this uniquely gifted
The sound clip heard when page opens
is NOT Rory Gallagher, it is Harry Pellegrin
playing a portion of a song Rory often performed.
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