Well, I don’t have no clothes to clean
To put inside the machine
But it’s the craziest place I have ever been
A long-overdue trip to the laundromat last Sunday started me on a week-long Rory Gallagher binge. Coincidentally, the Irish rocker, who died in 1995, was just named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine, which should have called its list “100 Notable Pop Guitarists, Carefully Chosen to Please All Demographics.”
Unlike about half of the RS picks, Gallagher actually belongs on a best-guitarists list. More accurately, he ranks high among the greatest rock & roll guitarists, and was considered close to No. 1 among R&R fans in the blue-collar neighborhood where I grew up.
A legendary live performer, Rory played his beat-to-shit Stratocaster with great flair and logic and soul, and with an instantly recognizable style that makes even his lesser recordings worth hearing. He wrote most of his best songs leading the power trio Taste, whose On the Boards is an all-but forgotten R&R masterpiece.
Footnote: Paul Simon, Steve Stills and Joni Mitchell are (were) great songwriters, but did you know they’re also great guitarists? Did you know that Bruce Springsteen made the cut, but not the virtuoso Nils Lofgren, who now plays in Springsteen’s band? That Angus Young and Kurt Cobain are in the pantheon? Somebody call the music police! What were RS’s criteria for greatness? As politely as possible: RS stopped being reliable more than 30 years ago, after it became a corporate rag.