Rory Gallagher Albums Ranked

William Rory Gallagher (/ˈrɔːri ˈɡæləhər/GAL-ə-hər; 2 March 1948 – 14 June 1995) was an Irish blues and rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, and brought up in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s. His albums have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. In the 1980s he continued recording, producing Jinx, Defender, and Fresh Evidence. After Fresh Evidence, he embarked on a tour of the United States. In addition, he played with Box of Frogs, a band formed in 1983 by former members of The Yardbirds. Becoming obsessive over details and plagued by self-doubt, Gallagher nevertheless retained a loyal fanbase. During this period he stated, “I agonize too much”. Gallagher received a liver transplant in 1995 but died of complications later that year in London at the age of 47. Here are all of Rory Gallagher albums ranked.

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10. Defender (1987)

“Wow, what a great example of this guy’s brilliance. The guitar on this recording is absolutely scorching, and beautiful. All cuts are so strong it’s hard to pick a favorite. But “Continental Op (to Dashiell Hammett)”, “Don’t Start Me To Talkin” and “I Ain’t No Saint” are super examples of why we fans of blues/rock are so enamored with Rory. “Road To Hell” could be a bluesman’s theme song.”

9. Blueprint (1973)

“Rory Gallagher’s 1973 album, Blueprint, is another in a long line of strong albums from the late great Irish guitarist. The reflective “Daughter of the Everglades” slows down the pace considerably and contains some of Rory’s more tender singing during the verses. These two tracks along with the riveting and sprawling epic “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” are three of Rory’s best as a solo artist. The band’s take on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Banker’s Blues” is well done with plenty of harmonica while “Hands Off” is a tried and true blues number where Martin’s piano playing is very classy.”

8. Live In Europe (1972)

“After two solo studio-albums in the one year (May and November 1971) following his exit from Taste – Ireland’s greatest-ever axeman Rory Gallagher nailed it big time. While the self-titled debut hit No. 30 in the UK and his far better second platter “Deuce” oddly only managing No. 39 – “Live! In Europe” was the one that broke down every barrier.”

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7. Stage Struck (1980)

“This live album is a little more rock-tinged than some of his previous blusier live efforts, but, as always, Rory delivers the goods. This is nonstop Rory… some of his finest guitar work. Much more energy LIVE, than on his studio recordings. This is quite frankly one of the best live albums around and this is the best it has sounded.”

6. Top Priority (1979)

“Top Priority is Rory Gallagher’s best studio album. Not by a huge margin, mind you – his entire studio album catalog is outstanding. He was at the peak of his vocal ability on this record and his fretwork had never been better in studio. It is well-known to Rory fans that he much preferred playing live to working in the studio. I believe this album, more than any other studio release, captures the ‘live’ spirit of Rory’s ungodly talents as a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Gerry McAvoy and Ted McKenna provide the perfect rhythmic”

5. Rory Gallagher (1971)

“his album has it all.Jazz,Blues,Folk.An album which laid the foundation for what was to come.Not a bad song on this album.The more I listen to it,the more I love it.3 standout tracks for me are the blues rocker “Sinner Boy”,the country influenced “It’s You”,and the phenomenal “Can’t Believe It’s True”,which shows Rory’s versatility as not only a great guitarist,but one hell of a sax player.”

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4. Calling Card (1976)

“You probably should buy all of Gallagher’s albums up to and including the recent (and phenomenal) BBC SESSIONS, but, hey, I might be a little biased. But if you had to limit yourself to one, clearly CALLING CARD is it. His songwriting was never better, nor his guitar playing, but there’s an added x factor: you could call it chemistry, or kismet, or mojo. WhatEVER that elliptical, intangible magic that all too rarely occurs when the tape is rolling might be termed, this record is drenched with it.”

3. Deuce (1971)

“This album gives us some outstanding acoustic guitar. And on “Whole Lot of People” and “In Your Town” we get that great Gallagher slide. Perfect. Rory penned all tunes here, proving he could do it all. The backing band Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Wilgar Campbell (drums) is more than up to the task at hand. I like this material very much just not as much as some other Rory works. “Should’ve Learnt My Lesson” is I believe is my favorite song on this CD, nice and bluesy. “There’s A Light” is a really good song as well.”

2. Tattoo (1973)

“Another one of those seemingly lost albums from the 1970s which demonstrates the versatility and depth of Rory’s talent. Why this man isn’t rated more highly will remain a secret. From Tattoo’d Lady right through to the second bonus track, Just A Little Bit, there’s a light which shines through the music. This must have been one of Rory’s own favourite albums, judging by the number of tracks which he played live throughout the 1970s and 80s.”

1. Irish Tour (1974)

“‘Irish Tour ’74’ towers above the rest of Rory Gallagher’s discography, not that the studio albums are bad, it’s just this one is so universally acclaimed and praise! Clocking in at just under 70 minutes and 10 songs, it is a relatively large chunk of music. There is of course, a lot of improv over the ‘blues standard’ type tracks, and it does go on sometimes, but it’s exactly why you should buy this album!”