Initial Release: September 16th, 1979 / Remastered Release 2018
Record Label: UMC
Location: Dierks Studio, Cologne
Producer: Rory Gallagher & Alan O’Duffy
Rory Gallagher (Guitar, Vocals, Dulcimer & Harmonica)
Gerry McAvoy (Bass)
Ted McKenna (Drums & Percussion)
A year after the huge success of ‘Photo-Finish’ Rory returned to Dieter Dierks studio in Germany to record Top Priority, his fourth album for Chrysalis.
The year in-between saw Rory touring extensively in the States and receiving great press both at home and abroad. Chrysalis was keen to keep this momentum going and promised to make this new album their ‘top priority’. In typical Rory style he named the album after their promise so that no one at the record company would be able to forget their guarantee.
The driving urgency of Follow Me sets the tone for this energetic and exciting album. This song quickly became a live standard.
In Philby Rory draws parallels between his transitory life on the road to that of arch spy Kim Philby. For this track Rory plays a rare 60s Coral Electric Sitar hired from Pete Townsend, which embellishes the tracks ‘eastern block’ feel.
Wayward Child is a straight up rock track with the sort of infectious hook that Rory can deliver.
Keychain is a great blues number with a lyric describing a man looking to escape his past.
From the first lick of At The Depot you can feel Rory’s exuberance and energy in this jumping rock ‘n’ roll track.
No live performance was complete without Bad Penny, this big southern rock number. Again Rory uses a sitar to add texture to the song.
At the time of Top Priority’s release Rory’s fear of flying was worsening, whilst touring commitments around the World were increasing. Just Hit Town is Rory talking of his fears but declaring he has no intention to change his lifestyle to hide from them.
Off The Handle is an angry blues track which features Rory blowing a mean harmonica.
Public Enemy No.1 is a tribute to B-movie heroes of his youth, Rory had an early love of gangster and crime films.
Hell Cat is a spooky blues / rock track which sees Rory contemplating his superstitious nature and wondering whether he himself is jinxed.
The Watcher sees Rory really experiment with his sound complimented by some really driving bass and drums.