London — The essential flavor of Taste is twenty year old Rory Gallagher. At a time when the focus of attention is clearly the lead guitarist, it is impossible to fault those who claim this softly spoken young Irishman as the fastest riding young star in Europe.
Rory was voted among Britain’s top twenty instrumentalists at a time when few had even heard of the group he leads. That has since been remedied with an album which proved that Taste’s club following was no flash in the pan.
Scandinavia has already voted Taste as the ‘best new group’ and in the Netherlands they topped Cream and Fleetwood Mac in a popularity poll. But just as all comparisons are odious, it is impossible to slip Taste into a category with Blind Faith, or Rory Gallagher in a bracket with Eric Clapton. For what Taste and Rory are doing is new and different. There all comparisons must end, and only the enthusiasm of their audience can be a measure of their ability to communicate.
The base of Taste is the blues, “But then we work things out as we go. We don’t want to ever play it safe, it may fall really flat some nights, but you will be sure never to hear the same thing twice,” says Rory.
He first formed the group in 1966, after a stint playing with the Fontanas in Germany. That particular Taste trio “went as far as it could go, and fizzled out”. Then Rory was joined by two Northem Irishmen, Richie McCraken and John Wilson, and they moved to London. They started working at The Marquee Club and have been expanding their circle of fans ever since.
Despite the excellence of his supporting musicians, the undoubted star of the group is Rory, brilliant lead guitarist, composer, vocalist, and onstage an overwhelming personality.
His obvious pleasure at playing his battered guitar adds warmth to his dazzling technique. In concert he prefers to use a ridiculously small thirty watt amplifier better suited to a home hi-fi outfit. At times the volume is so low that it would be lullaby level at others it seems to overwhelm.
“We don’t have a style or a tag, although we are blues based, roughly speaking,” says Rory. “I call our style ‘unpredictable’. We are developing all the time, if we recorded an album last night it would be out of date today. That is the way we want it to be, we don’t want to be hidebound or pegged down to something we have played before and are expected to play again.”