Before Rory Gallagher stormed the 1970’s scene with a brace of good albums, he had his own band called Taste.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: On The Boards
SERIAL: 583 083
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Ireland
LINEUP: Rory Gallagher – lead guitar, harmonica, alto sax * John Wilson – drums * Richard McCracken – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 What’s Goin’ On * 02 Railway And Gun * 03 It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again * 04 If The Day Was Any Longer * 05 Morning Sun * 06 Eat My Words * 07 On The Boards * 08 If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry * 09 See Here * 10 I’ll Remember
I was aware of late guitarist Rory Gallagher’s ‘blooze’ fueled solo career for many years, but never really delved into his band Taste until I had a conversation about Rory with Starcastle‘s Matt Stewart who is a longtime fan and tipped me off to this, the band’s second and last studio album.
Taste formed in Cork, Ireland in 1966, quickly building a strong live reputation in both the Emerald Isle and the UK. A wise move to London in 1968 and several appearances at the Marquee as well as opening Cream‘s farewell shows with Yes helped the power trio ink a deal with the suits at Polydor.
Unlike the Taste debut which was a loud blues extravaganza of covers and originals, everything here was written by Gallagher and it’s different to anything he had done before or after. The driving opener ‘What’s Goin’ On’ is Taste at the top of their game and went straight to number one in Germany as well as the top 10 in the UK, yet Gallagher was not happy Polydor chose to release it as a single so go figure? Can’t please everyone I guess. Like the first album, the raw, loose and very Irish feel of the music is still prevalent but it’s mellowed down a notch or two and for the better.
Cream comparisons still pepper much of the album, the Clapton-ish ‘Railway and Gun’ case in point but there are other influences at work here. Including the English Folk of ‘It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again’ and the brooding proto-proggin’ six-minute title track featuring Gallagher’s one and only appearance on sax and sounding like early Van Der Graaf Generator at their darkest. Heck, there’s even a shade of ‘White Album’ era Beatles on ‘If I Don’t Sing I’ll Cry’ and when all is said and done, ‘On The Boards’ is without a doubt one of 1970’s top of the heap releases.
Unfortunately or depending on your perspective, Gallagher left Taste in late 1970 wishing to pursue his serious love of the blues, putting out several albums with the best of his catalog released after signing to Chrysalis Records. Both 1976’s ‘Calling Card’ co-produced by Deep Purple‘s Roger Glover and the follow up ‘Photo-Finish’ released in 1978 are worthy of any serious classic rock collection.
In 1971 John Wilson and Richard McCracken joined up with former Family and future Gulliver (‘Ridin’ The Wind’) guitarist John Weider to form Stud, releasing two jammy and unfocused albums not worth your while.