Johnny Winter wasn't in the running. Although l'm appreiative of all his work, answering the question as you did is like me going to the polling office on election day and trying to vote for a political party in South Africa as apposed to a party in my home country..... Next
I entered early adulthood in the American Midwest in the late '60s and early '70s. When you posted this question my initial response was, "Clapton of course... who is Rory Gallagher?"
So I thought I should check out Gallagher on YouTube. What I mainly found at first was well executed hyperactive rock blues (word order deliberate) music that would be a good listen while trying to not fall asleep driving long distance through the night. How could harp possibly fit into the music from that group?
Anyway, I grew up listening to Clapton and I am familiar with his various recordings and musical wanderings. Also, Clapton recorded "From the Cradle" with Portnoy. Surely Clapton would be my American Midwestern choice of a blues influenced Great Britain based recording artist?
Today I found this gem on YouTube:
Now I am of two minds. This is really good stuff. How did I miss this!? Should I reconsider and choose playing harp on Gallagher's stuff over Clapton?
I would probably still choose Clapton material to play because of my long familiarity with his various works, but I understand your question better now.
Rory Gallagher's work is clearly worthy of more USA attention. Perhaps I somehow missed him when local Midwest hippie tastes shifted to more of a country rock vibe back in the day. Perhaps others in the Midwest are well aware of Gallagher's work.
Still, my choice is Clapton mainly for familiarity with no final judgement being offered as to which is best overall. ----------
DougHarps too bad you missed Rory, maybe He didn't tour the Mid West much ? Out here on the West coast I was able to see Him live 3 or 4 times all great shows at least the 2 I remember ! That guy put on show & knew how to entertain a crowd for sure.
Hey Doug S, try and check out (or buy) Nine Below Zero live at The Rockpalast 1981 and 1996. A 3 CD and 2 DVD set. It features Rory Gallagher's rhythm section and excellent harmonica players and other quest musos. And there is a good 30 minutes of the band paying tribute to the late great RV.
I'm assuming the Gallagher uninitiated are those from the far flung corners of the colonies. I'm glad you like him. I sure you have some musical treasures stashed away that we, (on this miserable grey US aircraft carrier of a island) have yet to indulge and appreciate.
There a story back in the late sixties, Jimi Hendrix was on a popular afternoon talk show, The Mike Douglas Show. When Mike Douglas asked Jimi "What's it was like to be the best rock guitarist in the world?" Jimi responded "I don't know, you'll have to ask Rory Gallagher" I do love his slide work, head to head with Johnny Winter, just loose to Derek Trucks, in my opinion.
Last Edited by LFLISBOA on Feb 11, 2021 9:05 AM
@Soap Music Here's a clip from a guitarist you might not know. Jerome Godboo is an equally ridiculous harmonica player but Shawn Kellerman is an underknown guitarist to my knowledge and is an absolutely killer performer/showman and nice guy in my interactions. His guitar solo starts at 4 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIN3mIqOpq4 P.S. I love the island analogy!
They're both talented guitarists. But as a harmonica player, if you had a choice, why would you want to be in a guitar-centric band?
I could understand if you presented options of more rhythm focused guitar players who really know how to play behind a harp player - Kid Anderson, Tommy Harkenrider, Junior Watson, Steve Freund, Tommy Leino, etc.
Clapton and Gallagher? Not unless I switch to bass or drums. ---------- BnT www.BluesWithAFeelin.com
It could work if the guitarist in question were willing to have the harmonica player be more than a bit of decoration . I always thought what Jerry Portnoy did with Clapton was the least interesting work I heard him do, and the horn player who plays harp from time to time with Joe Bonamassa does very little except add after thought of tonal authenticity. Johnny Winter, though, was willing to allow give Pat Ramsey a lot of room in performance and on album to show the world what a slick player he was ---------- www.ted-burke.com
Dear BnT (Blues and Trouble?) The advantages of being in a guitar centric band when one is over 60, a smoker, a drinker, and a womaniser, it gives one a chance to think about retirement, get one's breath back, have a crafty fag, get the beers in and blag the occasional bird at the bar. The disadvantages is that guitarists do tend to bang on about their new effects pedals and turn the volume knob up to 11.
I am 68, sober 33 years, happily monogamous , and have no need to sneak a smoke, a drink or an out of bounds kiss. So there's advantage for me to show up and play in a heavily guitar centric blues band when there's chance to play and be heard. I have been lucky enough , though, to have friends who want to share the solo spots. ---------- www.ted-burke.com
They are both great of course but Rory was very under appreciated in his own time Growing up in the UK in the 70's hardly anyone knew who he was, I was just lucky to chance upon him. In his native Ireland though, he was huge.
I heard that Irish Tour, '74 album a lot around 1981. He had a bunch of other records but that one was very popular among people around here who liked that kind of rock. Johnny Winter was probably slightly less well known. Clapton was like a superstar, like a pop star. Gallagher was not in that league of fame but he was probably respected more than Clapton among those who knew about him. Clapton was legit but just not all that cool. Maybe he was cooler with a group a few years older than those I associated with. I missed him be about a decade I think.
Did Portnoy get to play all of one (1) or was it two (2) solo/s per concert when he toured w/ EC? Of course people went the those concerts very much for an interest in the guitar-playing, but wasn´t that slightly ridiculous?
I love Clapton's blues album From The Cradle from a few years back, where he had made enough money for the record company and was allowed to make an all blues album. His playing on it, after so many albums of tepid pop, was a revelation. Plainly, he played as if he had something to prove.Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan had stolen his thunder as a blues guitarist and it was time for EC to remind everyone of who he was in the guitar scheme of things. I was lucky to see Rory Gallagher at a San Diego date in 1974, and was very pleasantly surprised that besides being a fierce and moving straight ahead blues guitar player, he played a mean slide guitar. ---------- www.ted-burke.com