This year would mark the 50th year of Rory Gallagher’s recording career if it were not for his untimely death in 1995. During his career he was acclaimed by all the Blues greats - old as well as new - and played sessions with the likes of Muddy Waters and Albert King among many others.

The thing that strikes me about this package is to ask the question “how has this much great material remained un-released over the years?” The three CDs in the package include out-takes from some of his classic albums and radio session material as well as his guest slots on albums from Lonnie Donegan and Muddy Waters but almost more importantly, some great acoustic material – he never released an acoustic album but the quality of this suggests he really should have.

Even the out-takes here show the terrific quality of his playing. The passion in his voice and the remarkable originality of his guitar playing. At first listen you are listening to a Blues man end of but listen further, pick out his guitar lines and you do begin to hear the real improvisation he put into his playing.

The package breaks down into three different strands of his music – Electric Blues, Acoustic Blues and Live Blues and each one bears a thorough listen.
The Electric Blues set includes unreleased tracks from the ‘Jinx’, ‘Against The Grain’ and ‘Blueprint’ albums as well as a number of radio sessions.
The Acoustic set again has some album out-takes and radio sessions but it is quite different from the power and rocky edge of the Electric Blues set, more Bluesy and with a folky edge to some of the tracks. Even though his normal setup included few frills – he hardly ever used pedals or effects in his playing – the acoustic side is even more stripped back and really demonstrates his unique technique and style.
The Live Blues set is wonderful. Gallagher was a prolific live player, he probably played more gigs per years that days he didn’t, and seemed to reserve his best playing for the stage. This includes numbers culled from gigs at Newcastle, Sheffield and Glasgow as well as an Old Grey Whistle Test performance, a number with Jack Bruce from Rockpalast, one with Albert King and even with Chris Barber. There is a lovely bit at the end with Rory just talking about his Blues.

It is all genuinely worthy of inclusion into his catalogue and even if you are not a Rory Gallagher completist these albums stand in their own right.