It’s some 25 years since Rory left planet earth, yet his music lives on regularly in Rock radio and on the streets of Donegal once a year. Donegal was of course Rory’s birthplace, hence the ever-popular tribute festival. It is no surprise then that a comprehensive 'The Best Of' compilation of 30 tracks is set to be released on Friday 9th of October. Hot on the heels of the recently released 'Check Shirt Wizard – Live in ‘77' and last year’s ‘Blues’ album, the fanbase won’t be disappointed.
All the big hitters are present including ‘Bad Penny’, ‘Shadow Play’, ‘Tattooed Lady’ and ‘A Million Miles Away’, to name a few. Four songs from his first band, ‘Taste’, formed in the late 60’s, are also dropped, covering the start of his recording career through to his last recordings back in 1990. While I look, like many, for the ‘Canned Heat’ song, ‘Bullfrog Blues’, which Rory made his own, it's not included, but can be found on all the ‘Live’ releases.
There is though an interesting Rolling Stones cover with Rock ‘n’ Roller piano man Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded in a jam session called the ‘London Sessions’ from back in 1973. Rory was once offered a role in the Stones following Mick Taylor’s departure, but declined and Ronnie Wood then stepped in.
As you listen through this collective, you can see why so many big name guitarists, from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Brian May, Slash, Joe Bonamassa and Johnny Marr, credit Rory as their hero. Rory regularly switched styles from Blues to mainstream Rock mixing in Celtic riffing and sometimes stretching to the more Hard Rock drive you find in ‘Moonchild’. The stand out tracks for me are the epic ‘Ghost Blues’ (7 minutes 59 seconds), building from an acoustic base, the grooving ‘Bought and Sold’ and the vocal rich ‘Philby’.
Available in all physical and digital formats through the UMC record label, 'The Best Of’, from the man with the battered Fender Strat, is ideal for a fan’s collection or a sampler for the new listener.