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Rory Gallagher | Blues

Three discs of essential outtakes from the late, great Irish singer and guitar hero.

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WHO IS HE? The late, great, and still criminally underappreciated Irish blues-rock singer and guitar hero who died in 1995 at age 47 after a liver transplant.

WHAT IS THIS? An exhaustive and essential three-disc compilation comprised almost entirely of previously unreleased songs, outtakes, guest spots, radio/TV broadcasts and other rarities recorded between 1971 and 1994 — roughly divided into one disc each of electric, acoustic and live fare.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The blues, the whole blues and nothing but the blues.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? See previous question.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With your favourite adult beverage close at hand.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Authentic, unvarnished, grounded, gruff, direct, raucous, gravelly, muscular, soulful, confident.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Well, the solo on his BBC Radio recording of Off the Handle is incredible. Ditto the blistering live take of Bullfrog Blues from a Cleveland radio broadcast in 1972. And the live disc is essentially a 70-minute dose of adrenaline. But honestly, for fans, the entire set is a killer from start to finish. For newbies, his funky cover of Satisfaction might make a decent entry point. And if you’re in a mellow mood, you can’t miss with the acoustic disc.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK? That they need to hear a lot more Rory Gallagher as soon as humanly possible. And they’re right.

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? They might have to pry it from your cold dead hands.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A BAR, WHAT KIND OF BAR WOULD IT BE? A booze can on the south side of Chicago. Or the porch of a juke joint.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? I don’t know what else I could say to convince you that you need to own this.