Review: Barry Barnes – Rory!

Posted on: Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010

BARRY BARNES
“Rory!”
(self-release)

For the last ten years, Barry Barnes has led the excellent Sinnerboy, one of the premier Rory Gallagher tribute bands, who have toured extensively around Europe, Scandinavia and the USA. However the band is to split next year and he will be concentrating on a solo career, and therefore comes his first solo cd “Rory!” – a heartfelt collection of both some of the great man’s songs and some of the country blues tunes he used to cover, from the likes of Blind Boy Fuller, Leadbelly and Son House.

Barnes got the Rory bug seeing him live for the first time in 1969, and was a major fan after that, and he was already a country blues fan from listening to his brother’s vinyl collection, here he pays homage to his favourite guitar player of all time, and a fine job he has done too – the tracks recorded in a variety of locations as far apart as Dublin, Athens and Yorkshire!

Eight of the tracks were laid down at Reaction Studios in Athens, including an acoustic take on the superb “Moonchild”; the very old song, “The Cuckoo”, and a slide work out on Son House’s immortal “Death Letter Blues”. A highlight from the Greek recordings is a beautiful version of “I Fall Apart”, a Gallagher song from way back on his debut solo album in 1971, and delivered with skill and passion here by Barry Barnes.

A rowdy Dublin crowd in the Temple Bar Music Centre are enthusiastic on the opening “Pistol Slapper Blues” by Blind Boy Fuller, famously recorded on the “Live In Europe” album, and a fine “Out On The Western Plain” – the Leadbelly song that used to feature in Rory Gallagher’s acoustic interludes. Paul Westwell helps out on harmonica on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Nothin’ But The Devil”, recorded at Calder Studios in Yorkshire, as was the rousing “Barley And Grape Rag” . . . featuring some sweet violin from Tracy Smith, with Dave Burns (double bass) and Ozzer McLoughlin (drums).

As a Rory ‘nut’ myself I thoroughly enjoyed this album . . . . great singing and playing, but with fun as well – check out the unlisted closer!) – nice one Barry . . . and more power to him for keeping the memory of the legendary Rory Gallagher alive!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.sinnerboy.co.uk

e-mail: barry@barrybarnes.net

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