Records That Made History

Rory Gallagher – Calling Card

todayJanuary 20, 2024 17 3

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Calling Card is the eighth studio album by Irish guitarist and singer Rory Gallagher, released in 1976 and the second of four albums he released with Chrysalis Records in the ‘70s. All song compositions are by Rory Gallagher with the album to be considered a milestone in his career.

Calling Card was co-produced with Gallagher by Deep Purple and Rainbow bassist Roger Glover. It was Gallagher’s first time working with a “name” as a producer and his only successful collaboration at this level. It was also the last work Gallagher did with Rod de’Ath on drums and Lou Martin on keyboards. After Calling Card, Gallagher kept only his longtime bassist Gerry McAvoy and hired Ted McKenna on drums. This revised trio was Gallagher’s band for the next five years, until Brendan O’Neil took over the drums.

Rehearsals for the album began at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany in the summer of 1976. Glover came on board as co-producer, having met Gallagher on an American tour of Deep Purple, where the latter was opening for them. The choice of Glover marked a conscious effort by Gallagher to try new directions from the hard rock he was best known for. Calling Card is one of his most diverse albums, reflecting the synergy the band had developed after so many years together. Commenting on it, Roger Glover said: “Everyone seemed very committed to Rory, there was a loyalty born years ago in the smoky clubs and endless tours.” This was Rory’s fifth and final album with this lineup of the group.

Tracks like the acoustic “Barley & Grape Rag” as well as the jazzy-soulful of the title track find Gallagher exploring other musical avenues while also being at his thickest compositionally. Even the robust “Do You Me Read Me”, which opens the album, is stripped of the heavy rock sound, with synthy touches over a rough blues-rock sound for which he was known.

“Moonchild,” “Country Mile,” and “Secret Agent” take on a more catchy sound, incorporating ferocious guitar riffs, later joined by Jon Lord-esque instrumentals from Roger Glover. The very stylish ballad “I’ll Admit You’re Gone” is the one that shifts Gallagher as a guitarist into calmer waters and proves that his melodic talent was just as laborious on the quieter tracks.

Calling Card is arguably Rory Gallagher’s best studio effort, containing some of his best and most varied batch of songs. It’s an ideal album for the younger ones looking to start their collection as well as a must for the older ones, showing Gallagher at the peak of his powers.

From this top album I select the title track “Calling Card”.

Tracklist

Do You Read Me 5:16
Country Mile 3:16
Moonchild 4:44
Calling Card 5:20
I’ll Admit You’re Gone 4:24
Secret Agent 5:44
Jackknife Beat 7:05
Edged In Blue 5:27
Barley And Grape Rag 3:35

Written by: Dimitris Sigalos

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