Rory Gallagher – Deuce 50th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set

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Following their final gig at the end of 1970, Taste, the band which first brought Rory Gallagher to the public eye, folded. Gallagher and the band had wowed audiences throughout the continent, but by the time of their appearance at the Isle Of White Festival in 1970 the cracks were beginning to show. Joining up with Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Wilgar Campbell (drums), Gallagher set about recording what would be his first self-titled solo album in May of 1971, but despite some strong songwriting from the guitarist on tracks like ‘Sinner Boy’ and ‘For The Last Time’ the album failed to capture the raw energy of Gallagher’s on-stage prowess. Just six months later and instead of the Advision Studio (where his debut had been recorded with Eddy Offord behind the desk) Rory’s choice for the follow up was Tangerine Studios in East London and engineer Robin Sylvester, he once again chose to self-produced the album and kept the same band line-up.

Those sessions produced Deuce, a collection of self-penned songs which built on the strong writing displayed on its predecessor. Kicking off this 50th Anniversary, 2022 remix of that sophomore album as on the original ‘Used to Be’ grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck from the off with its powerful statement riff. Next up ‘I’m Not Awake Yet’ brings in some Spanish guitar to lighten the tone and allow the rhythm section to run free. The porch blues ‘Don’t Know Where I’m Going’ shows the versatility and scope of Rory’s talents where he even throws in some classic harmonica before ‘Maybe I Will’ returns him to a more reflective mood. ‘Whole Lot of People’ is as finger picking good as anything here and ‘In Your Town’ which would take on a life of its own on Live In Europe, when it was expanded to over ten minutes is still a class boogie woogie act even in this truncated form, and was the only Deuce track to go on to appear on the Live In Europe album. ‘Should’ve Learnt My Lesson’, ‘Crest of a Wave’ and ‘Out of My Mind’ would all become favourites during the accompanying tour, and along with the plucky ‘There’s a Light’ they round out the main event. All of this will be very familiar to any fan of Gallagher’s catalogue, so what does this new package bring to the party?

Discs two and three are where the demo/alternative takes lie, and normally at this point in an expanded collection I would be saying “do you really need an extra three versions ‘Out Of My Mind’ or six of ‘Maybe I Will’” but in this case “maybe you do”? Although the main feel of the tracks on the whole is fairly similar in most cases the playing is extraordinary in every case and it seems that the only reason for the rerecording of many of these additional takes was to nail a vocal or polish the occasional solo on what are fundamentally live takes. It is also quite endearing to hear those slightly clumsy endings, studio chatter and tune up intros still in place. On top of that, the nine-minute take of ‘In Your Town’ which features on the second disc should have made the final cut because it represents blues boogie at its best, although it probably would have pushed the time limitations of the original vinyl release. Other high points include country tinted solo acoustic takes on ‘Whole Lot Of People’ featuring Rory’s astounding slide playing (particularly on the 6-string version) and disc three highlights the seven-minute shuffle of ‘There’s A Light – Alternative Take 3’ and the slightly cracked vocals and electric slide of ‘Crest Of A Wave – Alternative Take 2’. One thing that is for sure… these are not just scraps retrieved from the cutting room bin, and many of these alternatives could have made the grade with very little spit and polish. The only time the sound quality dips is on the three “Home Demos” which close out disc three, but I think we can allow the compilers that one indiscretion under the auspices of documenting history. Deuce still remains a great album today, but I do wonder whether using the longer format of some of these songs would have served to retain the live edge that they were looking for, a format which would be adopted on its studio follow up, the more successful Blueprint.

Unsurprisingly to this writer, the real bonus content appears on the fourth “live” disc which contains seven tracks taken from a session transmitted on Germany’s Radio Bremen at the end of 1971, along with six songs from a BBC “In Concert” recording from 1972. With the band in fine form as they headed out on tour in support of the Deuce album the songs from that latest release supply the framework for both sets. Launching into the radio session with two Deuce tracks, the slow blues of ‘Should’ve Learnt My Lesson’ and the driving ‘Crest Of A Wave’ before heading into ‘I Could’ve Had Religion’ the first of three tracks which would go on to appear on his ground breaking live album Live In Europe the following year, these appear along with two covers; ‘Pistol Slapper Blues’ by Blind Boy Fuller, and a song which would become one of Gallagher’s trademarks, ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ by Junior Wells, which he really made his own. Completed with the emotional ‘For The Last Time’ from his debut, where Gallagher lets loose on his 6-string towards the conclusion, and a third Deuce song, the contrasting ‘Don’t Know Where I’m Going’. This set is the perfect summary of his career so far, and the only thing missing is an audience. That is put to rights on the BBC “In Concert” recording from The Paris Theatre on January 13th, 1972, where things are taken to the next level. Sporting a similar set list, the ramped-up versions of ‘Should’ve Learnt My Lesson’ and ‘Crest Of The Wave’ are joined by two other Deuce tracks, the rocking ‘Used To Be’ and acoustic, but to short ‘Out Of My Mind’ once more joined by ‘I Could’ve Had Religion’ and an even more raucous ‘Messin’ With The Kid’. For those who enjoy the energy of these in concert tracks but don’t want to lay out for the full set this part of the release is also available as a stand-alone single LP on coloured vinyl as is a 2CD cut down version of the set for those who still think six versions of ‘Maybe I Will’ is to much, which adds only nine alternatives plus the Bremen session to the remixed album.

It would be with his next release Live In Europe where he would find both commercial and universal critical success and by the time of his passing in 1995 Rory Gallagher would produce a further nine studio albums as well as two more live albums giving us some of the best blues music to grace turntables around the world. He also became the bluesman’s bluesman changing the lives of players from Jimmy Page to Slash and Joe Bonamassa to Johnny Marr. Marr supplied the foreword to the 64-page hardback book which accompanies the deluxe box set along with unseen photos from the late Mick Rock. His legacy was built treading the boards during the many road miles he travelled over his career and that will stand the test of time and continue to influence guitarist and songwriters for generations to come.

  • Reviewed By Peter Brockwell
  • Deuce: 50th Anniversary Edition is released via UMC On 30th September 2022 and is available here.
  • Official Website

Track List:

4 CD Box Set

CD1

1. Used to Be
2. I’m Not Awake Yet
3. Don’t Know Where I’m Going
4. Maybe I Will
5. Whole Lot of People
6. In Your Town
7. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson
8. There’s a Light
9. Out of My Mind
10. Crest of a Wave

CD2

1. Used to Be – Alternate Take 1
2. Used to Be – Alternate Take 2
3. I’m Not Awake Yet – Alternate Take 1
4. Don’t Know Where I’m Going – Alternate Take 1
5. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 1
6. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 2
7. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 3
8. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 4
9. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 5
10. Whole Lot of People – Electric Alternate Take 1
11. Whole Lot of People – 6 String Acoustic Alternate Take 1
12. Whole Lot Of People – Deuce Album Session / Alternative Acoustic Take / 1971 *
13. Whole Lot of People – 12 String Acoustic Alternate Take 1
14. In Your Town – Alternate Take 1
15. In Your Town – Alternate Take 2
16. In Your Town – Alternate Take 3

CD3

1. In Your Town – Alternate Take 4
2. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Deuce Album Session / Alternative Acoustic Take / 1971*
3. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Deuce Album Session Out Take / 1971*
4. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Alternate Take 2
5. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Alternate Take 3
6. There’s A Light – Alternate Take 1
7. There’s A Light – Alternate Take 2
8. There’s A Light – Alternate Take 3
9. Out of My Mind – Alternate Take 1
10. Out of My Mind – Alternate Take 2
11. Out of My Mind – Alternate Take 3
12. Crest of a Wave – Alternate Take 1
13. Crest of a Wave – Alternate Take 2
14. Don’t Know Where I’m Going – Home Demo
15. Maybe I Will – Home Demo
16. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Home Demo

CD4

1. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
2. Crest of a Wave – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
3. I Could’ve Had Religion – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
4. For The Last Time – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
5. Messin’ With The Kid – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
6. Don’t Know Where I’m Going – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
7. Pistol Slapper Blues – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
8. Used To Be – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
9. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
10. Out Of My Mind – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
11. I Could’ve Had Religion – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
12. Crest Of A Wave – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
13. Messin’ With The Kid – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972

2CD Version

CD1

1. Used to Be
2. I’m Not Awake Yet
3. Don’t Know Where I’m Going
4. Maybe I Will
5. Whole Lot of People
6. In Your Town
7. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson
8. There’s a Light
9. Out of My Mind
10. Crest of a Wave

CD2

1. Used to Be – Alternate Take 1
2. I’m Not Awake Yet – Alternate Take 1
3. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 1
4. Whole Lot of People – 12 String Acoustic Alternate Take 1
5. In Your Town – Alternate Take 3
6. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Alternate Take 3
7. There’s A Light – Alternate Take 1
8. Out of My Mind – Alternate Take 3
9. Crest of a Wave – Alternate Take 2
10. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
11. Crest of a Wave – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
12. I Could’ve Had Religion – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
13. For The Last Time – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
14. Messin’ With The Kid – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
15. Don’t Know Where I’m Going – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
16. Pistol Slapper Blues – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971

3LP Version

SIDE A

1. Used to Be
2. I’m Not Awake Yet
3. Don’t Know
4. Maybe I Will
5. Whole Lot of People

SIDE B

1. In Your Town
2. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson
3. There’s a Light
4. Out of My Mind
5. Crest of a Wave

SIDE C

1. Used to Be – Alternate Take 1
2. I’m Not Awake Yet – Alternate Take 1
3. Maybe I Will – Alternate Take 1
4. Whole Lot of People – 12 string acoustic Alternate Take 1

SIDE D

1. In Your Town – Alternate Take 3
2. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Alternate Take 3
3. There’s A Light – Alternate Take 1
4. Out of My Mind – Alternate Take 3

SIDE E

1. Crest of a Wave – Alternate Take 2
2. Crest of a Wave – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
3. Don’t Know Where I’m Going – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
4. I Could’ve Had Religion – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971

SIDE F

1. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
2. For The Last Time – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
3. Messin’ With The Kid – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971
4. Pistol Slapper Blues – Radio Bremen 21/12/1971

1LP Colour (D2C) Version

SIDE A

1. Used To Be – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
2. Should’ve Learnt My Lesson – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
3. Out Of My Mind – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972

SIDE B

1. I Could’ve Had Religion – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
2. Crest Of A Wave – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972
3. Messin’ With The Kid – BBC In Concert – Live at The Paris Theatre, 13 January 1972