Rich’s Rapidfire Recommendations – bite-sized metal morsels to let you know about albums that have grabbed Rich Davenport by the ears, that we hope you’ll enjoy too! ROCK ON!
Album: “What’s Going On” DVD – Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Released: 18th September 2015
1. What s Going On
2. Sugar Mama
3. Morning Sun
4. Gambling Blues
5. Sinner Boy
6. Same Old Story
7. Catfish Blues
8. I Feel So Good
Beat Club: (1) If The Day Was Any Longer (2) It s Happened Before, It ll Happen Again (3) Morning Sun
Three conceptual music videos: (1) I ll Remember (2) What s Going On (3) Born On The Wrong Side Of Time
Taste – What’s Going On DVD – Live At The Isle Of Wight Rory Gallagher’s musical legacy, carefully curated by his brother and manager Donal Gallagher, has been given exemplary treatment in recent years, with a high quality series of album reissues and penetrating documentaries like “Ghost Blues”. Now, it’s time to revisit Rory’s explosive arrival on the music scene in the late 60s, at the helm of Taste, a power trio not usually given equal billing with the legendary likes of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, or the Townshend / Entwistle /Moon engine room of The Who, but without any hype, “What’s Going On – Live At The Isle Of Wight” is proof positive that Taste could not only hold their own on a bill with Hendrix and The Who, they deserve to be held in equally high regard.
The band’s lack of subsequent impact can be largely put down to the fact that management shenanigans and skulduggery saw Rory and his bandmates, Charlie McCracken (bass) and John Wilson (drums) pitted against each other with regard to the band’s future, so much so that they decided to split immediately prior to taking the stage at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. You may imagine that such a conflict might lead to a lacklustre performance, with the three musicians scowling at each other if they made eye contact at all, but what’s clear from the first note is that whatever business disagreements the trio had, they still shared an incredible sense of musical empathy, and didn’t let anything tamper with that.
As they rip through seven songs, the energy and dynamics are really something to behold, the three of them walking a musical tightrope as the tracks launch out into improvised sections where bass, drums and guitar play off each other and drive the music on, with a thrilling sense that it could all fall apart with a single slip, but they’re too sharply focused to allow that to happen. In a recent interview, Donal Gallagher observed that while watching this footage, he was struck by the fact that this could be a present day performance from a contemporary act, and Taste’s lack of pretention and Rory’s refusal to take on any of the gimmicky trappings of Psychedelia, certainly support that view.
The band’s refusal to jump on the Psychedelic late 60s bandwagon (or should that be magic bus?) is also evident in the three promo clips included as bonus features, which see the trio again looking as though they could share a bill with Rival Sons today and not look or sound dated, while all around them, some kind of art film unfolds, involving well-to-do gentry stuffing themselves at a feast, and a random old geezer shooting people for no apparent reason. Against this groovy vision of sticking it to The Man, Taste simply carry on delivering the goods, and this rare tv time capsule makes for fun viewing. Further treasures can be found in the other bonus materials, with three live-in-the studio clips of Taste performing on Germany’s seminal “Beat Club” show.
Preceding all the live footage of the band in action is a first-rate documentary about the formation and history of Taste, which makes a fine job of setting the scene for their Isle of Wight performance. Bob Geldof, having attended the festival, gives an enthusiastic account of their set, noting that they woke up the audience and were, in his view, among the top three highlights of the whole event. One of the most striking points made by the documentary and the live footage that follows, is that a mere couple of years earlier, Rory Gallagher had paid his dues in the buttoned-down, restrictive world of the Irish Showband; seeing him set free to begin expressing all the influences he’d absorbed in his own music is a thrilling experience, and this captures the explosive impact he made as he blazed his way on to the music scene.