Rory Gallagher's Deuce expanded and remixed but still sounding good at 50

Late Irish bluesmaster Rory Gallagher's second album gets the bells-and-whistles treatment

Rory Gallagher: Deuce (50th Anniversary) cover art
(Image: © UMC)

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Although coming less than nine months after his self-titled debut, Rory Gallagher’s second solo album, Deuce, was a big leap forward in both focus and songwriting, and has long been rated highly by fans. Deuce was self-produced, and fashioned piecemeal in late 1971 while Gallagher toured (with Jerry McAvoy on bass and Wilgar Campbell on drums), to maintain a live feel. 

Gentler tunes I’m Not Awake Yet and the jazzy Maybe I Will were not a natural fit for his live set, but the acoustic Don’t Know Where I’m Going certainly was. On the rockier side, Whole Lot Of People boasts some superb slide guitar, but the stand-out is blistering closer Crest Of A Wave, just edging In Your Town

There are more concise formats, but the four-CD version is best. It includes a 64-page hardback book with a foreword by Johnny Marr and photos by Mick Rock (who shot the cover), alongside a new mix of the original album. Two more discs deliver 28 previously unreleased alternative takes. That’s too many, really, but they do prove that Gallagher rarely fluffed a guitar lick, and presumably he rejected these versions because he knew he could sing them better. 

Most essential among them are three solo acoustic stabs at Whole Lot Of People, those home demos closing Disc 3, and a crackin’ nine-minute In Your Town. Even better, CD4 brings together seven ’71 radio-session tracks broadcast by Radio Bremen and a six-song BBC radio In Concert set from ’72, both including Messin’ With The Kid. In these live showcases Gallagher sounds untouchable.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.