Rory’s Strat

Hi folks, new wee poem paying court to (in my humble opinion) the best blues guitarist of them all, Rory Gallagher. Having been reared in a militarized zone, in the middle of a war and having experienced the full-on demoralizing effect of the Northern Irish troubles through the 1970s, 80s and 90s this guy was one of the few bright lights in a very dark world. The fact he was Irish, the fact he was gifted and famous, the fact he was ours, meant a lot.

The poem is a tribute, not just to Rory himself, but also to his guitar, his battered, Fender Stratocaster. For those who don’t know the background, Rory’s guitar was as famous as he was, like the man, it was an individual one-off. It was a 1961 model, manufactured by the Fender company in the US, that had a sunburst finish when it left the factory in 1961. But, because Rory had a certain blood type, the sweat from his fingers was caustic and over time, most of the paint worn off, lending the guitar a unique worn, pitted, eroded look, once seen, never forgotten.

As well as his guitar, Rory also was usually bedecked in checkered shirts and denim, not because of any conscious “rock star” imaging but that was what he liked to wear the same as most of those who came to hear him. And, watching any of his live performances, the man always gave such a passionate performance when playing. For those not familiar with electric guitar jargon, Rory got his distinctive tone and sound from just one small effects pedal a thing called a, treble booster, that did just that, boosted the treble on his guitar sound. He was also known to use a Tube Screamer, yet another legendary effects pedal and his amplifier of choice was a Fender Twin Reverb. All those added up to a unique signature, as unique as the man himself.

Finally, I think, one of the saddest things I ever saw , was the image of Rory’s guitar entombed in a glass case, on show as some sort of curio, just the idea of the music created on that instrument having died along with its creator is difficult, but it is nice to see that a few other well known guitarists/fans like Joe Bonamassa, have freed that guitar from its slumber. Hope you enjoy the poem.


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