‘Lost’ recordings offer fans a taste of early Gallagher

One of the earliest recordings of blues legend Rory Gallagher has emerged amidst a treasure trove of Gallagher memorabilia which was “lost” for almost half a century.

The previously unknown archive material was unveiled yesterday in the hope that it can be collated professionally and put on display for music fans everywhere.

The rare items, which lay undiscovered in a box in a house in Cork since the mid-1960s, include:

* An audio tape of a 16-year-old Gallagher singing one of the first songs he ever wrote, during what is believed to have been his first studio session;

* A photograph of the teenage Gallagher with his first electric guitar;

* A biography from his time with his first group, the Fontana Showband, in which he reveals his favourite clothes are leather, his favourite drink is orange, and his hobbies are art, girls, and collecting records;

* Two passport photos taken in 1964 of the teenager, who would go on to become one of the world’s greatest guitar legends.

The material was amassed by the late Philip Prendergast, who managed the Fontana Showband — Gallagher’s first real music job. He was lead vocalist and guitarist.

Mr Prendergast kept the material in a box in his house.

However, it lay undiscovered until a few years after his death, when his widow, Sarah, packed to move house.

She realised how important the material was and she presented it to her friend, Tim O’Leary, from Riverstick, Co Cork, just over two years ago.

He decided to go public with it yesterday in the hope that it will be put on display.

“I would love to see it displayed properly for music fans, and Gallagher fans in particular. And I would love to see it stay in Cork,” he said.

Donegal-born Rory Gallagher was raised in Cork.

He shot to fame with his band, Taste, in the 1960s, before embarking on a solo career.

He was voted Melody Maker’s international top musician of the year in 1971, ahead of Eric Clapton, and sold about 30m records.

He died in a London hospital in 1995, aged 47, from complications after a liver transplant. He is buried in Cork.

* An edited clip of a 16-year-old Rory Gallagher performing Slow Down. Clip courtesy of Tim O'Leary; http://exa.mn/4n

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