On The Boards

Released 1970 on Polydor
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 22/09/2000ce

Taste were an Irish power trio featuring the late great guitarist Rory Gallagher, Taste were possibly modeled as Ireland's answer to Cream, yet to my ears they were more in step with the likes of Free, The Groundhogs or Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. Gallagher was a world class guitarist but he didn't hit you over the head with it, in fact he was a very economical player who used his guitar to complement the song rather than pound you into submission like Clapton and Hendrix etc. I put him in the same class as Paul Kossoff and Danny Kirwan.
Taste were rounded out with Richard McCracken on bass guitar and John Wilson on drums. Taste's debut album "Taste" (1969) was a bit tentative and found the group getting their feet wet in the recording studio, it did have some fine moments like "Blister On The Moon" and "Born On The Wrong Side Of Time" I would compare it with Free's debut "Tons Of Sobs".
People took notice of Taste pretty early on as the group were quickly signed to Polydor (Atco in the States). Taste also landed a support slot on the prestigious Blind Faith tour of America where I've been told they blew Blind Faith off the set many a night causing old "Slowhand Clapton" an anxiety attack or two. Taste also wowed the crowd at England's "Isle Of Wight" festival.
"On The Boards" the group's second LP was issued in 1970 and was a much more satisfying affair than their debut. In fact this record was a favorite of mine as a stoned teenager in the 70's, I've recently revisited "On The Boards" and it still sounds pretty damn good. The record opens with the Taste show stopper "What's Going On" a powerful electric blues raveup with some stinging Gallagher guitar work. "Railway and Gun" is a folkish blues not too far removed from early Thin Lizzy. "It Happened Before, It'll Happen Again" is a remarkable number that really stretches out, Rory plays some really thoughtful runs on guitar and even plays some useful Alto Sax in the mid section.
"If The Day Was Any Longer" is a pretty laid back song that's almost folk-rock, Rory plays some nice Mel Lyman style harp on this one. "Morning Sun" is a full out rocker again recalling fellow Irishmen Thin Lizzy.
Side two opens with another blistering raver called "Eat My Words" the group is really clicking on this one Richard McCracken's plays lead bass right in your face ala Andy Fraser, Rory plays some razor sharp bottleneck lines while John Wilson plays the Ginger Baker part on drums. The title track "On The Boards" is a very interesting one that uses space to great effect, Rory's guitar sounds very San Francisco-ish like he just got done jamming with Barry Melton.
"If I Don't Sing I'll Cry" is a blues rock stomper in the Savoy Brown mold and may be seen as a throwaway but nothing too bad. "See Here" is a beautiful solo acoustic song by Rory, kinda like Danny Kirwan's contributions to Fleetwood Mac's classic "Then Play On" album.
"On The Boards" finishes with "I'll Remember" which is the best song on the album, the arrangement is great, the band are totally in sync and they rock like there is no tomorrow. "On The Boards" is a tight well played album that is filled with great songs with no frills just the way Rory liked it.
Taste split after this album but Rory put together another trio very much in the same mold as Taste. He made many worthwhile records in the 70's, "Deuce" being my favorite. Before punk happened his records were the only thing that got me through the wasteland of the mid 1970's. I had a chance to meet him after a concert in the 70's and he was a true gentleman. A great man who will be sorely missed.

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