Sound — 9
Before becoming a solo star, Rory Gallagher fronted the blues-rock trio Taste, which experienced reasonable success in the U.K. in the late '60s and early '70s. Taste was molded very much on the model of Cream, adding some folk, pop, and jazz elements to a blues-rock base, and featuring a virtuosic guitarist which gave them a truly unique edge for a group at the time, exhibiting a lighter touch than most British blues boom outfits. The focus of Taste was always upon Gallagher. In addition to playing accomplished and versatile lead guitar, he sang in a gentle but convincing fashion, and wrote the band's original material. Much of Taste's repertoire was more restrained and balanced than the territory Gallagher would explore on his '70s outings, which placed more emphasis upon him as guitar hero. Gallagher also played occasional saxophone and harmonica with the group.
Gallagher formed the first version of Taste in his native Ireland in 1966, with bassist Eric Kittringham and drummer Norman Damery. In May of 1968, he relocated to London and, still months shy of his 20th birthday, formed a new version of Taste with bassist Charlie McCracken (who had played bass with Spencer Davis, though not at the peak of Davis' hit-making days) and drummer John Wilson (who had been a drummer with Them, likewise not during one of their well-known incarnations). Two studio albums followed in 1969 and 1970, the second of which made the British Top 20. Taste was still virtually unknown in the States when they broke up shortly afterwards, although a couple of live albums were released in the early '70s to keep some product on the shelves. This album itself although released in 1978 was actually recorded a decade prior in 1968 at the Marquee, I was going to just call this "Taste at the Marquee" but that isn't the actual title to the CD and original vinyl pressing. There isn't a whole lot of information on here except the basic need to know info but at least knowing when this is from and having been recorded a year before their masterpiece hard rock blues debut "Taste" in 1969, this album can really give you a feel of how heavy and impressive they were before they even got a chance to officially cut an album, I think these guys should have had an album out back in 1967 or earlier, that's just how skilled they are. You get a nice well sang and performed "Movin' On" by Gallagher as an opener, with more amazing soloing and guitar work that builds momentum to the main track.
Lyrics — 10
Taste can definitely play a rock and roll blues track quite well and overall work together to give a jazz sort of fell later known in Rory's repertoire and more complex pieces of soloing, then bursting into the main part, I would say this definitely reminds me of an Alvin Lee and his also impeccable playing that would be close to Rory's although I think Rory is more of a favorite for me I still do love Alvin Lee and he is also another underrated guitarist who has a nice set of vocals, this work reminds me of a Ten Years After album called "Undead" also recorded live in 1968 but as I said unfortunately this had to wait until 1978 and even later on for a CD issue. The "Movin' On" gives a nice contrast of all the moods and vibes Rory can tradition through going mellow and then furiously soloing with some excellent hard rock to match and a band that is ready to back him all the way with some powerful drumming and bass runs. He can really deliver a type of performance with great energy and vocals along with some really raging fast guitar solos in free form, I just can't stress enough of how much of of a virtuoso Gallagher was. There is also a nice blues harp section thrown into and the crowd is participative as you can hear along with this lovely improvisational jamming with a little "Bye Bye Bird" type interlude. You get new tracks not featured on the debut: "Movin' On," "Pontiac Blues," "Baby Please Don't Go," and "First Time I Met the Blues" out of 7 tracks along with live versions quite energetically performed with just as much precision. You can tell that this was a real band that could sound just as amazing live as they did in the studio.
Overall Impression — 10
I regard this album as in chronological order, as it was recorded in 1968, although posthumously released. I think if you're going to start off as a Taste fan and want a reference point this album is definitely where to begin along with the debut as a Rory Gallagher fan too. I mean there is some really raw hardcore blues on here in a really brilliant form and the quality isn't that bad at all for an older live recording. Also some old original lineup 1967 Taste is another must hear. Rory gives a really amazing live performance and just has this all around powerfully unique personality and it just bursts forth when he solos as he does so genuinely and consistently on this album with really stunning playing. Definitely one of my favorite bands and albums of all time because they were such a solid power trio as I do love all of them but I think Rory is really where all that light is shining through and down upon (not to underrate), there is some excellent real blues on here.