Sound — 10
An eponymous debut by the band Taste in 1969 which was a newly formed Irish hard rock trio really gives you some all out hardcore blues rock in a new style that is just Rory. Hendrix himself gives Rory props and it's a bit sad that such a legendary and innovative guitarist can go unrecognized for so long, the whole skill of acoustic and electric blues turned into something completely new and fresh sounding with interesting guitar soloings and bits done by Rory Gallagher throughout that are just breath taking. I think a lot of this stuff really blows Clapton away, but not Cream as a whole because there are still those driving key elements of Ginger Baker and the earlier Jack Bruce that are hard to compete with but I think this could most certainly rival the common cream lineup after their "Fresh Cream," the guitar work on here just blows Clapton out of the water clearly, I'm not going to rip on Clapton here as he is a skilled professional guitarist in his own right but gets way too much recognition and overshadows more skilled talents such as Rory. I think this guy was just like an angel incarnate running through the fretboard so furiously and energetic in a never before heard glory.
Lyrics — 9
The guitarist Rory Gallagher - barely 20 years of age upon its release in, which was the focal point of the whole album, really gives some grinding all out raging guitar licks here opening with the menacing staccatos and power chords of the forward-looking, proto-metal classic "Blister on the Moon." I think "Blister on the Moon" really has everything going for it, just incredibly out of time, it just sounds like an orgasm of sound not quite from its time but in blues tone with some interesting lyrics to match recited well in sync in a quite intellectual song key writing that isn't common in rock. Although this does get raging and quite into the hard rock area it is all excellently composed, it's very well executed. Richard McCracken gives the the whole group a vibrant mood with his bass that can just curve to meet any progression or song the band does. John Wilson sure knows how to really give a powerful John Bonham like or Keith Moon inspired type of drumming altogether in its own right a force of energetic magnitude. They give a bottleneck blues song: "Leavin' Blues" by Leadbelly in a great acoustic with beautiful picking and one of a kind guitar technique which shows contrasts that speaks volumes to the breadth of Gallagher's instrumental versatility.
For three musicians having to make due and be quite hard working on intonation they really show to be quite extraordinarily talented as a whole band, particularly Gallagher who does an excellent job with the balance of lead guitar workings fused with rhythm. Gallagher along with the rest of the group have big shoes to fill when it comes to being like a "Led Zeppelin" for example as just being a trio, so I think that alone being said and then going and actually listening to this in its entirety is quite impressive and mind blowing as far as the compensation that they can produce as a trio along with other trios of the time to form a quite heavy an intricate production. Their version of Leadbelly's "Leavin' Blues" also gives a good definition of Rory Gallagher's beautiful voice to match the enigma of his guitar just like Hendrix. "Sugarmama" just starts out with some nice mellow but still impressive fret work whilst Rory displays more of his vocal skills which sound wonderful in blues singing. Then "Hail" gives a more relaxed and subtle but still great blues in a more restrained form. I have such a bad penchant for this type of raw powerful blues so I'm definitely loving this, but Rory Gallagher himself is just on another level with that playing it reminds me of Tommy Bolin, another underrated guitarist.
The low buzz drone that is obtained on "Sugar Mama" with Rory's excellent blues screams and more incredible solos and mixed with powerful chord/not progressions fused together along with heavy chord drones, then going into more rage of all out soloing while the drums and the bass have his back just playing in the background excellently with such a low down dirty blues feel I just think they're an almost perfect band. "Hail" can really show more of a creative genius to Rory with his vocals that are in sync and sang simultaneously with what his guitar is playing, he would later use these techniques on albums like his solo debut in 1971 and also on the next studio Taste album "On the Boards" recorded in 1970 along with some other live material of the band along with some unheard and definitely far from cliche note sequences and chords, this stuff is highly original and the lyrics carry that sad lover depressive theme; it's all around great folk blues telling a story with some more excellent fret work. "Born on the Wrong Side of Town" is a track whose regional folk music accents did much to foment Gallagher's enduring status as a blue-collar, the intro gives a whole hard rock feel then throughout the rest there is such a heavy folk laden feel with some lovely harmonics in there and soft playing with a haunting melancholy track of a more dreary life, then after that it goes back into the hard rock part quickly almost becoming a different song, it really can make so many people relate to not being able to grow up in a lavish lifestyle like many and bursts with such vibrant and confident playing more faster and beautiful with a unique feel close to "Leslie West's Mountain" also released in 1969 but even better than that and I do love Leslie West's playing just as much.
"Dual Carriageway Pain" is a more cleverly devised song in another quite non cliche original hard rock blues heartbroken song. "Same Old Story" also has yet again a more original riff sounding more close to Blue Cheer than anything with some catchy heavy riffs going on and more badass solos and raging vocals along with the creaming wailing notes, they were a force to be reckoned with, I would go as far as to say that these guys could actually have been able to play with Led Zeppelin without a doubt. Rory also sings along to his amazing solos perfectly! A blues standard "Catfish Blues" on here has been turned into a powerful monster jam of a track, it would be like what "The Whipping Post" from The Allman Brothers Band debut (also 1969) "Cafish Blues" really is hands down possibly the best version next to Hendrix's, the emotion and pain of sorrow is just screaming on here, like he really wants to be a catfish so he can die because of all the pain and agony that he can sing with his voice beautifully, letting you know he's feeling that. Then the soloing just says the rest too about how godawful this guy must feel, like he's tied to a whippin' post, he is like the Jesus of the guitar I would say, he could just pick up on all that pain and depression that is the epitome of the blues and capture it then do his own unheard solos that were so imaginative, Rory is probably one of the most original and unique musicians that helped form rock 'n' roll. This is a stylistic stew that would get honed to better focus and achieve greater distinction from the competition on Taste's second album a year later, although this album just really sets the bar for almost all other groups besides the other heavy rock giants like Led Zeppelin, Free, and Blue Cheer; it remains to be something totally on its own and just plain different in a good way, it has something to offer that few other albums can deliver. Who's to say that Taste didn't have almost as much influence as Cream on future bands such as Rush, whose early records are quite literally mapped out on this release; an essential addition to collections of this exciting period in British rock.
Overall Impression — 10
While Gallagher's solo career speaks for it's self and he's released masterpieces through the years up until his passing in 1995 one can never go wrong with his early material in Taste which some have called the Irish version of Cream and to an extent they wouldn't be wrong but no disrespect to Clapton, Rory Gallagher was a much better guitar player overall. Although "On the Boards" is a great follow up their self-titled debut just had that much more energy and rawness to it. Bassist Richard McCracken gets overlooked a lot especially on their rendition of the Howlin' Wolf classic "Sugar Mama" while other classics such as "Blister on the Moon," "Born on the Wrong Side of Time," and "Same Old Story" have definitely stood the test of time. Any true blues or Rory Gallagher fan needs to pick up both the self-titled Taste debut and "On the Boards." This album reminds me of Free with their debut "Tons of Sobs" just a year before this album in 1968 and then their 1969 self-titled album "Free," in a great feel of extra hard rock that can actually precede Led Zeppelin just by a year after hearing Taste "Live at the Marquee" from 1968 I think it would be safe to say that Led Zeppelin wasn't the only proto metal band around not to mention Iron Butterfly and Blue Cheer which was another great all out power trio. Almost Hendrix at blues moments/most hardest inspired especially as a young ambitious power trio.