Taste was a criminally short-lived Irish blues-rock trio in the late ’60s, featuring bassist Richard McCracken, drummer John Wilson, and the extraordinary guitar and vocals of Rory Gallagher. They played 1970’s infamous Isle Of Wight Festival, in front of 600,000 people, immediately after deciding to break up.
Murray Lerner’s documentary centers around that set, and mercifully the band’s songs are shown in their entirety – as opposed to Lerner’s maddening Festival, about the 1963-’65 Newport Folk Festivals, in which nearly every performance is truncated.
The concert is fleshed out with informative background from Rory’s brother, Donal, and archival interviews with Gallagher himself. Accompanying them are interviews with The Edge, Bob Geldof, and Larry Coryell, singing the Irishman’s praises. Brian May declares, “It was Rory who gave me my sound,” after the future Queen guitarist asked about his setup (a Vox AC30 with a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster).
Bonus features include music videos of three songs and the trio playing live on Germany’s Beat Club, including “It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again,” with Gallagher displaying credible jazz chops on guitar as well as alto sax.
There’s a CD counterpart that includes three songs Lerner apparently didn’t capture, although inexplicably the sequencing doesn’t match. A small quibble compared to generous footage illustrating Gallagher’s trademark finger vibrato and impressive slide.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s February ’16 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.