Rory Gallagher was one of the all-time great guitarists, period, and there's not a bad release in his entire cataloge. This was the first of his original lps that I bought and it will always be special for me as the primary introduction for me to his work.
I was fortunate enough to see Rory live in Ft. Worth at the Tarrant County Convention Center in 1976 when he opened for ZZ Top on their World Wide Texas Tour - Rory simply smoked those guys off their own Texas shaped stage! I will always remember his spoken intro to this release's "Souped Up Ford" at that show as saying that it was for all the people who, like him, love to be out on the open road in places like Montana and just put their foot into it. Road rock indeed!
Whether a rocker like "I Take What I Want" or a more introspective blues like "At The Bottom" this release is a winner and it's still the one of his that I play the most often.
"Against the Grain" was, in 1975, a departure from the earlier stuff Rory Gallagher had done previously in that it was more refined, yet still had that raw blues/rock edge that made Rory one of the best guitarist's of the 1970's and early 80's.The album has excellent lead and slide guitar work all over the place, as well as some nice acoustic stuff on " Out on the Western Plain".Rory's career had three phases. The first, was composed of extremely strong live performances, that somehow didn't ever translate to the studio. The second, of which Against the Grain started, was where Rory had mastered the art of taking his wild blues rock playing, and translating that sound from live to studio work.The third and final phase, in his decline, was during the late 80's and early 90's, where he tended to become slower in lead guitar technique, and moved toward's heavy metal type sounding, i.e. more volume was better...etc. This also was concurrent with his problems with his health, etc.Still, one of the best guitarists ever, and one of Ireland's finest. We fans miss him.