Our top 10 Taste songs list presents the music of an Irish ensemble renowned for its raw and dynamic blues and rock sonic vibes. Taste was put together by the legendary Irish blues and rock guitarist/singer Rory Gallagher in 1966. Rory Gallagher was joined by drummer Norman Damery and bassist Eric Kitteringham at the time of the band’s inception. The trio made up Taste’s initial lineup, which would soon change two years later.
Rory Gallagher and his mates were just teenagers when they founded Taste. Despite being in their teenage years, the members were ready to bring to Cork City a taste of their blues and rock vibes. In the beginning, the band played a mixture of blues covers while mixing in their performances several original releases. Within no time, Taste gained a cult local following, with the band’s fame spreading all over Ireland.
Even before the band made its first releases, Taste was already getting compared to the Irish rock ensemble Them. Them is best known for its legendary hits, including “Gloria,” “Baby Please Don’t Go,” “Here Come the Night,” and “Mystic Eyes.” The band also marked Van Morrison’s career beginnings in the rock scene. Rory Gallagher’s remarkable guitar skills are credited to have catapulted the power trio into its newfound fame and success in the blues and rock scene.
With its first releases, Taste took a similar model to the British ensemble Cream, once home to legendary guitarist and singer Eric Clapton. Unlike Cream, Taste added a touch of jazz and folk to its blues rock sonic vibes making them stand out in the rock scene. However, Taste never got to enjoy much success compared to Cream and the Irish band Them. This followed the band’s lineup change and the exit of guitarist Rory Gallagher from the band’s lineup later in the ‘70s.
Taste’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
After its inception in 1966, Taste started playing blues rock in its homeland Ireland. Its earliest performances included cover hits and a few original releases. While the band was formed in the Irish town of Cork, its fame was best nurtured in Belfast in the following year. Taste played music regularly in the summer of 1967 in Belfast at a local hotel. With a cult following in Belfast and other Irish regions, Taste relocated to London, UK, to expand its fanbase.
After moving on to the UK, Taste’s first lineup changed leaving its founder Rory Gallagher only. Bassist Richard McCracken and drummer John Wilson (former member of Them) joined Rory Gallagher to form the second incarnation of Taste. The band’s status and fame in the UK increased in 1968, eventually leading Taste to fully relocate to London.
Later in 1968, Taste was signed to Polydor Records, once home to Eric Clapton, Bee Gees, Cream, ABBA, and The Who. During this time, Taste toured alongside Cream, Yes, and the blues rock supergroup Blind Faith.
Taste’s Album Releases over the Years
After solidifying its ground as a reputable blues rock ensemble in the UK, Taste went on to release its eponymous debut album in April 1969. Taste featured an amalgam of blues rock and hard rock sonic elements by the band. The LP was issued through Polydor Records in Europe and Atco Records in the US.
Taste is home to some of the best Taste songs, including “Sugar Mama,” “Blister on the Moon,” and “I’m Moving On.” The album was a success in the US after it peaked at number one hundred and thirty-three on the Billboard 200. However, the LP failed to chart in the UK despite the band’s popularity in London and other UK cities.
Later in January 1970, Taste released its sophomore LP, On the Boards. The album saw the band find some newfound fame after it charted in the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number eighteen. On the Boards saw the band deliver the best of its blues rock sonic vibes. The LP was also lauded for featuring some jazz sonic influences, thanks to Rory Gallagher’s guitar skills.
“What’s Going On” is one of the best Taste songs from the LP, On the Boards. Other reputable musical gems from the album, include “Railway and Gun,” “I’ll Remember,” and “If I Don’t Sing, I’ll Cry.” On the Boards also made it to the German Albums charts, peaking at number thirty-three.
In 1971, Taste recorded its first live LP, Live Taste. Live Taste marked the band’s third album release. The album was recorded in the nineteenth-century Swiss-based casino, Montreux Casino, which has served several times as the Montreux Jazz Festival venue. However, Live Taste was issued after Taste disbanded. Nevertheless, the live LP was a success, making it to the German, Australia, and UK Albums charts.
Live at the Isle of Wight is yet another live LP released by the band. The live album was recorded in August 1970 but released in December 1971 when the band had already disbanded. Live at the Isle of Wight was recorded at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. The festival also saw Taste share the stage with other reputable artists/acts including Lighthouse, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix. Live at the Isle of Wight charted in Belgium, France, and Germany.
After the spiteful split of Taste, Rory Gallagher commenced a solo career with the other Taste members forming an unsuccessful ensemble by the moniker Stud. However, several compilations albums were later issued all without Rory’s approval. Guitarist/Vocalist Sam Davidson teamed up with Richard McCracken and John Wilson in 1996 to try to revive the band Taste.
In 2009, Taste released the LP, Wall to Wall. However, this was nothing better than the 1970s Taste. The band has been active since then but hasn’t been able to make any commercially and mainstream successful release. Taste’s current lineup consists of guitarist/vocalist Sam Davidson, drummer Lyn McMullan, and bassist Albert Mills.
Taste’s Legacy and Other Musical Pursuits
Taste’s legacy is best explained referencing the band’s second incarnation. At its peak, the band attracted praise from reputable artists, including Eric Clapton and John Lennon of The Beatles. The band was compared to other rock ensembles including Cream and Them. Taste’s founder Rory Gallagher went on to start his solo career which saw him become an inspiration to other artists such as Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, Janick Gers of Iron Maiden, and Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard.
Taste owes its fame and success to its founder Rory Gallagher who was its primary guitarist, vocalist, as well as saxophonist. His guitar inflections remain some of the most magnificent in the history of rock music. Rory Gallagher cited his greatest influences to be Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, and Big Bill Broonzy. Here we present the ten best Taste songs that will bring the best of the band’s blues rock sonic vibes.
#10 – Eat My Words
Ushering us to the top 10 Taste songs is the hit “Eat My Words.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore LP, On the Boards. Lead guitarist and vocalist Rory Gallagher is credited to have penned the lyrics to this rock ballad. The song’s title is crafted out of the idiomatic expression “Eat My Words.”
“Eat My Words” literally means admitting that one was wrong about something or someone. The song’s lyric finds the singer claiming that he will “eat his words” if he is wrong about what he had stated to someone. “Eat My Words” stand out thanks to the psychedelic vocals from Rory Gallagher.
#9 – I Feel So Good
As earlier mentioned, Big Bill Broonzy is among the inspirations of Taste’s guitarist and singer Rory Gallagher . The best way to showcase his love and influence by Big Bill Broonzy is by releasing a cover of one of his best-known songs, “I Feel So Good.” Big Bill Broonzy penned and released the first version of the song in 1942.
Rory Gallagher and his band Taste covered the song in 1971, featuring it on the sophomore live LP ad fourth release, Live at the Isle of Wight. Other notable covers of the 1942 Big Bill Broonzy version were done by Muddy Waters in 1960, Robert Curtis Smith in 1963, Luther Alison in 1977, and Tracy Nelson in 1995.
#8 – Born on the Wrong Side of Time
Our number eight spot on the ten best Taste songs goes to the hit “Born on the Wrong Side of Time.” “Born on the Wrong Side of Time” is a musical gem from the band’s 1969 eponymous debut LP. The song was penned by the band’s main man Rory Gallagher and issued in April of 1969.
“Born on the Wrong Side of Time” is a breath-taking mid-tempo hit that feels a little heavier compared to other songs from the LP, Taste. The song features a folk-influenced bridge with Rory Gallagher’s vocals towering over the song’s beat.
#7 – Railway And Gun
Give credit where it is worth! Rory Gallagher is undoubtedly one of the best guitarists of the ‘70s. “Railway and Gun” is among the songs by Taste whose success is mainly credited to Rory’s awe-inspiring guitar licks. Amazingly, Rory also penned the song which he also spices with his captivating vocal abilities.
#6 – Sinner Boy
Number six on our top 10 Taste songs list is the splendid hit “Sinner Boy.” The song is among the twenty-three song released on the soundtrack album of the documentary film, Message to Love. Message to Love was released in reminiscence of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.
Taste was among the guests at the festival which saw the crowd get the best of live performances from legendary rock artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull, Leonard Cohen, and Joan Baez among others. “Sinner Boy” helped cement Taste’s as a reputable blues rock act in the times. Sadly, Taste disbanded after the recording of the live LP, Live at the Isle of Wight.
#5- Same Old Story
Taste brings us yet to another raving hit by the Irish band, “Same Old Story.” The song was penned by Rory Gallagher and issued in 1969. While most of the band’s songs might have brought the best out of Rory Gallagher’s guitar and vocal skills, “Same Old Story” has something extra to offer. John Wilson (former member of Them) showcases his magnificent drumming skills in this hit. His drumming skills add to Rory’s awe-inspiring guitar solo gifting us one of the most magnificent melodic blues rock hits by Taste.
#4- Gamblin’ Blues
“Gamblin’ Blues” brings us to one of the best cover hits by Taste. The original version of “Gamblin’ Blues” was issued by Lil’ Son Jackson in 1949. Taste would later become among the artists who covered this song, issuing its rendition in 1971.
“Gamblin’ Blues” is featured on the band’s debut live LP, Live Taste. Live Taste also serves as the band’s third release. Other artists who have covered the song, include John Hammond, Duke Robillard, and Michael Jerome Browne.
#3- Blister on the Moon
Our third pick for the ten best Taste songs list is the impressive hit “Blister on the Moon.” The song is a musical gem from the band’s eponymous debut album, Taste. Rory Gallagher is credited to have penned the song. In 2009, Bernie Marsden covered this 1969 hit solidifying its place as one of the best Taste songs of all time.
This uptempo hit showcases the band’s musicianship at that time of record. Rory Gallagher’s appealing vocals and awe-inspiring instrumental delivery are some of this song’s notable elements.
#2 – Sugar Mama
“Sugar Mama” is one of the best Taste songs drawn from traditional blues collections. The song was first recorded by Chicago bluesman Tampa Red in 1934. His song came shortly after the release of Yank Rachell’s hit “Sugar Farm Blues.” Three years after Tampa Red released his rendition of the song, Sonny Boy Williamson I released his cover to the hit “Sugar Mama.”
Later in 1969, Taste added to the list of artists who have covered the song. Other artists who have covered “Sugar Mama” include Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin. Taste featured the cover on the band’s eponymous debut LP.
#1 – What’s Going On
Number one on our top 10 Taste songs list is the hit “What’s Going On.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore LP, On the Boards. “What’s Going On” might have been the band’s most reputable hit but its release caused shockwaves in the band’s lineup. Initially, the song was recorded in one of the band’s 1968 recording sessions for the band’s sophomore album release.
Rory didn’t wish that the song was released having it feature rock sonic vibes prominently. However, Polydor Records and that band’s manager were impressed by the commercial potential of the song. This saw the two plan about the song’s release without Rory Gallagher’s consent. Rory had earlier expressed displeasure in releasing rock songs primarily. His passion drifted towards blues-oriented rock songs and pure blues. “What’s Going On” went on to top the German charts, making it the best Taste song of all time.
Top 10 Taste Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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