“The Continental Op” by Rory Gallagher

(For Dashiell Hammett)
1989, Words and Music by Rory Gallagher

Irish blues rocker Gallagher released this bluesy, balls-to-the-wall ode to a personal hero on his 1988 album Defender. The AllMusic Guide said of the album: “There are a few corkers here like “Continental Op,” a blazing riff that stands with Gallagher’s best work and revisits his familiar cloak-and-dagger theme.”

There’s a body in the bay
The cops are taking it away
They said this case was closed
It only shows you that – never know
So who they gonna get when the troubles got to stop
Here’s my card
I’m the Contintental Op

Jane Doe in the bay
Now that’s exhibit ‘A’
Bloodstains on the dress of the millionairess
But I saw you leavin’ town
I’m gonna have to track you down
Just like a hound
You slipped through the web
And you might have dodged the Feds
But who they gonna get when you’ve out foxed the cops
Here’s my number
I’m the Continental Op

Call the agency, we never close
First consultation is free
Check my reputation, check my pose
But first check my fee

There’s a menace on the streets
Offering infants sweets
Don’t give this man a ride
Lock your car from the inside
He’s suspect No. 1
But I guess his race is run
He left a set of prints
He’s not as smart as he thinks
‘Cause who they gonna get when the trouble’s gotta stop
Here’s my card
I’m the Continental Op

There’s a body in the bay
The cops have taken it away
They say this case was closed
It only shows that you never know
Bruises ’round the neck
When they did a body check
I saw you leaving town
I’ll track you down like a hound
Who they gonna get when you’ve outfoxed the cops
Here’s my card
I’m the Continental Op

Yeah, who they gonna get when you’ve out foxed they cops
Here’s my badge
I’m the Continental Op.

Lyrics generously provided by Shane Mawe, who wrote an article relating the similarities of Hammett and Gallagher’s lives (and lifestyles) for a Rory Gallagher fanzine. Both Shane and I think it’s a great song , and that Gallagher is a brilliant (and hopefully non-litigious) musician. See also this site’s entries on The Continental Op and Dashiell Hammett.

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