Gary Moore (1952-2011): An Appreciation

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by Something Else Reviews

Gary Moore, former guitarist with Thin Lizzy and Skid Row, has died at age 58. The Belfast-born Moore, perhaps most famous for his 1979 hit “Parisienne Walkways” with the late Phil Lynott, was found dead in a hotel room Sunday while vacationing at the Costa del Sol, Spain. The cause of death was not immediately known.

After his career-making stint in Thin Lizzy (highlighted by 1979’s Black Rose: A Rock Legend, featuring “Waiting for An Alibi” and “Do Anything You Want To”), Moore enjoyed a successful run as a solo artist, and also appeared with George Harrison, Ozzy Osbourne, B.B. King and Jackson Browne, among many others. More recently, he has focused on American blues music, beginning with 1990’s star-studded Still Got the Blues.

Here’s a look back at some Moore favorites from the Something Else! Reviews archives. Click through the album titles for more …

CLOSE AS YOU GET (2007): A mixture of originals and familiar standards, as well as mood and intensity. The originals generally best the covers, even if they sound more than a little familiar. For some, Moore’s vocals is an acquired taste, but his sneering, flexible vocals fit the songs just right to our ears. He has, in several ways, led a career with many parallels to Eric Clapton, even if he is little known on these shores. A technically sound guitarist who made his mark in a famous rock band, shows command of a variety of styles, has had a considerable solo career, and even formed a power trio with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce with the short-lived BBM.

BAD FOR YOU BABY (2008): When Moore is in a blues state of mind you always know what you’re getting: blazing hot, arena-sized guitar licks, a scowling vocal and hard-rocking renditions of blues covers or songs that could easily be mistaken for such. You can put Bad For You Baby in a sack with the other ten or so blues-themed records he’s done since 1990’s Still Got The Blues, mix ‘um up and pick most any of them and not detect any change in the presentation. They’re all pretty predictable but they’re all consistently good, if not outstanding. A favorite: the James Gang groove of “Umbrella Man.”

‘ENOUGH OF THE BLUES,’ from Back To The Blues (2001): Plenty of blues rock guitar gunslingers out there only understand the blues as filtered by the likes of Clapton and Jimmy Page. Moore goes much further back than those guys to get his knowledge of the blues form, and it comes out on his highly amplified axe every time. There are few spots where he makes the connection between his brand of hard-rock blues and the vintage Delta stuff more clear than on this original.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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