Gary Moore’s imperfect Back on the Streets pointed to bigger things

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This solo project underscores why Phil Lynott asked Gary Moore to join Thin Lizzy. In fact, the four collaborations with Lynott are the principal selling points for Back on the Streets.

Moore had been dabbling, to this point, in a very unfocused brand of fusion with G-Force, and much of this album — released on September 30, 1978 — is populated with what feels like outtake instrumentals from his old band. Luckily Phil Lynott, along with Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey, add a powerful punch to four songs sprinkled through Back on the Streets, saving the project from Gary Moore’s excesses. The trio had almost simultaneously been recording Thin Lizzy’s Black Rose album, which ultimately would be seen as their last great effort, yet there was still more than enough inspiration left over.

With the hilarious “Fanatical Fascists” to a gritty remake of Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word” (which actually restored the original demo’s dark atmospherics) to the simply stunning album-closing “Parisienne Walkways,” Gary Moore’s album finally finds its footing. The extras include instrumental, and Moore- and Lynott-voiced takes on “Spanish Guitar,” as well as “Track Nine,” the b-side to the “Back on the Streets” single.

In truth, the nasty-grooved effort on that title track is the only other thing that hints at the solo triumphs to come for Gary Moore, who would eventually live up to his dizzying promise with a move into straight blues recordings.

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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