Blues Rock Titan Gary Moore is one of the greatest guitarists to ever walk the earth and a musical force of nature. His playing is revered both for his high-speed hard-rocking fretboard attack as well as his melodic and softer solos, full of his soaring sustained notes and passionate licks. He’s, of course, also a great singer and a versatile songwriter, having released, in addition to his trademark bluesy hard rock, music within genres as diverse as jazz fusion, folk, heavy metal and pop.
I’m a huge fan of his work and it was with pure joy that I learned that 10 years after his tragic death, new Gary Moore music was to be released, thanks to Provogue’s effort of digging deep into the guitar ace’s musical archives. This new album, How Blue Can You Get, consists of four originals and four covers, presenting us with more of Moore’s classic sound and his ability to make blues standards sound even more potent. I tried to examine the album as objectively as possible, however, be aware, dear readers, that I may have left hints of my fanboyism throughout the review.
First of all, it’s not clear who were the band members backing Moore in each of the tracks but they certainly do provide the needed groundwork for his six-string wizardry and strong vocal performance, which are the main aspects to be discussed here, naturally. His tone is superb as usual, with the right combination of power, distortion, and clearness and he makes the most of it, hitting and bending notes with laser-like precision to craft monumental lead guitar exhibitions. The record is also full of the beautiful slow soloing he is so famous for, with his incredible ear for melodies, especially in the ballads, taking the spotlight as he puts out great solo after the other with pure passion. Swaggery in the hard-hitting faster cuts and melancholic in the sad, slower ones, his vocal delivery is extremely competent and fits the overall mood of the songs perfectly.
The album kicks off with a muscular version of Freddie King’s “I’m Tore Down”, a live favorite of Moore, but never released before as a studio track. It’s a six-minute tour de force, featuring amazing extended guitar solos. It is followed by a take on Memphis Slim’s “Stepping Out”, a fun and lively instrumental track with some great lead work too. The third track is the slow blues masterpiece “In My Dreams”. Released as the album’s single, this ballad is a beautiful and sensible piece of blues art and the strongest number on the album. The first half ends with the title track, a supreme cover version of the B.B. King classic that brings everything Gary Moore is so good at to the table with its slow cadence punctuated by the Northern Irishman’s dazzling leads.
The second half starts with “Looking At Your Picture”, a persistent mid-tempo number that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Not a bad song at all, but nothing remarkable. The next song is a blues version of Moore’s synth-pop ballad “Love Can Make a Fool Of You” released originally in his 1982 album Corridors of Power. In my opinion, it sounds better as a blues song, especially because of another stellar and emotional guitar solo. The seventh track is a cover of Elmore James’ “Done Somebody Wrong”, a blues rocker featuring, in my opinion, Moore’s best vocal performance on the album. The last track, “Living With The Blues” is another beautiful and melancholic ballad that closes the album on the highest of notes.
This record, if released by another musician, would be most probably his masterpiece, however, For Mr. Gary Moore, it’s just another day at the office. That’s how good he is and how much he’s missed. In conclusion, This release is a great addition to anyone’s collection and a great way to celebrate the life and music of one of blues music’s ultimate guitar heroes.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– I’m Tore Down
– In My Dreams
– How Blue Can You Get
– Done Somebody Wrong
The Big Hit
– In My Dreams