Top 10 Gary Moore Albums

Gary Moore (1952 – 2011) is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. A native of Belfast in Northern Ireland, Moore began his career with the Dublin-based rock group Skid Row before joining forces with best friend Phil Lynott in the immortal hard rock outfit Thin Lizzy. After leaving the band permanently and almost becoming Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, Moore focused on his solo career and released a string of hard rock albums during the ’80s until he finally returned to his blues roots with the legendary 1990s release, Still Got The Blues.

Moore’s energetic fretwork and blazing attack alternated with an emotional, melodic approach constitute, along with his brilliant dynamics control, the core of his unmistakable brand of power blues. Having departed this life way too soon in 2011, he left behind a legacy of unrestrained musical passion.

Below, we picked out our top ten albums from this immensely talented guitarist. Our list concentrates on his blues rock releases (with one notable exception) and is focused on serving as a buyer’s guide for new listeners as it is in sparking a debate among longtime fans.

10. Blues For Greeny

Released in 1995, Blues For Greeny is Gary Moore’s tribute to musical hero and close friend Peter Green. Green, a former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac, is one of the early British blues most praised axemen and a huge influence on Moore’s sound. Despite this influence, Moore does not simply copy his hero. The guitarist takes advantage of the structure of the original songs but leads them in his own direction, which results in revitalized and more powerful renditions. The scorching mid-tempo opener, “If You Be My Baby” and the heartening ballad “Love That Burns” set the bar high while the behemoth version of “Driftin”, despite not being well-known, ranks among the finest blues rock songs ever recorded.

9. Power Of The Blues

Perhaps the most underappreciated record in Moore’s blues era, 2004’s Power Of The Blues has the guitarist passionately expanding his blues rock catalog. Despite hardly breaking new ground, the album offers an enjoyable experienced fueled by some hard-blues gems. “There’s A Hole” is a fiery mid-tempo number that encapsulates the album’s approach: heavy-blues riffage and blistering wah-wah solos. “Get Away Blues”, and the forceful versions of “Evil” and “Memory Pain” are the other highlights along with the R&B-styled cut “Torn Inside”.

8. Blues For Jimi

Recorded live in 2007 but not released until 2012, Blues For Jimi is a passionate musical tribute, from one guitar genius to another. Including the participation of Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, former members of Hendrix’s legendary backing band, the live record presents a selection of Hendrix’s classics reworked in Moore’s very own style. Some of the highlights are “Purple Haze”, and the extended versions of “Red House” and “Hey Joe”. The furious, demonic version of “Voodoo Child” closes the album stupendously.

7.  Close As You Get

Moore’s penultimate studio album, Close As You Get was released in 2007 and brought the guitarist’s most organic and gritty version. The album opener and rocking blues tune, “If The Devil Made Whiskey”, contains Moore’s dirtiest-sounding riff and slide-guitar solo. The cover of Chuck Berry’s “Thirty Days” and the mid-tempo cuts “Hard Times” and “Eyesight To The Blind” complete the album’s selection of straightforward, rootsy rockers. The reworked version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Checkin’ Up On My Baby”, however, elevates this approach to a new, more muscular level and Son House’s “Sundown”, features a rare display of Moore’s acoustic skills.

6. Scars

The 2002 release, Scars, presents the heaviest songs in Gary Moore’s post-80s catalog as he teams up with bassist Cass Lewis and drummer Darrin Mooney, at the time members of alternative rock acts, and tries to modernize his sound. The power trio blazes through a selection of distortion-heavy, hard-rocking blues cuts with the occasional ballads providing some haven from the storm. The blues metal cut “Rectify”, the alternative rock-styled blues rocker “Wasn’t Born In Chicago”, the soul-searching ballad “Just Can’t Let You Go” and the colossal, Hendrix-esque number “Ball And Chain” are the album’s defining tracks.

5. Bad For You Baby

Bad For You Baby is the British six-stringer’s final studio offering. Released in 2008, the record has Moore still at the top of his game, with his very own blues rock formula perfected almost to the last note. The searing title track, the amped-up and ferocious version of “Mojo Boogie”, and the mighty, Led Zeppelin-esque “Umbrella Man Blues” feature some of the best guitar work in Moore’s late career. The intense slow blues “Trouble Ain’t Far Behind” impresses with its soul-pouring sincerity and the rootsy, mid-tempo blues number “Preacher Man Blues”, which has Moore playing the harmonica, closes the album on the highest of notes.

4. We Want Moore

Our choice to document Moore’s musical expeditions beyond the blues is We Want Moore. Cut live at various venues around the world and released in 1984, the album is the definitive account of the guitarist’s hard rock period. The enormous heavy metal number “Murder In The Skies” opens the album and is followed by an invigorated, massive version of The Yardbirds’ “Shapes Of Things”. “Victims Of The Future” concludes the trio of introductory songs in magnificent fashion, complete with some Eddie Van Halen-esque fretboard madness. Later in the album, the power ballad “Empty Rooms” captures the raw, fluctuating emotions of a failed romance with its masterful extended solo.

3. Blues Alive

Recorded at various venues in the previous year, 1993’s Blues Alive is the definitive live album in the Northern Irish guitar genius’ catalog. Featuring tracks mostly from the two previous albums (Still Got The Blues and After Hours), the record provides outstanding evidence that few guitarists sound as good as Gary Moore live. The masterful versions of “Still Got The Blues” and “Story Of The Blues” soar brilliantly while the rendition of “The Sky Is Crying” is remarkably inspired. The album’s best track, a version of Moore’s own “Parisienne Walkways”, in perhaps his greatest live performance ever, stuns with its wonderful, anguished solos.

2. After Hours

The second of Moore’s blues-infused albums, After Hours was released in 1992 and is almost as strong as its predecessor, which is quite the feat. “Cold Day In Hell”, the album opener, delivers greatly in terms of guitar and vocals intensity with “Don’t You Lie To Me” and “Since I Met You Baby”, a duet with BB King, following greatly. The mournful, dramatic ballad “Story Of The Blues” is arguably one of the best slow tempo blues songs ever recorded and the R&B-styled, late-night blues “The Hurt Inside” stands out for its relaxing, beautiful licks.

1. Still Got The Blues

The definitive studio record in Gary Moore’s storied career, Still Got The Blues was released in 1990, marked a dramatic transition in the guitar legend’s career, and became his best-selling album. Packed with top-notch artistry and boasting the participation of heavyweight guests Albert Collins, Albert King and George Harrison, the album ranks among the best blues rock offerings of all time. The funky blues rock version of “Pretty Woman” has Moore trading solos with King, whose sharp, penetrating licks add a fine contrast to Moore’s muscular tone. The ZZ Top-styled “Texas Strut” and the mid-tempo, soulful cut “King Of The Blues” are first-rate affirmations of Moore’s underrated vocals while the relaxing melancholy of “As The Years Go Passing By” and “Midnight Blues” are unmatched. However, the album’s finest contribution is its title track, a top contender for the greatest blues rock song of all time. A splendid and glamorous ballad, “Still Got The Blues” transcends the genre’s boundaries with its weeping, magnificent final solo.

Fidel Beserra

Fidel Beserra is a professional translator and occasional writer. As one would expect, he's also an enthusiastic lover of everything music-related.

9 thoughts on “Top 10 Gary Moore Albums

  • April 21, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    Cant agree with this. His rock canon is outrageously good and every album is better than the still decent Scars. Please rectify this list…

  • April 21, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    Agree with “Still Got The Blues” as the top selection for Gary Moore.

    I played it repeatedly when it was first released, and still play it every couple of months to this day, along with Rory Gallagher’s “Irish Tour ’74” and Johnny Winter’s “Illustrated Man”, accompanied by a couple of adult beverages.

  • April 21, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    Actually, the entire J.W. LP “Let Me In” which includes “Illustrated Man”

  • April 22, 2022 at 5:05 am

    Fidel – you mean the top 10 “Blues” albums by Gary Moore because most of his 80’s stuff is better than all of these.

  • April 22, 2022 at 6:15 am

    Gary Moore heeft voordat hij blues begon te spelen Hardrock gespeeld. Waarom staan er zo weinig Hardrock in! Daar is Gary Moore mee begonnen. Maar daar weten jullie natuurlijk niets vanaf! Groetjes Metal Han.🤘🏻

  • April 22, 2022 at 6:45 am

    I actually like Back to the blues

  • April 22, 2022 at 9:44 am

    Wot about the Gary Moore band,the Grinding stone album,see him do this at Ally Pally in 73,.

  • April 22, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Still got the blues and After Hours are both brilliant but would have been even better with a blues singer in tow.

  • April 23, 2022 at 6:20 am

    Cor people!. Gary Moore was.. an still is a great player. Some ov his Rock albums are great but as the man himself said his heart was always in the guitar of the blues greats.. His live stuff is really awesome. Nice bloke too.. Buy him wherever u see him.. Youl always have someone saying “wow who’s that?”..


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