Gary Moore

The Platinum Collection (EMI International ’06) Rating: A-

Like his fellow Irishman Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore was a soulful hard rocking bluesman who died far too young (aged 58 in February 2011) as a result of excess alcohol consumption. Perhaps best known for his on and (mostly) off association with the great Thin Lizzy, Moore was a musician's musician worthy of the utmost respect. As a guitar player, he could and often did play anything, as he could blaze away with a ferocious speed, flair, and fire, but above all he had a wonderfully soulful and emotional guitar tone (think Peter Green or Roy Buchanan). He was also a fine singer and songwriter, and this generous 3-cd compilation is a great starting point for those looking to get acquainted with this artist, who while highly respected never really gained more than a cult following in the U.S. Skipping his early work with bands such as Skid Row, Colosseum II, and G-Force, this set's 45 songs focus on his post-1982 solo career and are divided into 3 self-explanatory cds subtitled Rock, Blues, and Live. The first disc starts with his two hit collaborations with Phil Lynott, the soulful ballad "Parisienne Walkways" (love the way Gary's guitar cries out on this one and the later “The Loner” too) and the hard rocking "Out In The Fields," a good effort but one which shows how much of his '80s output could sound overproduced and dated (mostly due to the drums and keyboards). He could tend to be a bit generic at times, too, and his incredible versatility was a strength but could also be a weakness due to a confused sense of direction at times. This compilation hits just about all the high points that any non-diehard would need, however, including "rock" gems such as "Over The Hills and Far Away" (not the Zep song), an anthemic and uniquely Irish hard rocker, "After The War," "Wild Frontier," a great version of The Yardbirds' "Shapes Of Things To Come" (which has a more traditional soaring hard rock solo), and "Blood Of Emeralds," another sweeping guitar epic. Moore was also a capable balladeer, as shown on soulful, emotional tracks such as "Empty Rooms" and "Hold On To Love." These attributes really come to the fore on the second cd, which covers his '90s work when he reinvented himself as a bluesman starting with 1990's seminal Still Got The Blues album. There's no shortage of fine blues songs on disc two, starting with his signature song "Still Got The Blues," a terrific track even if it perhaps echoes the guitar work on "Parisienne Walkways" a tad too closely. Although this disc is less likely to suffer from a sterile sound, it's also more likely to have strings, female backup singers, and horns that aren't always welcome, but again these are minor complaints since the overall quality is quite high. I mean, if Gary's good enough to play with Albert ("Oh Pretty Woman") and B.B. ("Since I Met You Baby") King then he's sure as hell good enough for me! The great Peter Green liked him enough back in the day to give him his classic Les Paul guitar when he left Fleetwood Mac, and of course Moore paid tribute to him on an album of cover songs called Blues For Greeny, which is best represented here by an epic rendition of "Need Your Love So Bad" (in general I prefer his mellow, soulful blues songs like this one, "Story Of The Blues," "Separate Ways," and "I Loved Another Woman" to his scorching blues workouts, which I also like mind you though maybe some of the cover songs are a bit over-familiar at this point). As for the live disc, it's a smorgasbord of the first two discs, with the early emphasis more on hard rock and the later songs being more blues-based. Only three of these songs appeared previously (albeit in different versions), and the main benefit of the live songs are that they're less produced and even more "guitar hero"-based than the first two discs. Among the highlights here are the catchy, hard rocking "Murder in the Sky," the also hard rocking "Military Man" (great solo on this one), excellent renditions of "Empty Rooms" (which is over double the length of the studio version) and "Out In The Fields," the moody low-key blues "Midnight Blues" (which couldn't be more aptly titled), the sizzling "Caledonia" (featuring both Alberts, King and Collins!), the atmospheric, slow burning Albert King showcase "Cold, Cold Feeling," and of course "Parisienne Walkways," which closes this compilation on a classy note just as it had opened it. There's not much more to say other than this is an excellent value compilation (it's typically priced at far less than most 3-cd comps) that provides a strong overview of the solo career of Gary Moore, a serious talent who will be sorely missed.

send me an email

Back To Artist Index Home Page