How Blue Can You Get
Unreleased Tracks That Would be Career Highlights For Many of His Peers.
I was ‘late to the party’ regarding Gary Moore; pretty much missing out on his whole career before his untimely death 10 years ago; but thanks to those nice people at Provogue Records, who are keeping the Flame Alive with a yearly series of releases; I’m nearly up to speed.
Normally with albums that are full of ‘unreleased material’ my gut reaction is to shy away, as 99% of such music was left in the vault for a reason ….. it wasn’t good enough.
But yet again, Gary Moore kept songs back that would have been career highlights for many of his peers; and even a cursory listen to opening track (Freddie King’s) Tore Down let’s you know that this kid could not just play his electric guitar as well if not better than most; but what a voice he had!
Speaking of guitar playing; Moore does things on track #2 Steppin’ Out that are still illegal in several US States! By my normal standards it’s LOUD, but by Jove he has a delicate touch even when shredding the strings on his trusty guitar of choice.
Honestly, there’s not a Blues Fan out there that will hear HOW BLUE CAN YOU GET and think any track is ‘filler’ and there to milk the audience’s bank balance.
As per usual this album is a mix of Moore’s own penned love songs and a heady mix of his intelligent re-interpretations of songs by the Masters; and the new; and rather beautiful version of Love Can Make A Fool Of You will send a shiver down your back and by the time you get to finale, Living With The Blues you will know that you are in the presence of a Modern Master of the Blues idiom; very few of his generation, if any at all can combine the sensitivity of singing the Blues in all it’s forms with the way Gary Moore plays an electric guitar.
For a Favourite Track I’ve been torn between going for the stunning re-inventions of Elmore James’ Done Somebody Wrong and the heart-breaking ballads How Blue Can You Get? and In My Dreams, with the latter being in a similar vein to Parisienne Walkways; but with added zip; and on the former Moore pays homage to BB King, when he adds extra sparkle to a song I’ve loved for near 40 years.
So, today ……. cue drum roll …….. I’m going for In My Dreams, primarily because it suits my mood this evening; but Hell …… how and why Gary Moore left this in a drawer will remain a mystery for decades to come!
As I sit here I got to thinking about where Gary Moore sits into the pantheon of British and indeed Worldwide Blues Guitarists (for which he’s best known). Even though he packed concert halls across the UK and stadiums in Europe he barely gets a mention; and that’s not fair as his legacy is as good and probably more varied than many who have stolen a living for decades, hawking out the same few riffs over and over again to an ever greying audience.
Gary Moore – he’s Up There, both figuratively and literally.
PS When I last visited his home town of Belfast in 2013 his family and friends were petitioning for a statue in his honour; and now it’s picking up some momentum ……… I recommend you check the website out and do what you can; as Gary Moore was the original Belfast Boy.
Released April 30th 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY