Before there was Thin Lizzy, there was Skid Row, the original Irish crunch-rock band from premier guitar slinger, Gary Moore. A man who obviously studied music history, from the cradle of the Mississippi Delta, to the honky tonks of Memphis and smoky blue haze of Windy City dives, Moore has always had the highest respect for that indigenous Black American music form, The Blues.
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Here then, is Gary's love letter to the legion of founding fathers and prodigal sons that make up this wonderful broth of pain-etched vocals and emotive guitars. Still Got The Blues was released in 1990, and is a progression, rather than a clear break from Moore's earlier metallic-edged hard rock of both (the original) Skid Row and 'Lizzy.
Phil Lynott provided the vocals for Thin Lizzy, and was a former member of Gary's first band himself. A revolving door type enterprise, this amazing guitar god came and went a number of times, adding his ax signature to whatever he did. Free now, to provide his own vocals, he is adapt without being outstanding, in much the same way of other New Wave bluesmen, from John Mayall to Eric Clapton.
Here, then, is an even dozen-an offering of both covers and original compositions. Missing, is the needed cautionary sticker for the jewel box of this CD; in a word, incendiary! Decent covers of old work horses: Oh, Pretty Woman, Stop Messing Around, and my personal favorite, Don Nix's Walking By Myself, please without overpowering the originals. All bets are off, however, with the Warp 9 guitar mastery expressed throughout each satisfyingly lengthy solo.
Guest stars would be frosting on this tasty musical cake, but you'll find ex-Beatle George Harrison gently weeping his own Gibson on his upbeat 70's romp, That Kind Of Woman. Nicky Hopkins, sweetens the mix with his own particular brand of keyboards, while blues legends give more authentic flavor, in the persons of Albert Collins and yet another of my personal heroes, Albert King.
Some standouts include the title track, I've Still Got The Blues, featuring that high thin Stratocaster sustain, popularized by original bluesophile Eric Clapton. Born In Mississippi pays ode to B.
B. King, starting off with Soul Man type Memphis vamp, and seques into snippets of Born Under A Bad Sign. It scorches the competition!
The cut I find myself playing repeatedly, is a toe-tapping raver, Texas Blues. With sly reference to another guitar god, "I found myself in double trouble", Moore launches into an infectious boogie reminiscent of John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun. Guitar work recalls the best of England's own Savoy Brown, (the guts of which became our own Fog Hat), and is mighty fine right down to the last baritonal "How, how, how, how."
At a recent Epinions West Coast Get Together, I could do no less than present my congenial host with his own copy of this very same CD. It's that good, and isn't it always best to give the very best? Add that rare 5 star rating to Gary Moore's brilliant exploration of the blues. Also recommended is Moore's other blues rock contender, After Hours.
Lovers of Eric Clapton, Peter Green, (from the original Fleetwood Mac), and Freddie King are advised to begin right here, with the very finest.