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Old 02-05-2012, 05:49 PM   #821 (permalink)
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:54 PM   #822 (permalink)
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Ah, into the final week of the ABC we go, and we're up to the letter V. So who shall the worm choose? How about this one?

Today's Daily Earworm has been brought to you by the letter V, courtesy of The Vapors, and “Turning Japanese”.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:15 AM   #823 (permalink)
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Robert William Gary Moore (April 4 1952 – February 6 2011)



Today marks the first anniversary of the untimely and tragic death of one of rock's favourite sons, a modern icon and champion of the blues, and one of Ireland's, if not the world's most talented guitarists. Gary Moore died in Estepona in Spain one year ago today of a suspected heart attack. He was only fifty-eight.

During his time, Gary played with Thin Lizzy, being fast friends with founder and frontman Phil Lynott, who was to die in 1986, twenty-five years before Gary himself was taken from us. He also worked alongside some of the greats in the business, the respect and affection he held for figures like Albert Collins, BB King and George Harrison reflected in their participating in recording and/or performing with him. Raised listening to giants of the blues, Gary was hoisted on their shoulders and by the end of his career and too-short life, was proud and competent and respected enough to stand toe-to-toe, alongside his heroes. In the end, Gary leaves a legacy few can boast, and will go down as one of the greatest guitarists and proponents of the blues from certainly the twentieth century, if not of all time.

This week, we honour his memory in our own small way with seven days of tribute to the man who started at Skid Row and ended up doing what he loved to the end, playing the blues. Over the course of this week, right up to and including Sunday, we will be reviewing all, or as many of his albums as we can, side projects, live performances, and running special sections and features to remember the man of whom it was said, among many, many tributes following the news of his death, that he was “without question, one of the great Irish bluesmen. His playing was exceptional and beautiful. We won't see his like again”. (Bob Geldof)

Robert William Gary Moore was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but left the north just as the “Troubles”, the conflict that raged across the border for nigh-on thirty years began, moving to Dublin and later to the UK. In Dublin he met a young black singer who was in a band with his mate Brendan “Brush” Sheils called Skid Row, and Gary joined the band as their guitarist, but soon after Phil Lynott left the band, eventually forming Thin Lizzy, whom Gary would later join on an on/off basis. Gary thrived in Skid Row, performing on both their official albums, and touring the USA with them, where he met one of his later idols, Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green. This would prove to be a turning point in Gary's young career, as Green took to the kid with the burgeoning talent, taking him under his wing and becoming his mentor, introducing him to a record label.

When he left Skid Row Gary decided to put out his own solo album (although it was released under the name of “The Gary Moore Band”) and sought the help of Lynott, who wrote some of the songs, and sang on most of it, also playing bass, which Shiels had taught him in recompense for having fired him from Skid Row. The album was well received but did nothing to break him commercially, so Gary then joined Thin Lizzy at Phil Lynott's behest, but was only really involved in three tracks, one of which made it onto Lizzy's album “Nightlife”, and would go on to become a solid standard for them. The version of “Still in love with you” though, that Gary performed on, bears little resemblance to the classic it later became.

The next year Gary left Lizzy to join John Hiseman's band, Colosseum II. They cut three albums (two of which were almost entirely instrumental) before disbanding, and Gary moved on, joining Thin Lizzy again in 1978. This was in fact the third time he had joined Lynott's band, as he had helped out in 1976 for one of their tours when Brian Robertson was unable to play, having injured himself. This time, however, he stayed long enough to record and be featured on an album, the only Thin Lizzy album he features in, “Black Rose: A rock legend”. He left shortly thereafter and did not return until after Lynott's death, in support of the Irish version of LiveAid, SelfAid, and again in 2005 for a reunion concert to mark the erection of a statue of Phil Lynott in Dublin.

His second album, on which Lynott again guested, was released in 1978, while he was still in Lizzy, and proved to be his breakout, containing the classic “Parisienne walkways”, on which Lynott takes the vocals but which is written by both. The record catapulted him to international stardom, and while on tour with Lizzy in the States, Gary decided to try to put together his own band, ending up with G-Force, with whom he released one album in 1980. It was successful but the band did not last, and it would be two more years before his first “proper” solo album since “Back on the streets” would hit the shelves.

“Corridors of power” (reviewed here elsewhere, and so not included in the many Gary Moore album reviews this week) was very successful, and brought his music firmly back into the public eye, with radio-friendly ballads like “Falling in love with you” and “Always gonna love you” sitting alongside hard-rockin' stuff like “Gonna break my heart again”, “End of the world” and “Cold hearted”. This album started a commercial “purple patch” for Gary which would last (with the exception of the next album) through to 1987, and along the way he would renew his partnership with Phil Lynott, just a year before the Thin Lizzy frontman's death.

After the success of the last of those albums, 1987's “Wild frontier”, Gary would soon return to the blues which had informed his first two albums, and with the exception of 1999's “A different beat”, which would prove a wild left-turn in direction for him, he never really deviated from that pattern. As a result, there were few if any singles and no more commercial successes like “Over the hills and far away”, “Empty rooms” or “Out in the fields”. To the general public, Gary disappeared from view after 1987, but he was still there, plugging away, playing and recording great albums right up to 2008, three years before he died. A timeless servant of the blues, the world is poorer and a little darker for the loss of Gary Moore, but brighter thanks to the wonderful music he left us to remember him by.


To open our tribute, I'd like to first feature two of Gary's albums, one of which I've always loved and one which I had not heard until I started putting together this tribute, but which has since become one of my favourites of his.


Wild frontier --- 1987 (Virgin)


Starting off with one of my favourites of his, 1987's “Wild frontier” betrays Gary's deep connection to his Irish roots, and many of the songs on the album are either written about Ireland or in an Irish, celtic style. The album would have been topped off by having Phil Lynott sing the title track, as was Gary's intention, but Phil's passing the previous year put paid to that, and so Gary took the vocals himself. There's a huge feeling about this album, a feeling of wide-open spaces and nature, and yet at the same time the sense of being crushed and crowded and pinned down by the weight of history, particularly the troubled history of Northern Ireland. All drums were programmed, though no programmer is credited, and Gary uses only two other musicians on this, surely his most personal album.

It opens with “Over the hills and far away”, which was also released as a single, and the celtic feel is immediately evident, with fiddle and oileann pipe sounds made by Neil Carter on the keyboards, Gary's guitar as ever the star of the show as he tells the story of a man who must go to prison for a crime he did not commit, rather than betray the honour of the woman he loves. The sheer power in the song is almost breathtaking, reminiscent indeed of the very best of Big Country, with a huge sound and an atmosphere about the music that makes you think in terms of ancient battles and castles, men riding or marching to war, smoke and banners in the air, and shouts of “Freedom!” all around.

The title track then, is Gary's first and most direct reference to “The Troubles”, as we colloquially called the thirty-some years of sectarian violence, death and conflict that plagued Northern Ireland till just relatively recently. It's another powerful rocker, riding on squealing guitar from Gary, as he cries ”I remember the old country/ They called the Emerald Land/ And I remember my own home town/ Before the war began.” There's a lot of uninhibited anger in the song, anger for those who lost their lives for a pointless cause, but halfway there's a short, introspective little guitar passage, when he sings softly ”Those are the days I will remember/ Those are the days I must recall/ We count the cost/ Of those we lost/ And hope it's not in vain/ The bitter tears of all those years/ I hope we live to see those days again!” This was, of course, before peace, of a sort, came to Northern Ireland, thankfully.

After two strong tracks, I find “Take a little time” slightly weaker, a fast rocker built mostly on a keyboard melody, though with plenty of Gary's trademark screaming guitar. Top quality is soon restored however with the amazing instrumental “The loner”, which I have featured probably about three times already in my journal. The first song not written by Gary, it's a searing, emotional workout on the guitar which just wrenches at the heart, and demonstrates not just how proficient Gary's guitar playing was, but how he could make the instrument do just about anything he wanted it to: cry, sing, scream, yell, whisper.

I could definitely do without the cover of the Easybeats' “Friday on my mind” --- I didn't even know who they were until I heard this song, and I care less --- I think it takes from the general theme and feel of the album, and is a cheap attempt at creating a hit single for the album. Which in fact it was, but it does not to my mind reflect the kind of music I associate with Gary Moore, not at all. Much better is “Strangers in the darkness”, co-written with Neil Carter, which tells the harrowing story of the dispossessed, the homeless, the destitute, those who walk our streets, no matter where we live, and pass by as unnoticed by us as ghosts. The whole aura of the track is of desperation and danger, the vocal from Gary low and restrained until it rises as his guitar punches its way into the song, backed by Carter's expressive keys.

Gary sings of the woman who ”Sells her fading beauty/ To the passersby/ And tries to hide that far-off look/ That's in her eyes.” and as for the guy? Well, ”They found him after midnight/ On a city street/ A young man with a problem/ That he couldn't beat.” The guitar goes into overdrive as the song winds to its end and Gary asks ”Why is it no-one seems to care?” His other effort with Carter is next, the rocking, blazing “Thunder rising”, with not surprisingly a strong keyboard melody from Carter to lead the song in, in fact in some ways he emulates Darren Wharton on Thin Lizzy's “Angel of death”, his keys shimmering and racing while Gary pounds out the chords and sings with effortless power.

The celtic theme is back for “Johnny boy”, an almost acoustic, indeed almost acapella ballad sung in traditional Irish style by Gary, as he sings ”When I look to the west/ Out across the River Shannon/ I can still see you smiling / Johnny boy, oh Johnny boy.” Whether this is a reference to someone he lost, or just a generic character I don't know, but it's a moving and powerful song, amply demonstrating that the deepest emotions and the biggest effect can be achieved with the very minimum of instrumentation.

The next two tracks are twelve-inch (ask yer dad!) versions of two of the tracks, and so not really worth discussing, but the closer certainly is. Starting off with a very Journey-ish keyboard intro, quite similar in fact to “Who's crying now”, it's another ballad which again explores the plight of the lonely, this time two lovers who see each other, having broken up, but ignore each other, perhaps unable to look into the eyes they used to adore, or else just not caring, hatred or apathy having replaced love. Again, Gary looks at the problem from the view of both a woman and a man, cleverly (or not) simply switching “he” for “she”, “his” for “her” and repeating the same lyric in alternating verses, thereby avoiding laying the blame, as it were, at the feet of either. And so the lyric goes from ”Sometimes he sees her walking by/ He never looks her in the eye” to ”She doesn't know, she doesn't care/ What he is feeling” and so on. Great soulful little guitar solo to back up Carter's lush keyboards as the song moves towards its conclusion, as well as good backing vocals from the keyboard man.

Like I say, one of Gary's best albums, or certainly one of my favourites of his, “Wild frontier” occupies pride of place in my Gary Moore collection, alongside the likes of “Corridors of power” and “Run for cover”. Rarely has any artiste delved, I believe, so deeply into their own emotions and history to lay bare their soul and committed it to music. But then, with Gary you always got one hundred percent, and you would have expected no less.

TRACKLISTING

1. Over the hills and far away
2. Wild frontier
3. Take a little time
4. Friday on my mind
5. The loner
6. Strangers in the darkness
7. Thunder rising
8. Johnny boy
9. Crying in the shadows

(The album also contains 12” versions of both “Over the hills and far away” and “Wild frontier”, but as they're additional/bonus tracks I haven't included them in the tracklisting here. They will, however, be featured in another section to be run during the week.)
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:27 AM   #824 (permalink)
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Dark days in Paradise --- 1997 (Virgin)


If Gary can be said to have had three distinct phases in his music, or at least, his album releases, this would be from the third stage. The first I see as being his debut period, from 1973-1982, which left him relatively unknown up to the release of “Corridors of power”, then a sequence of albums that brought him more to the attention of mainstream music listeners with some hit singles during a period stretching from 1982 to 1987, (his "purple patch", if you like, at least commercially) where after “Wild frontier”, though he continued to make albums --- and great ones --- he seems to have stepped back from the spotlight and concentrated on more blues and rock than hit singles, leading the uncognescenti (is that a word?) to mistakenly believe that his last album was “Wild frontier”, and remembering him (again inaccurately) as “that guy who wrote Parisienne walkways and Empty rooms”, and maybe “your man who sang with Phil Lynott on Out in the fields”.

Sadly, outside the Thin Lizzy fanbase and his own, and to all others who refuse to appreciate good rock music, Gary Moore's career consisted of the above three highlights, and he had “a few albums”, but generally speaking he would appear (to them) to have dropped out of sight circa 1988. Of course, that's not the case: Gary was making records up to his death last year, his last effort being a live set from Montreaux recorded the previous year and released in 2011. But his last studio album came in 2008, when he recorded “Bad for you baby”.

“Dark days in Paradise” pulls away a little from the overall rock/blues flavour of albums he had recorded post-1987, with a softer, more balladic and even pop-oriented feel, but this did not serve to relaunch his successful singles count from the 80s, and after it he decided to try dance music (bad move, Gary! What were you thinking??) before falling back on his old faithful, the blues, for another six fine albums, including one with his new band Scars, before his untimely death.

“One good reason” gets us underway, with a low-key, almost mono vocal to start, before the guitars and drums blast in and things get going, with the addition of what sounds like violins, which was a new thing for Gary to include in his sound. It's a passable opener, nothing terribly special though, and moves on to the darker, moodier “Cold wind blows”, with thick bass and an almost Native American rhythm, Gary's voice firmly lodged in the lower register as he adds layers of menace to the song with his deep, dark drawl, the song mostly carried by the rhythm section. Even the guitar, when it inevitably comes in on a solo, sounds very western and Indian-like. Interesting song.

Another shift in musical direction, “I have found my love in you” is a laidback cool soul ballad, piano-led with a nice keyboard line that reminds me of Rose Royce's “Love don't live here anymore”. It's a nice song, though very unexpected, and you would have to wonder if Gary was deliberately trying to write songs that could take him back to the charts? He writes everything on this album solo, so there's really no other influence to blame; all the decisions must surely be his. It seems there may be very little in the way of fretburning solos on this album.

The tracks are quite long too, most over five minutes, with a few hitting six, and one monster seventeen-minuter (though it does contain the title track hidden within it). “One fine day” is a decent rocker, with some pop elements, almost Beatles-like with a little Marillion circa “Anoraknophobia” in there too, some nice keyboard flourishes from Magnus Fiennes and Phil Nicholas. It's an uptempo, optimistic song as Gary sings ”One fine day/ We will walk in the sunshine/ One fine day/ We will reach to the stars.” It's also the first song where the guitar starts to come to the fore, which in and of itself is almost unheard of on a Gary Moore album: the guitar is always king on his recordings, but here it's a little late arriving to the party. Still, when it does arrive, it's the life and soul, and worth having waited for.

A beautiful, tender ballad then on “Like angels”, with some nice backing vocals and a really nice keyboard and piano line, though Gary's guitar does lead this song again. This is the first time we really hear him cut loose with one of those oh-so-emotive solos we're used to hearing though, and it's wonderful to hear. Actually, there are two solos, each as good as the other, the second of which fades out the song. Great stuff. “What are we here for” is another dark, moody track, similar to “Cold wind blows” but with a lighter, slightly more upbeat melody. More funky, dancelike beats in “Always there for you”, which has a general balladic construction but kind of pops along on a dancy bassline. Not mad about that one, have to say. Shivering presentiment of what would come on the next album...

There's definitely more of a pop than a rock sound to the low-key “Afraid of tomorrow”, with something that sounds like a sitar, but is probably made on a synth. Again, Gary's guitar takes something of a back seat here, letting the keyboards take the main melody while he adds more or less rhythm guitar, though it's quite obvious that the guitar is in there, just not leading. More eastern-style influences on the keyboards, with a false ending and then reprise to the end. But if you thought “Like angels” was the standout ballad, you've yet to hear “Where did we go wrong?”

Without question the standout track on the album, I'd even mark it down as one of the top five best ballads from Gary Moore. It just has everything. Opening guitar and keyboard line, impassioned vocal from Gary, lovely hooks that just lodge right in your brain and, to be honest, bring the tears every time I listen to this excellent song. It's worth the price of the album on its own, a real harkback to the classic Gary Moore ballads we've been blessed with. Very Floyd “Dark-side-of-the-moon” style backing vocals add another level to the song, with soulful keys and beautiful string arrangement and then to top it all off, a fantastic, heartstring-tugging guitar solo from the man himself, which, I'm glad to report, lasts the whole two minutes plus to fade out the song. Stunning.

I would have been happy for the album to end there, but there's still over seventeen minutes of music to be heard. “Business as usual” is an epic thirteen minutes long, which I think qualifies as Gary's longest track ever. It opens on wibbly (Yeah, I said "wibbly": what of it??) keyboard and acoustic strummed guitar, turning into, unbelievably, another super-powerful and emotional ballad. And now I'm confused. I had picked "the previous track as the standout, but this is just as good, perhaps better! Where did the guy get the creative energy? After a song like “Where did we go wrong?” you would think he would have been drained, but no, there's more left in the gastank, and so “Business as usual” fights hard for the place of standout, and it's a close run thing. Beautiful string arrangement as the song moves to the halfway point, then around the eight-minute mark the tempo picks up slightly, and Gary's guitar takes over.

The title track comes in a few seconds after the end of this epic, and to be fair it's something of a disappointment, with its calypso/island rhythm. It's a hidden track, and would probably be better remaining hidden, as “Business as usual” makes a far better closer.

This album has undoubtedly some weak tracks, but I believe the good ones more than make up for the few duff songs, and although “Dark days in Paradise” is a much less rockier album than his previous efforts, and with a lot less blues than the ones that would follow, it has managed to find a way onto my top ten Gary Moore albums, which surprises no-one more than myself, but the more I listen to it the more I like it. It's certainly an important and almost unique release in the long catalogue of this master of the guitar and proponent of the blues.

TRACKLISTING

1. One good reason
2. Cold wind blows
3. I have found my love in you
4. One fine day
5. Like angels
6. What are we here for
7. Always there for you
8. Afraid of tomorrow
9. Where did we go wrong
10. Business as usual (incorporating “hidden” track, Dark days in Paradise)
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:45 AM   #825 (permalink)
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Now, no-one would be surprised to hear that Carole King was still making albums. In a career spanning over forty years, she's been making music for almost as long as I've been alive (okay, okay, add ten years! Humph! Hate being old!) and has had more number one singles and charting albums than you can shake a decent-sized stick at (why would anyone want to do such a thing? But I digress...), in addition to writing hits for huge stars like James Taylor, Celine Dion and the Monkees, in particular with her husband and writing partner Gerry Goffin. She's a music legend, even if many people only know her by the songs she's written for other people, and music is obviously in her blood, so reaching the tender age of forty-seven (at the time of the release of the album I'm going to look at here: she's seventy this year!) was surely going to be no barrier to her continuing her career.

What did blow me away though was how she could still turn out a classic album at that age, this being her eleventh album at the time, and usually at this point in their career artistes like her tend to get by on past glories, with greatest hits compilations, tributes, live albums and collections keeping the money steadily streaming towards their door. But the album she put out in 1989, after six years inaction on the music scene, was quite frankly phenomenal.

City streets --- Carole King --- 1989 (Capitol)


It's an album with no bad tracks, and some really excellent ones. Not surprisingly, it's all self-penned, mostly with other writers and twice with Goffin, but she has an input into every track. She also produces the album, in addition to playing guitar, piano and synth and of course singing. As you might expect she ropes in some guest stars, though the album is not overpopulated with star names, as it could have been. One of those stars guests on the title track, someone you may have had a passing acquaintance with, guy by the name of Clapton? I predict big things for this talented guitarist...! The opener and title track is a pop/rock bouncer, with great keyboard lines and as already mentioned, guitar courtesy of God Himself, a great solo from him at the end of the song. Also some nice sax, and of course Carole's singing hardly need be praised anymore than it has been down the years.

It's a strong opener, and in a way there's a sense of trepidation, as you wonder has King injected everything into that one track, leaving filler in its wake? Nothing could be further from the truth though thankfully, as the cool funk of “Sweet life” shows in spades, with nice jangly guitar, some cool organ and a very upbeat and positive message: ”You can't keep living inside your head/ In a prison cell all your own/ Just let yourself go/ Get your body out of bed/ You don't have to do it all alone.” This, if no other track, personifies Carole's optimistic attitude and view on life. Easy to have, I hear you say, if you have her millions, but there's something infectious about her optimism, and it certainly comes through in this song.

Things slow down then with a half-ballad, “Down to the darkness”, which despite its ominous title is nevertheless a song of hope, as Carole sings ”I know you're gonna take me/ Down to the darkness/ Oh, but I want you to.” Some really nice percussion here from Omar Hakim, steady piano from Carole herself, the lady getting a little raunchy on the vocals, a deep organ keeping the melody behind her. “Lovelight” is a bright and breezy little uptempo pop tune then, with an almost Peter Gabriel feel about it, circa “So”, nice backing vocals on a wistful plea for the rekindling of love. Great little splash of rock guitar, this time from Mark Bosch, and the song gives way to the first real ballad, a delicate piano acoustic which recalls the best of Fleetwood Mac's “Songbird”. “I can't sop thinking about you” is a simple, plain song with a really heartfelt message, some nice country-style piano as Carole asks ”Why did you show me all your colours/ When you knew that I was blind?” It's lyrics like that, which get right to the point in a subtle and yet intense way, that have helped make her the success she has been for four decades now.

This song is a duet with Paul Hipp, who also plays guitar on the track, and with whom King had a collaboration in an off-Broadway show she acted in with him. Some really soulful trombone from Nick Lane and sultry sax from the great Michael Becker really add something to this song, and it's a beautiful, perfect little ballad, crafted by a master songsmith. It's followed by “Legacy”, a powerful rocker that starts off slowly on a piano line that reminds me of Laura Branigan's “The lucky one”, but soon ramps up into a fast uptempo bopper, something close to the opener, with some great solid organ, powerful drumming from the E Street Band's Max Weinberg. It's one of two tracks on the album she co-wrote with Rudy Guess, who also helped her produce the album, the other being “Sweet life”.

This is an album with no “tipping point”, and you would think that after a great stormer like “Legacy” this is where the quality might begin to dip, but not a bit of it. Clapton reprises his role on “Ain't that the way”, the last of four tracks on the album penned solo by Carole. It's a slow, bluesy ballad with heavy organ and as mentioned Clapton's signature guitar sound, rock fusing with blues fusing with slow gospel, another simple song about human relationships, which is where Carole King shines, and always has done. Things jump back up a gear then for “Midnight flyer”, on which Carole renews her songwriting partnership with ex-husband Gerry Goffin, and you can just hear the years fall away as the song bops along, not a care in the world. A truly exceptional turn by the legendary Branford Marsalis adds layers of class to what is already a great song, with some right-on harmonica courtesy of another great, Jimmy “Z” Zavala, and though that sounds like banjo there in the break near the end, I guess it's just someone being very creative on the guitar, as no banjo player is credited.

Most artistes --- young or old --- would surely have a problem maintaining this level of quality on an album, but Carole has no such problems, as she effortlessly launches into “Homeless heart” with a huge AOR keyboard hook, and backing vocals by her and Gerry Goffin's daughter, Sherry. A mid-paced half-ballad, it evokes uneasy images of wandering through a city at night with a lot on your mind, with a great piano line and some really nice guitar, and the kind of piano solo to fade the song out that would have made it a satisfactory closer, but it's not the last track.

The album closes on another simple piano ballad, in fact a song written by Carole originally for Air Supply. The tender, supportive lyric of “Someone who believes in you”, the other song on which she collaborates with Gerry Goffin, evokes the very best of Carole King, the sort of songs that could, and did, last down the years, and pass into musical history. This song deserves the same distinction, however it seems the record-buying public did not agree, and the album did so badly that it is now out of print. Truly a crime, however my vinyl copy is safely under lock and key.

Hard to believe that after nearly twenty years of recording and writing hit songs, that Carole King could still come up with a gem like this, but “City streets” certainly proved that she was, and is, a force to be reckoned with. I was, to quote a phrase, gobsmacked, having expected nothing that great and been totally overwhelmed by the quality on this album. Just proves, some things only improve with age.

TRACKLISTING

1. City streets
2. Sweet life
3. Down to the darkness
4. Lovelight
5. I can't stop thinking about you
6. Legacy
7. Ain't that the way
8. Midnight flyer
9. Homeless heart
10. Someone who believes in you
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:36 AM   #826 (permalink)
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All the world's a stage Part I --- Gary Moore live

Just a collection of videos of live performances from various gigs, showing what a consummate showman and supremely talented guitarist Gary was. Whether with Thin Lizzy or solo, Gary always gave one hell of a show! We'll be (hopefully) featuring a set of these every day during Gary Moore Week. Here's the first collection.
“Still got the blues” from “Still got the blues” (location/year unknown)

“Where are you now” (unreleased track) (Montreaux, 2010)

“Separate ways” from “After hours” (Live Blues, year/location unknown)

“The boys are back in town” from “Jailbreak” (One night in Dublin: tribute to Phil Lynott, 2005)

“Parisienne walkways” from “Back on the streets” (Monsters of Rock, Sheffield, year unknown)

“The Messiah will come again” from “After the war” (Montreaux 1990)

“Stormy Monday” (with Albert King) from “Back to the blues” (Hammersmith Odeon, 1990)

“All messed up” from “Wild frontier” (Stockholm, year unknown)

“Empty rooms” from “Victims of the future” (Stockholm, 1987)

“End of the world” from “Corridors of power” (possibly Dublin SFX, 1984)
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #827 (permalink)
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Two apologies. Of sorts.

1. Most importantly, to the Mods. I know this Gary Moore Week is going to provide you with more work in a week on my journal than you would normally have in two, but there is an awful lot for me to get through, and it all has to be in the space of seven days. So I hope you'll bear with me guys as the posts come flooding in in what will appear to be an almost ceaseless flow as I try to ensure everything I wrote/write gets published before Sunday ends.

It's a lot of work, yes, but I think a huge talent like Gary Moore deserves to be properly honoured and remembered, and I hope you agree. Incidentally, whoever is on at the moment, thanks for posting my stuff so far so quickly!

2. To anyone else: the nature of this tribute is going to invariably result in the repetition of certain songs/videos, as for instance one may feature in the instrumentals section and also in best songs, or whatever. I apologise for the repeats, but will do my best to keep them to a minimum, and to as far as possible ensure that where a song is repeated, I try to use a different video.

3. I am not, however, going to apologise to anyone who's pissed off at there being so much Gary Moore material here this week, ie people who are not into Gary's music, as you have your own problems, serious ones if you cannot appreciate this giant among guitarists. Educate yourselves! Seriously, try clicking some of the links: you might be surprised!
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:06 PM   #828 (permalink)
Nobody likes my music
 
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:09 PM   #829 (permalink)
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The worm knows exactly what track he wants today...

Today's Daily Earworm has been brought to you by the letter W, featuring the Waterboys, with “A bang on the ear”.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:16 PM   #830 (permalink)
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Dirty fingers --- 1984 (Jet)


Following the critically-acclaimed and fan favourite “Corridors of power”, this album continues the mixture of hard rock and tasteful ballads started on its predecessor and seen again on albums like “Victims of the future” and “Run for cover”. It opens with “Hiroshima”, a fast but grinding hard rocker which evidenced Gary's occasional foray into political themes on his albums. The chorus is a little twee, and the song is not as hard-hitting as the music suggests it could be, but although it's a shaky start the album does get better. Well, sort of. A bit. The title track is a short, one-minute instrumental which is really little more than Gary running up and down the scale on his guitar and showing off, then “Bad news” is a hard rocker with real bite, very guitar-led and quite Zeppelin in its approach.

“Dirty fingers” displays a more raucous, wild side to Gary Moore's music; whereas previous outing “Corridors of power” was a polished, professional and slick product with just about every track on it worth listening to, this album feels like it belongs to an earlier time, a time perhaps when Gary was still finding his feet, when he was just making music for the fun of it. It really sounds about ten years older than it should be, and even “Grinding stone” sounds more professional than this. Which is not to say it's a bad album, but the polish is definitely not there.

A cover of the Animals' “Please don't let me be misunderstood” doesn't do a lot to raise the quality, though he does a decent job of it, with Don Airey laying down some smooth organ grooves. Oddly enough, with production from Chris Tsangarides and Gary himself, it all seems a little muddy, at least thus far, with the guitar sounding a little too grungy and even muffled at times, and it's a million miles removed from “Corridors...” Another hard rocker, “Run to your mama” isn't bad, but it's nothing terribly special, decent backing vocals with a nice boogie rhythm, but it's not until “Nuclear attack” that things finally get going.

With a guitar riff shamelessly ripped off Rainbow's “All night long”, it's a powerful, driving rocker which warns of the impending danger of a global war. Gary's voice sounds better here for the first time to me, clearer, less forced and growly. The guitar sounds great too, as Gary cries ”The Russians are ready/ The US is armed/ They're trying to tell us/ There's no cause for alarm!” It has a great keyboard hook which in its turn must have been grabbed by Europe, for their megahit “The final countdown”. Great ambulance sounds made on the guitar add to the feeling of panic and paranoia engendered by the lyric, and it's pretty close to the standout, though then again from what I've said about the album so far, that really means it's the first track I like.

Unfortunately, after that “Kidnapped” is fairly standard rock fare, nothing marks it out at all, and then “Really gonna rock”, as you might expect, is another unremarkable rocker, basically “Rockin' every night” from the previous album slightly rewritten. It's got plenty of energy, yes, but that's about it. I suppose every rock album has to have a track like this, the obligatory “gonna rock ya” song. Keeping things heavy and fast, “Lonely nights”, which you would surely expect to be a ballad, is nothing of the sort. Hard grinding guitar, thumping drums and some rather nice backing vocals lift this song just a little out of the ordinary, but it's the closer that saves the album. Almost.

One of Gary's finest ballads, it's almost out of place on what is generally to my mind a pretty mediocre album. Carried on gentle twangly guitar with a soulful, hurt vocal from Gary, it's the sad tale of the spirit of a loved one who refuses to leave, perhaps not realising they're dead. Losing your lover is bad enough, sings Gary, but when they won't go to their reward it makes it doubly harder: ”Rest, rest in peace/ You have gone, please leave me alone./ Rest, rest in peace/ You must go/ Heaven is your home now.” Of course, it can be argued that it's just the memory of the girl that persists in the man's memory, rather than some sort of supernatural visitation. Lovely sweeping synth from Airey helps create the eerie atmosphere of the song, and Gary's singing is heartfelt and moving.

Of course, no ballad of Gary's would be complete without the requisite emotional guitar solo, and so it proves here, the song riding on the edgy, ethereal guitarwork of the master, and it's a fine, and mostly unexpected closer to an album which I sadly have to rate as one of Gary's least impressive. Were it recorded in the seventies I could maybe make allowances, but on the back of fine releases like “Corridors of power” and “Back on the streets”, this one is a big disappointment, bar the two excellent tracks which help to partially save it.

TRACKLISTING

1. Hiroshima
2. Dirty fingers
3. Bad news
4. Don't let me be misunderstood
5. Run to your mama
6. Nuclear attack
7. Kidnapped
8. Really gonna rock
9. Lonely nights
10. Rest in peace
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