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Old 02-10-2012, 05:08 AM   #861 (permalink)
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Run for cover --- 1985 (EMI)


Certainly one of Gary's most commercial and successful albums, “Run for cover” occupies quite a high spot in my Gary Moore collection, although some of the tracks are a lot weaker than the others. It's notable of course for the hit single “Out in the fields”, on which Phil Lynott sang with him, and the participation of other high-profile guest musicians, like Don Airey, Bob Daisley, Glenn Hughes and Paul Thompson.

It gets going with a real Floydesque keyboard run by Andy Richards, like a swarm of deadly bees getting closer and closer before Gary's familiar guitar chords snap in and he shouts ”Run!” as the song gets going. It's a great rocker, finding Gary as ever in fine voice, with great backup melody from the keys giving this opener and title track a very commercial feel, more in fact than any of his previous work. You could hear this on the radio and not be surprised. And yet it's still heavy as hell, showing that Gary knew the way to straddle the divide between commercial, radio-friendly tunes and uncompromising rock withtout falling over on either side. Great solo from him just makes this the perfect opener, and you're somewhat out of breath by the time it slams to a halt.

And there's no time to catch your breath either, as we plough right into “Reach for the sky”, a heavier, harder rocker, with blues tones, much more down to Gary's usual style, but with a nice soft keyboard line and some almost soul moments, before the chorus explodes with the admittedly rather banal and a little cringeworthy ”Reach for the sky! / Come out with your hands up!” Good basswork and indeed backing vocals on this from Glenn Hughes, then we're into one of the standouts (already?), which actually appeared as the B-side of the single “Out in the fields”, and is in some ways as good as the A-side. “Military man” is a searing indictment of recruitment into the army, with vocals and bass taken by the late Phil Lynott, the song itself being one of his old Grand Slam tunes.

Played with, not surprisingly, a military drum and guitar rhythm, it's a powerful and insightful song, as Lynott sings ”Mamma take a look at your boy/ He's a military man/ Mamma take a look at your boy/ He's crying./ Mamma take a look at your boy/ He's a soldier/ Mamma take a look in his eyes/ They're colder.” The guitar from Moore, allied with Lynott's bass, goes on an all-out angry attack as the song progresses, then there's a lovely little blues intermission during which the military man in question contemplates his life and dreams of being out of the army, out of war. ”I am writing from this war/ Oh mamma, I don't know what I'm fightin' for...” It ramps back up again and ends strongly, with the inescapable conclusion that he never realises this dream. Great song, just great, and Lynott's vocals paired with Gary's squealing, protesting guitar just make it perfect.

I personally could have lived without the inclusion of another version of Gary's timeless ballad, but to be fair it's quite a different version of “Empty rooms” we get here, and it does breathe new life into the song. Still, I already have “Victims of the future”, and this takes up valuable room that could have allowed another, original track to fill. Glossing over that then, we move on to “Out of my system”, a mid-paced rocker on which Neil Carter joins Andy Richards on the keyboards, filling out the sound, then it's another standout, and another appearance by Phil Lynott on that hit single, the bombastic “Out in the fields”, on which both Gary and Phil sing. Opening with a synthy intro it soon kicks into life and Gary's guitar goes into overdrive, as the two legends swap vocals throughout the song. Guesting on keyboards, Don Airey paints a dramatic backdrop, with growling keys and sweeping synth passages, panic and urgency in his fingers as they dart across the keyboard.

Truly one of Gary's most intense solos features in the track, and then Lynott intones the lyric darkly, a warning, a prophecy as he growls ”They are falling/ One by one/ No flag has ever stopped/ A bullet from a gun!” The song thunders to its conclusion then on shimmering keys and a powerful guitar ending. No wonder it was such a hit. “Nothing to lose” then is a slower, punchy, rock cruncher with lots of guitar mayhem, Carter this time solo on the keyboards. It's probably one of the few weak tracks on the album, very simple and straightforward, but not a bad track. It's followed by a real classic though, another standout.

“Once in a lifetime” should have been a huge hit single. It has the catchy melody, tons of hooks, it's possible to dance to even, and it just bounces around inside your head like a tennis ball. It's mostly carried, it has to be said, on the powerful, anthemic keyboard line laid down by Carter, here rejoined by Richards, but of course Gary's everpresent guitar solo is there to add its own marker to the song. This could be the closest I've heard Gary's music approach AOR territory, but I have no problems with that if he could write material of this quality, as he could.

With a guitar riff surely robbed from Rainbow's “All night long” when Ritchie wasn't looking, and a hook half-inched from Duane Eddie's “Summertime blues”, “All messed up” is another good hard rocker, with Gary at his gravelly, bluesy best vocally, but I find it a little derivative (see above) and therefore a little hard to take that seriously as a proper Gary Moore song. No such problems with the closer, the surprisingly laidback and cool ballad “Listen to your heartbeat”. Where Gary's ballads often tend to be big, lazy blues numbers, this bucks the trend, being again almost AOR, certainly radio-friendly, understated and sung with quiet reflective passion. It finishes the album really nicely, and again would have made a great single.

TRACKLISTING

1. Run for cover
2. Reach for the sky
3. Military man
4. Empty rooms
5. Out of my system
6. Out in the fields
7. Nothing to lose
8. Once in a lifetime
9. All messed up
10. Listen to your heartbeat
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:51 AM   #862 (permalink)
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All the world's a stage Part V --- Gary Moore live
Another selection of great videos of Gary playing live.

“Walking by myself” from “Still got the blues” (London, year unknown)


“Military man” from “Run for cover” (Live TV --- with Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy)


“King of the blues” from “Still got the blues” (Live Blues, 1993)


“Rockin' every night” from “Corridors of power” (Goldiggers, Chippenham 1984)


“World keep on turning” from “Blues for Greeny” (Blues for Greeny Live)



“Murder in the skies” from “Victims of the future” (Paradise Theatre, Boston 1987)


“Love that burns” from “Blues for Greeny” (Blues for Greeny Live)



“Stop messin' around” from “Still got the blues” (Live Blues 1993)



“Evil love” (The Roundhouse, 2007)


“I have found my love in you” from “Dark days in Paradise” (Montreaux, 1997)
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:52 PM   #863 (permalink)
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G-Force --- G-Force --- 1980 (JVC)


One of several side projects Gary got involved in during his pre-blues years, as it were, G-Force was a band put together by him when on tour with Lizzy in the USA. Featuring a more AOR approach to music than his own albums, G-Force only lasted for the one album (though successful) before Gary decided to move on to other things.

Opening with a good hard rocker slightly in the vein of the opener from “Corridors of power”, “Don't take me for a loser”, the first track here, “You”, has a nice guitar sound and good vocals from Willie Dee, with synthy keys from both he and Mark Nauseef, who also played drums in the band. Bassist Tony Newton completed the lineup. Only a few tracks were written exclusively by Gary, including this one, and there is even one on it into which he has no input, quite unknown on his usual output, other than any covers he featured. It's a decent opener, perhaps a little light, but “White knuckles/Rockin' and rollin'”, a combination of Gary's writing skill and that of Nauseef, is much harder and heavier, the first part not surprisingly being a strenuous workout on the guitar for about the first two minutes, while the second part, also featuring fretburning at its best, warps into a fast and heavy rocker, pretty guitar driven with almost no hint of keys at all.

A slow, heavy rock cruncher, “She's got you” is another Moore/Nauseef collaboration, featuring some fine blues licks from the man, and a really finger burning solo, though again I hear little in the way of keyboards, and from an album with two men behind the keys this is a little strange. Okay, so one of them is also at a drumkit, but still... Things slow right down then for “I look at you”, another solo Moore composition, with some nice pedal steel or slide guitar (I know, I should know but it could be either: probably the latter) which then changes into a sort of mid-tempo, almost funk song and the keys can definitely be heard in evidence now. The longest track on the album at just over six minutes, I'm not a fan of how it keeps changing styles all the time: makes it hard to pin down exactly what sort of song it is.

The first (okay, the only) track on which Gary does not participate in the writing comes in on fast rolling drums and takes off as a mid-paced rocker. “Because of your love” is okay, but it's nothing that terribly special, while “You kissed me sweetly” has both feet firmly planted in AOR territory, probably better suited to Bon Jovi, though it's even a little too light for the boys from New Jersey. Violins (probably made on Nauseef's synth) give a sort of ELO feel to the song, and a feeling of latter-day motown too. “Hot gossip” is nothing to write home about either, and the general feel of this album is that it would probably fit into the “Meh” section for my journal; nothing special, not terrible but you can see why G-Force didn't last.

At least Gary turns on his best “Thin Lizzy guitar” during the song, which is probably the only thing that really marks it out. The chorus in particular is very annoying. There hasn't even been a proper ballad so far, and I have to admit that I thought we'd get it with a song called “The woman's in love”, the moreso as it's the penultimate track, but no, it's another sub-standard half rock/half pop hybrid, with a melody that smacks just a little too much of Dusty Springfield's “I only wanna be with you” for comfort. Decent bit of uptempo sax on the track, though it's not credited, but otherwise, meh.

The album closes (and not too soon, to be brutally honest) on “Dancin'”, a title which can't engender much hope that it will raise the bar in any sort of rock and roll way, but in fact it's probably the fastest, rockiest track on the album, veering close to punk at times. Nevertheless, it's way too late to save the album at this stage.

I would consider this the worst combination of AOR/pop/soul/dance with a very small amount of rock thrown in that I have heard from anything connected with Gary Moore, with the possible exception of “A different beat”. It started off well but very quickly dipped in quality and by the end it's slightly rescued by the closer, but the tracks that precede it are so formulaic and by-the-numbers that you kind of have to ask yourself what was the point of getting this band together?

G-force? Never felt any pressure from it, mate!

TRACKLISTING

1. You
2. White knuckles/Rockin' and rollin'
3. She's got you
4. I look at you
5. Because of your love
6. You kissed me sweetly
7. Hot gossip
8. The woman's in love
9. Dancin'
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:25 PM   #864 (permalink)
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #865 (permalink)
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Ah, sure it's great to be free of the alphabetic constraints that have limited the worm for the last few weeks! In celebration, here's one of his own favourites, from Iron Maiden!
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:37 PM   #866 (permalink)
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After hours --- 1992 (Charisma)


The second album on which Gary not only covers his heroes' material, but gets to play with some of them too. After the artistic if not commercial success of 1990's “Still got the blues”, with its superstar contributors, “After hours” features a guest appearance from blues legend BB King as well as Albert Collins and keyboardist Tommy Eyre, and has, like many of his later albums, a mix of original and blues standards.

It opens with a blast from the Memphis horns as “Cold day in Hell” gets us underway, a hard-edged blues rocker with nice organ touches from Tommy Eyre, solid bass from Bob Daisley and of course Gary's trademark screaming guitar sound. Good backing vocals from Carol Kenyon (the older among you will remember her from Heaven 17's hit “Temptation”) and Linda Taylor. Upping the tempo is a great cover of Hudson Whittaker's “Don't you lie to me (I get evil)”, with some fine piano from Eyre and the Memphis Horns again doin' their thing.

Slow blues merges with gospel them for “The story of the blues”, with great trumpet from Martin Drover, and a moody blues melody not a million miles removed from “Still got the blues”. Some soulful organ from Tommy Eyre helps to build the melancholic atmosphere, with of course a great solo from Gary, his guitar crying like a man who's been dumped by the woman he loves. It's the longest track, coming in at close to seven minutes, and a great turn by the Memphis Horns again paints a flash of colour into the overall blue. A great, powerful, epic guitar passage closes the track, then Gary gets his chance to jam with a real blues legend.

The one and only BB King guests with him on “Since I met you baby”, an uptempo, happy rocker, and it's great to hear BB is still in fine form, both on Lucille and singing. It's only a short song, but a real gem, and great to hear the two guitar giants enjoying themselves, playing off each other. A great organ line courtesy of Eyre keeps the track humming, then the Horns and some spacey organ introduce “Separate ways”, as everything slows right down for a sweet ballad, some nice trumpet from Drover and those great backing vocals from the girls again, giving the song a quasi-soul feeling. “The only fool in town” speeds everything back up for a real blues rocker, and things stay fast with an almost country feel for John Mayall's “Key to love”, with great organ accompaniment from Tommy Eyre and powerful energetic drumming from Graham Walker. Another cover version is up next, this being a lovely laidback “Jumpin' at shadows”, carried on Eyre's solid, moody synth, switching to organ as Gary picks at his guitar and sings lazily like a man sitting on the stoop watching his life going by.

Gary turns preacher then as he declares ”The blues is back/ And it's here to stay!” before rocking out on a monster blues track with the late Albert Collins, Milton Campbell's “The blues is alright”. The Memphis Horns come back in on this song, joyously lifting the track to the level of gospel celebration. Collins died the following year, so I guess Gary would have counted himself lucky to have secured the services of the guitar legend before he passed away. Great bass from Daisley on this track too.

A blues shuffle then on “The hurt inside”, with Carol Kenyon and Linda Taylor back with their fine backing vocals, and powerful organ from Eyre, before we close on “Nothing's the same”, an atmospheric ballad in the style of “Empty rooms”, with deep, heavy keyboard and restrained vocal from Gary, nice little touch on the oboe there from Richard Morgan. The obligatory crying guitar solo from Gary just sets the track off nicely, as Eyre's keyboards keep pace in the background. There's also a sense of his big hit “Parisienne walkways” in the melody here. Nice ending to a very decent album.

TRACKLISTING

1. Cold day in Hell
2. Don't you lie to me (I get evil)
3. Story of the blues
4. Since I met you baby
5. Separate ways
6. Key to love
7. Only fool in town
8. Jumpin' at shadows
9. The blues is alright
10. The hurt inside
11. Nothing's the same

I wouldn't put “After hours” as one of my favourite Gary Moore albums, but what it does show is his innate love of the blues, and his great talent for songwriting, as well as in how high regard he was held by his peers, being able to call on such luminaries as King and Collins for this album. As part of the immense, mesmerising tapestry of blues and rock that Gary Moore wove for us in his fifty years on this earth, it's a vital strand, and needs to be listened to.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:03 PM   #867 (permalink)
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I'm not so blind or such a fanboy of Gary Moore that I can't admit he had some pretty bad songs, though in fairness they're very much in the minority. Nevertheless, the odd bad track has come close to spoiling my enjoyment of an otherwise great album, so let's go through the ones that I personally believe should never have made it to release, in any format.

It'll be no surprise to anyone, after my review of “Victims of the future”, that that's where we begin, with the godawful “Teenage idol”. Not only is it a super-simplistic view of the path to rock and roll fame, making it seem as if anyone can do it and ignoring the thousands who never do, but it's got some really lazy rhymes and it also tacitly rewards bad behaviour, with the guy in question being a real misfit, thrown out of his parents' house, quitting his job and so on. And in the end he gets fame and riches and glory. Gah!

Yes, that's all a bit over-analysed I know, but really, Gary should have known better. It's a really terrible message to put across, and it's not even hidden in a good song. The chords are simple, the melody basic, the singing okay but nothing special, no great solos and as I already mentioned the lyric must have been written on the back of some toilet paper or something! Anyway, here it is, in all its infamy.


The closing and title track to “Dark days in Paradise” is not necessarily bad, I just think compared to the rest of the album it's the definite weak link, and I don't like the calypso theme in the melody. Again, it's a little lazy, and is doubly mediocre in the light of the two songs that precede it, either of which could have closed the album far better.


Speaking of “Dark days in Paradise”, the other two extra tracks on it aren't so great either. First is “Burning in our hearts”, which I find a little too techno/dancey for my liking.


and the reggae mess that is “There must be a way”.


And now, we come to “A different beat”. Well, in fairness I wouldn't say the whole album is bad, but a heck of a lot of it is! First we have the too-dancelike “Worry no more” (pointless advice, given what comes next...)


Same goes for the badly-titled “House full of blues”


Soon after that the album goes into total freefall, with the awful “Can't help myself”, where Gary seems to think he's Matt Johnson...
(I can only find the remix, which is twice as bad, believe me...)

then the laughable “Fat boy”


and finishing with the dreary, boring “We want love”.


Disclaimer: I understand fully some Gary Moore fans will think I'm crazy, that these are great songs etc., and it's completely a subjective view of course. But this is my journal, my tribute, and this is how I feel about these songs. Believe me, I wish there was no need for this section, but hey, you have to be a little objective and recognise that sometimes even legends stumble a little. We're all only human...
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:19 PM   #868 (permalink)
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Juggernaut of justice --- Anvil --- 2011 (The End)


I haven't listened to any Anvil since 1982's “Metal on metal” (remember “Mothra” and “Jackhammer”? Ah, those were the days!), and in between they've had another twelve albums, this, their latest, being their fourteenth in total (see? You even get elementary maths lessons here at the Playlist of Life! Who says these journals aren't educational?), so it's therefore been twenty years, more than half my life, since I've last heard the shrang! of Steve Kudlow's (better known as “Lips”) guitar or indeed his rasping voice, or the thunder of Robb Reiner's powerful drums. So let's see what they've been up to, shall we?

Oh yeah! There's that powerful sound I remember right from the off, as the title track gets us underway! An acknowledged influence on bands such as Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica, it's not hard to see why Anvil are revered as they are. I might as well have hopped in a handy TARDIS and jumped back to 1982, and I am so there! Great fretwork from Lips, that familiar pounding on the skins from Reiner (not to be confused with the director!) and as ever, Glenn Five's bass keeps everything tight and under control. The younger among you may think of them as Metallica rip-offs, but hey, these guys were headshaking and air-punching years before Hetfield and the boys were even heard of. Well, not quite, but they were well-established by the time Metallica really began to break through.

“When Hell breaks loose” kicks the stays out and ramps the speed up to ten, maybe eleven, and “Lips” Kudlow goes berserk on the guitar, the song delivering a face-punching ending that literally takes all your energy and leaves you feeling like you just ran ten miles uphill. In contrast, “New Orleans Voodoo” is a slow, ultra-heavy metal cruncher, or perhaps I should say crusher! Like the blacksmith's tool that gives them their name, Anvil are all about heavy with a capital H, and if you don't watch it you could get flattened. Great solo from Kudlow here while Five lays down the meanest bassline you're likely to hear this year.

Things speed up for “On fire”, with a kind of Thin Lizzy vibe to parts of the guitar work, and the pace doesn't slacken for “****eneh!”, a real headshaker with guitar Jimmy Page would be proud of! At a guess, I wouldn't think this is liable to get much radio airplay! “This ride” powers along like an out-of-control locomotive, while “Not afraid” is a fast rocker which proudly wears its metal heart on its equally metal sleeve, “Conspiracy” a face-melting cruncher with a dark, politically-charged message, then “Running” kicks back into top gear and top speed.

Black Sabbath meets Metallica meets Venom as “Paranormal”, the longest track by far on the album, clocking in at a staggering seven minutes --- which for Anvil is epic! --- pours its dark, moody, brooding cargo out upon us. Perhaps the most musically inventive too, of the tracks on the album, it features what I believe may be the first studio drum solo on record and then powers up for its breakneck ending. It's a real vehicle though for Kudlow's deep, throaty growl of a voice, and he measures up to the task admirably. Closer “Swing thing” is just pure fun, an instrumental where the guys get to add in some brass from somewhere and manage to create a sort of forties Hollywood feel to the melody, with some great finger-burning fretwork from Lips and the kind of drumming that must have left Robb Reiner totally exhausted. Unexpected, it's a great ending to a really great album.

“Juggernaut of justice” proves, if there were any doubt, that Anvil still have it. One of Canada's prime rock exports, they've charted a course through the world of heavy metal for over thirty years now, and though they're not regarded as superstars, there are many bands who owe, if not their existence, then certainly a lot of their influence to these guys. Godfathers of the Canadian heavy metal scene? You'd not be far wrong.

And “Juggernaut of justice” shows them still with their albeit somewhat aged hands firmly on the levers of power.

TRACKLISTING

1. Juggernaut of justice
2. When Hell breaks loose
3. New Orleans voodoo
4. On fire
5. ****eneh!
6. Turn it up
7. This ride
8. Not afraid
9. Conspiracy
10. Running
11. Paranormal
12. Swing thing
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:30 AM   #869 (permalink)
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Power of the blues --- 2004 (Sanctuary)


The second album to cement Gary's return to the blues after 2001's appropriately-titled “Back to the blues”, this album shows Gary firmly establishing (or re-establishing) himself as primarily a blues guitarist after the temporary diversion of 1999's “A different beat”. It features a tight band dynamic, with old favourite Bob Daisley on bass, Darrin Mooney of Primal Scream, who had occupied the drumstool for “Back to the blues” and also on the Scars album of the same name from two years previous, back behind the kit, and new man JimWatson on keys. The album also features a few covers of blues classic, particularly those recorded by Willie Dixon.

The title track opens proceedings, a funky, boogie blues number, written by Gary with help from Daisley and Mooney, one of two on the album on which the bassman and drummer collaborate with him. Halfway in the track takes a bit of a swing, and strides along purposefully before going back to the original rhythm. It's a short song, and indeed there are no long epics on this album, unlike previous “Back to the blues”, or indeed the next one, “Old new ballads blues”: the longest track on this just shades short of six minutes, while most are around the three or four minute mark.

“There's a hole” is a powerful blues lament, though not a ballad, with hard guitar and a rasping vocal from Gary, solid drumming from Mooney helping the song along, a certain sense of menace in the melody, while “Tell me woman” is good rockin' fun, then the longest track on the album turns out to be a cover of Willie Dixon's “I can't quite you baby”, a storming blues cruncher given the sort of update Gary could hit these standards with, and yet allowing them to retain the innate charm of the original.

The first of the expected, and anticipated, blues ballads comes next, with Gary explaining “That's why I play the blues”, some really nice keyswork from Jim Watson, its slow smooth mellowness followed by the jarring “Evil”, another Dixon cover. I personally don't like this at all: there's just something about it that doesn't sit well with me. Maybe it's the stop-start talkbox guitar, maybe the jerky rhythm, I don't know, but it doesn't speak to me. At any rate, it's short and then we're into the other song on which Daisley and Mooney co-write with Gary, and “Getaway blues” is much more like it. Big, thumping, commanding bass from Daisley, a very Rory Gallagheresque vocal from Gary, heavy production.

Percy Mayfield's “Memory pain” is next up, searing guitar and some solid bass as the rhythm section hold court, then another stride blues rocker in “Can't find my baby”, and we close on the bitter “Torn inside”, with a really cool bass line running through the song. It's a decent closer, but the album I have to say overall is something of a disappointment. I far prefer the previous “Back to the blues”, and if I had to put this album on a rating scale I would probably give it a 5 or 6, maybe, but I would be generous in doing that. Really quite a letdown, sadly.

You may have got the impression that I lost interest early on, and you would be right. Less than halfway through and I was already doing other things, listening certainly but not hearing much to write about, and therefore having little to write down. I got bored, which is never a good thing to happen when you're listening to an album, much less one you want to review and much less when it's one of Gary Moore's, but I have to say in the final analysis, for me, on this album the blues were almost completely powerless.

TRACKLISTING

1. Power of the blues
2. There's a hole
3. Tell me woman
4. I can't quit you baby
5. That's why I play the blues
6. Evil
7. Getaway blues
8. Memory pain
9. Can't find my baby
10. Torn inside
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #870 (permalink)
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All the world's a stage Part VI --- Gary Moore live

Time for our penultimate look at Gary's live work. Here's another batch...

“I had a dream” from “Close as you get” (Valencia, Spain, 2009)


“You don't love me” (Montreaux, 1990)


“Since I met you baby” from “After hours” (Moscow, 2010)


“Bad for you baby” from “Bad for you baby” (Budapest, 2009)


“The stumble” from “Still got the blues” reissue (Montreaux, 1990)


“Tore down” (Montreaux, 1999)


Although the title says “Sunset”, this is “So far away”, apparently...


“Need your love so bad” from “Blues for Greeny” (Montreaux 1999)



“I love you more than you'll ever know” from “Bad for you baby” (Location/year unknown)


“Just can't let you go” from “Scars” (Monsters of Rock, year unknown)

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