If Gary Moore has a musical comfort zone, it’s definitely the blues.
The versatile, Irish-born guitarist spent years successfully building a hard rock resume with gritty rockers Thin Lizzy and through volumes of his own raunchy solo work.
But while his 1990 release, Still Got the Blues, surprised some fans, he was really just coming home.
(photo courtesy of Aigars Lapsa Photo)
Moore started as a mere kid, building on a fluid guitar style that propelled him to an impressive career that would come to produce three dozen solo albums, jam sessions with some of the industry’s biggest names, and several successful stints with Thin Lizzy.
His first big gig was the group Skid Row, which spanned the genres of jazz, rock and blues, and first put Moore on the map as a talented and versital guitar player. (The band even brought him some cash in 1987, when he reportedly sold the name to the metal band of the same name for $35,000.)
In 1973, Moore released the first of his 34 solo albums, Grinding Stone with the Gary Moore Band.
But it was his affiliation with Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott that brought Moore to the attention of hard rock fans. Moore met Lynott during his Skid Row days, and retained a close friendship — picking up lead guitar duties over the years when Lizzy lost an array of regular guitarists. Moore also appeared on several Lizzy albums and toured actively with the band.
Yet, Moore always came back to his solo career, and over the years has also played with prominent musicians including blues legend B.B. King, Albert Collins, Albert King and ELP’s Greg Lake.
His latest release, Bad For You Baby, continues his love affair with blues-based rock.
Moore has also continued his affiliation with Lizzy, and has been one of the main collaborators of a resurgence of the band’s music. He was also on hand for the unveiling of a Lynott statue in Dublin, several years after his death.
For his part, Moore also continues to record and tour — and putting down some heavy blues licks.
(NOTE: This is part of my ongoing series of reports on guitar players who fly under the mainstream radar. Keep checking The Listening Room for future installments of guitar players you should know – JF)
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