Over on facebook, I'm being inundated with the news that guitar great Gary Moore is to play a hard rock set at the Sweden Hard Rock Festival. This is really some cool news. In a year that appears to be sizing up as a great one for the world of rock guitar, this is but another indication that rock guitar is far from dead, in fact it appears to be afire.
I first saw Moore playing with the Lizzies back in 1977. He stood in for an injured Brian Robertson on an American tour. I was bummed out for about two minutes when the band took the stage without one of my favorite players. That disappointment didn't last long. Moore was much more than a stand-in, in fact he stole the show from Lynott, the band, headliners Def Leppard, and everyone else in the arena. His fiery playing turned the 6,000 strong audience on their ears. His high water mark with Lizzy was the Irish rock anthem, Black Rose, and it was during this song that my long and subsequent love of Moore's work began.
Moore's career had started with early appearances in Colusseum II, and Skid Row, but it was only when he joined Lynott in Lizzy that he appeared on American radar. He toured with the band off and on, but only recorded the English hit, Still In Love With You, in 1974 with the band. The only full length album he recorded with the band was 1979's, Black Rose: A Rock Legend. His stays in Lizzy were always brief, as Moore focused instead on establishing his solo career.
Throughout the 80s, Moore recorded and toured incessantly, releasing excellent albums and filling large venues as a headliner, and was a favorite at festivals throughtout Europe. This period saw Moore become both a rock guitar legend, and a hugely successful band leader. America took to the man, but nothing compared to Europe and Japan. Speaks more of this country's need for glitz than it does about the talent involved.
Moore rounded out the 80s by becoming increasingly Irish with every release. He always displayed a political side with many songs concerning world affairs, and as time went on, he reverted back to his Irish roots and put out two records, Wild Frontier, and, After the War, that stand as the best examples of Irish hard rock ever put to tape. Wild Frontier, especially is a very nationalist album, and another gem, filled with jig-tinged molten rock. Moore takes to his hoe as a fish to water. His passion is almost overwhelming. Check it out.
1990 saw Moore get the blues, and he's been here ever since, and doing it heroically I'll add, but I've missed his rocking side mightily. He brought hard rock technique and tone to the blues to great success and has hada big influence on many great young bluesers, such as Bonamassa and Davey Knowles.
We've got great projects coming from Black Country (Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa), West, Bruce Jr, and Laing, and more to come. Yeah, it's gonna be a good year for guitar lovers....
Thanks to everyone who has read, and commented. If you have anything to suggest please do not hesitate.
Peace, tony conley