Tag Archives: Blues

In me-Moore-iam

gary-moore-04

Legendary Irish guitarist Gary Moore

Often, people are remembered on the anniversary of their death. In the case of musicians, I’m more likely to think of them when I hear their music. I was reminded of just how great a performer Gary Moore was, after playing a track on my radio show last weekend.

He started his career with a band called Skid Row where he first met a young Phil Lynott. He would go on to have an on again-off again relationship with Lynott’s band Thin Lizzy during the 1970s. However, he only appeared on one studio album as a fully-fledged member of the band, the magnificent Black Rose from 1979.

black rose

The classic Thin Lizzy album, 1979’s Black Rose

I can’t remember when I first heard Gary Moore solo but I remember obtaining his 1985 album, Run For Cover,on vinyl based on the strength of the single he performed with Phil Lynott, “Out In The Fields”. I wasn’t disappointed.

run for cover

Run For Cover released in 1985

He was a very technically gifted guitarist and during his early solo albums he concentrated on a hard rock sound. He had success in the UK, and to a lesser extent in Australia, but he was idolised in Japan. He released a live album recorded in Japan in 1983 and seven studio albums during the course of the eighties. The most successful of these was 1987’s Wild Frontier and featured a cover version of the Easybeats track, “Friday On My Mind”.

Wild Frontier

1987’s Wild Frontier

In the 1990s he reinvented himself as bluesman, by returning to the kind of music that inspired him in his youth. “Still Got The Blues”, released in 1990, turned out to be the most successful album of his career and featured two legendary bluesmen in Albert King and Albert Collins.

still got the blues

Still Got The Blues released in 1990

His next studio album, After Hours,  featured another blues legend in B.B. King before he formed a supergroup of sorts, with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker of Cream fame. They called themselves BBM (Bruce-Baker-Moore) and released one album, Around The Next Dream in 1994.

bbm

1994’s Around The Next Dream by BBM

Moore would return to the blues on his tribute album to Peter Green, Blues For Greeny, released in 1995. Peter Green, founding guitarist of Fleetwood Mac, was an idol of Moore’s and he had sold Moore his 1959 Gibson Les Paul after Moore got to play support for Green with his first band, Skid Row. Blues For Greeny was recorded using that very same guitar on material composed by Green and originally recorded during his tenures with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.

blues for greeny

Blues For Greeny released in 1995

Moore then chose to modernise his sound on his next studio album, the excellent Dark Days In Paradise, released in 1997.

dark days

1997’s Dark Days In Paradise

In the 21st century Moore once again focused on the blues, releasing another five studio blues albums between 2001 and 2008.

If you’ve never considered owning any of his albums there are plenty of compilations available for you to sample his wares, or you could dive right in with both feet and get hold of some of the albums featured in this blog post.

What better way to remember a musician then by playing their material?

Advertisements

Fifties Guitar Masters

The 1950s was a time of upheaval in the music world with the development of electric blues leading to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, groundbreaking recording techniques, studio equipment and effects pedals and the like. This blog post aims to briefly examine just some of the guitarists whose work made a large impression on other musicians, and in turn, popular culture.

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

No examination of guitarists in the 1950s  can ignore the plethora of talented blues guitarists. Although Muddy Waters first began recording in the 1940s it is his work when joining the Chess record label in Chicago in 1950 for which he is most remembered. His use of amplification was also said to be hugely influential on other guitarists and was essential in the development of rock ‘n’ roll. His band members have included a variety of famous bluesmen particularly during his time with Chess.

Choice Pick: check out his “Rollin’ Stone” from February 1950

Les Paul

Les Paul

Les was a guitarist capable of playing jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll. He was also an inventor, songwriter and an innovator in studio techniques such as overdubbing, multitrack recording and the use of phasing effects.

Choice Pick: His work with Mary Ford is a career highlight particularly “How High The Moon” from January 1951.

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins

Chet Atkins is a key proponent of the fingerpicking guitar style and his work has influenced many, most notably Mark Knopfler. His music played an important part in developing a smoother country style that came to be known as the Nashville sound and helped bring country music to a wider pop audience.

Choice Pick:Galloping On The Guitar” released in January 1953 is a good place to start.

Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore (with some other chap called Elvis or something)

Scotty Moore made a name for himself as part of Elvis Presley’s band for many years was a key player in his sound. His pioneering rockabilly style was a key influence on musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page, to name just a few.

Choice Pick: It’s hard to go past their Sun debut together on the Presley version of “That’s All Right” released in July 1954.

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry chalked up numerous hit singles all of which feature his signature guitar style. However, upon closer examination you could almost credit pianist Johnnie Johnson for his sound, as Chuck’s licks appear to mimic Johnnie’s piano lines.

Choice Pick: The debut single “Maybellene“, originally released in July 1955, is a classic example of the style Chuck would use throughout his entire career.

bo diddley

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley not only created his first guitar himself out of an old cigar box, but he also designed numerous others throughout his career. He also developed a signature beat and used it often in his songs, which in turn has also been used often in other people’s songs.

Choice Pick: One of my favourite tracks from Bo, and a good one for any casual fan to start with, would have to be “Who Do You Love?” released in March 1956.

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert Sumlin

Hubert’s guitar prowess quickly earned him a place in Howlin’ Wolf’s band after Wolf convinced him to move from Memphis to Chicago in 1954. He remained in his band for the majority of his career from that time on.

Choice Pick: If you haven’t heard it before get hold of the definitive Howlin’ Wolf track “Smokestack Lightnin’” to demonstrate Sumlin’s skills.

b b king

B.B. King

Riley “Blues Boy” King was fortunate enough to have Bukka White as a second cousin, who no doubt taught King a thing or two and is alleged to have given him his first guitar. No one plays like B.B. and he never taught himself chords. Yet he still managed to have a career that spanned six decades.

Choice Pick: There are so many to choose from, but his treatment of “Sweet Little Angel” from August 1956 is well worth tracking down.

Link Wray

Link Wray

Link’s work was built around his distorted guitar sounds and he is credited with the popularisation of the power chord. He is often credited with paving the way for punk and hard rock due to the sounds he was able to wrangle out of his guitar and amp.

Choice Pick: His debut single with his Ray Men, “Rumble“, released in April 1958, changed the musical landscape forever!

Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy

Eddy developed a “twangy” sound by playing on his guitar’s bass strings to produce a low, reverberant sound. This became his signature sound and was used throughout his career. Check out his album discography and you will find the word “twang”, or its derivatives feature most prominently in many of the titles.

Choice Pick: His second single, and one of his biggest hits, “Rebel Rouser” from May 1958, is an excellent example of his “twangy” sound.

The Albert curse

I was fortunate enough to see several of my favourite blues guitarists/performers live in concert. The first was B.B. King at a gig at the Canberra Theatre in 1989. It was the first gig I can remember going to where the age groups ranged from 18 to 60 plus and the man himself was 63 at the time. An excellent live performance.

The next was Albert King in 1992 at the same venue, with Canned Heat as support. Another excellent gig but sadly Albert was dead six months later. I was extremely pleased to have taken the opportunity to see him when I did.

One of the "Kings of the Blues", guitarist Albert King

One of the “Kings of the Blues”, guitarist Albert King

The next blues guitarist I got too see was Albert Collins with his band the Icebreakers in 1993. The man was the consummate professional and his performance that night could only be desrcibed as “blistering”. Six months after seeing him in concert he was dead too.

"Master of the Telecaster", blues guitarist Albert Collins

“Master of the Telecaster”, blues guitarist Albert Collins

It was at this time I started to believe in the “Albert” curse. Two magicians seen live in concert dead within 6 months of me seeing them. I am very worried about the next musician I see live called Albert.