Tag Archives: Gary Moore

Nineties Guitar Masters

Another of those difficult lists where you leave off many great musicians but I only limit myself to ten and in no particular order. Except this time I am going to start with a few who narrowly missed out on the eighties list.

moore

Blues-rocker Gary Moore doing what he does best

Gary Moore blew me away from the first time I heard him play. A case could be made for him to have appeared on either the seventies or eighties list but I decided to deposit him here. This is because in 1990 he released the most successful album of his career in Still Got The Blues. Featuring the likes of Albert King, George Harrison and Albert Collins, this album is predominantly a bunch of blues covers with some originals thrown in for good measure and is still well worth a listen today.

Choice Pick: The classic title track “Still Got The Blues”

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Vai holding a guitar that he can undoubtedly play

Steve Vai did make a name for himself in the eighties playing with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz and David Lee Roth and releasing his debut studio album, the inventive mess that was Flex-Able. But when he released his second studio album in 1990, Passion and Warfare, he really took the world by storm.

Choice Pick: “The Audience Is Listening” from Passion and Warfare.

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Metallica axeman and former Satriani student, Kirk Hammett

Although Metallica had success in the eighties they conquered the world in the nineties becoming one of the decade’s most successful bands. The eponymous fifth album, known simply as “the black album” was enormously successful.

Choice Pick: The epic riffery of their successful single “Enter Sandman” is hard to go past.

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Red Hot Chili Pepper, John Frusciante

John Frusciante’s guitar work became integral to the successful sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as is evidenced not only by the success of the seminal nineties album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but also by their renewed success upon his return to the band after a five year hiatus in 1999.

Choice Pick: Absolutely anything off 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Majik or 1999’s Californication

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Tool’s Adam Jones

Tool are one of my favourite band’s ever, largely due to the virtuoso skills of drummer Danny Carey and guitarist Adam Jones. The riffs and licks from Jones and the metronomic playing of Carey led to the band being described as math rock in some circles.

Choice Pick: “Forty-Six & 2” from their 1996 album, Ænima

yeomans

Quan Yeomans, front man for Regurgitator

Australian music in the nineties would have been a lot more boring without the Gurge! Quan’s singing, guitar playing and songwriting are all key elements of Regurgitator’s sound and the way they virtually reinvent themselves each album has made their career interesting.

Choice Pick: “! (The Song Formerly Known As)” from the 1997 album, Unit.

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Radiohead’s inventive guitarist, Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood’s guitar playing could only be described as inventive and intriguing and as a player he is clearly determined to achieve success on his own terms without compromise. OK Computer is one of the most pivotal albums of the nineties and Jonny’s playing is definitely a contributing factor to its success.

Choice Pick: Check out “Paranoid Android” from OK Computer as a great taste of his unique style

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Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello

Tom Morello is yet another guitarist who’s playing could only be described as innovative. He’s been known to even tap the strings with an Allen Key to play slide. What a legend!

Choice Pick: Hard to go past my favourite Rage Against The Machine track, “Killing In The Name”, from their self-titled debut in 1992. If you have not heard this, make sure you track down the uncensored version otherwise you miss the whole point of the song!

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Living Colour’s Vernon Reid

Living Colour surprised everyone with the success of their debut album, Vivid, in 1988. But they weren’t one-trick ponies and really showed a diversity of styles on their follow-up, Time’s Up, in 1990. Their sound continued to evolve on 1993’s Stain before breaking up in the mid-nineties only to reform in 2000 and resume their career. A career built largely around Reid’s playing and Corey Glover’s vocal talents.

Choice Pick: The “Love Rears It’s Ugly Head (Soul Power Mix)” single reveals Reid’s mellower, funkier side.

thayil

Kim Thayil, lead guitarist with grunge exponents Soundgarden

Q: Where would Soundgarden be without the guitar talents of Kim Thayil?

A: Nowhere.

Despite the vocal talents of Chris Cornell and the other talented musicians in the band, it is Thayil’s riffery that defines them.

Choice Pick: “Spoonman” from 1994’s mega-successful Superunknown

In me-Moore-iam

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?