Back To The Blues

Gary Moore

CMC International Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The last time I gave Gary Moore a shot, I felt like I had been violated. On Still Got The Blues, Moore might have tried to make an album that celebrated his musical roots, but it came off sounding like a rock guitarist who wanted to gather together some bigger names in blues and prove he could play it better than the legends. It came off sounding forced and sterile.

While Back To The Blues cannot rightfully be called a sequel (Moore has done two other blues albums since then, by my count), it sometimes does feel like he is reaching out to that nugget 11 years in his past, as if he feels like he wants to do it right this time. It's still not perfect, but it's a helluva improvement.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As the slide guitar intro to "Enough Of The Blues" suggests, Moore seems to be taking this task more seriously, leaving a lot of the flash he's known for (thanks to his stint in Thin Lizzy) by the wayside. Oh, he's still capable of showing a set of chops, but to Moore's credit, he tones down their presence. "Enough Of The Blues" holds out the hope that Moore finally has gotten things right.

While Moore is no John Mayall (look that name up, kids), he does a respectable take on "Stormy Monday," a song which does leave room for Moore to let his guitar do the singing. And while it stretches out a little too long, "Drowning In Tears" is another track which seems to suggest that Moore has done his homework.

Even some of the weaker tracks have their moments. "You Upset Me Baby" has the feel of L.A.-based blues with the inclusion of a horn section. Maybe Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown can get away with this, but it doesn't feel right this time around. Still, it's not a terrible effort.

With all of the improvements, there is something missing on Back To The Blues - and that is an organic quality to the music. There is no doubt that Moore is a talent on the electric guitar. But if Moore was serious about the blues, I'd like to hear him do more on the acoustic guitar. Over the years, I've heard blues musicians who could literally make an acoustic guitar weep. One is left to wonder what Moore could make an acoustic six-string do.

And Moore still makes the mistake of thinking as a rocker, not as a blues musician. "Cold Black Night" easily sounds like something that could have come from Moore's past, either with Thin Lizzy or Skid Row (no, not the Sebastian Bach-led group). Likewise, "Looking Back" and "I Ain't Got You" have about as much of a blues sound as B.B. King has a rap sound. And is it me, or is "Picture Of The Moon" akin to "Still Got The Blues"?

Moore has made improvements overall, and Back To The Blues is a more enjoyable effort overall than Still Got The Blues. But Moore, first and foremost, is a rock guitarist - and it's hard to put his musical past aside when he's trying to do the blues.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.