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Gary Moore - Bad For You Baby

Eagle Records

11 songs; 55:33; Suggested

Style: Rock Blues

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to qualify that which can not be qualified, to quantify the unquantifiable, and to logically explain emotion. Now, that is Mission Impossible! But, that is often the job of a record reviewer. These thoughts crossed my mind as I was trying to decide how to explain why I have always liked Gary Moore’s Rock Blues music.

First, I should mention that “Bad For You Baby” is one of the six nominees for a Blues Music Award in the new category for 2008, “Rock Blues Album of the Year.” So, according to purists, the CD shouldn’t be liked at all since it is “Rock.” For the most part, Moore plays Rock Blues without the insipid string shredding that turns off so many blues fans.

I must confess that my enjoyment of the album rests on emotion; there is little logic involved. Simple explanation: Gary Moore is the best of the best when it comes to playing slow blues. His blues-natural-vocals plus guitar string bending, note stretching sustain, and creative phrasing have been consistently great over his recorded career. Proof here is found in three particular numbers, Al Kooper’s “I Love You More Than You will Ever Know” and Moore originals “Did You Ever Feel Lonely” and the nine-minute-plus album closer “Trouble Ain’t Far Behind.” Moore’s solo in “Trouble...” doesn’t just visit the stratosphere, he stays there for five full minutes. Who knew there were so many different high, sweet treble notes at the zenith of the scale?

When it comes to an up tempo number, who could ever beat Johnny Winter’s slide guitar masterpiece recording of J.B. Lenoir’s “Mojo Boogie?” Well, Moore gives it an admirable stab and comes close to Winter’s version. The energy is there, the vocals solid, and the slide guitar marvelous.

Kicking off with the title track, Moore launches into the CD with ferocious energy. Sam Kelly drums, Vic Martin adds keyboards, and Pete Rees is the bassist. The song ends with ten seconds of sonic feedback and overload that, sadly, might end the listening session for marginal fans.

The second number, “Down The Line,” is played at breakneck speed with plenty of fretboard fireworks, and the guitar solo is wonderful with deft finger picking, not power chord strumming.

Just skip the third number, “Umbrella Man;” it is a plodding cut with a shredded solo lacking originality.

Cut four, “Holding On,” gives us a nice taste of Moore’s soulful side, especially on vocals.

Track five is an up tempo shuffle that really burns. Muddy Waters’ “Walkin’ Thru The Park” is where this CD begins to truly separate itself from the mundane pack to earn its BMA nomination. Track five’s pace is also the perfect set up for the afore-mentioned slow blues number penned by Kooper. Moore later covers in great style one more Muddy number, “Someday Baby.”

Otis Taylor and daughter Cassie guest respectively on banjo and vocals on “Preacher Man Blues” in which Moore shares more of his considerable harmonica skills.

With at least 33 albums to his credit, Gary Moore is acknowledged as one of the finest musicians that the British Isles has ever produced. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 4th 1952, he was turned on to rock and roll first through hearing Elvis Presley, and then via The Beatles. Seeing the likes of Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in his hometown opened up to him the rich world of The Blues. Soon thereafter, he was hailed as a teen musical prodigy beginning an amazing music career that dates back to the 1960s.

If you are a fan of Rock Blues, then you’ll love this CD. If you, like me, have Rock and Roll roots, then I think you will dig it, too. Marginal fans willing to experiment should just start with track five, and there they’ll find the gold nuggets that garnered the BMA nomination.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

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