Mick's Music Messages:

February 6, 2011

In honor of the legendary guitarist Gary Moore, I asked my friend Mick Houser, bassist and vocalist of Dr. Mudd and Shinebox to allow me to post his thoughts on the late artist.

"I'm deeply saddened by the passing of Gary Moore. I was never good at picking favorites, but he was definitely at the top of the list. An incredible guitar player who succeeded very convincingly at jazz, rock, metal, and blues. Some people have said if he had a better voice he would have been more successful. I happen to think his voice was perfectly well suited for the music he made and he sang with passion and conviction whether the subject matter was was carefree, sad, political, funny, folklore-ish, lovelorn, or in tribute to other artists he admired, which he was known to do often and with great taste and respect. His guitar playing was unrivaled and tremendously under-recognized.

To mention only a few songs that he did can in no way give a true impression of his overall body of work. He was so versatile and ever-changing that it would be impossible to pinpoint him labeled in one genre. That's one of the things I admired most about him. On any given album you would often hear songs that ordinarily would not be placed in the same collection by most other artists, but fans came to expect that from Gary.

He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In fact, if you listen carefully enough, he has several songs that are autobiographical. In these works, he speaks of his upbringing, formative years, and his remembrances of loved ones with respect to the world around him in early times. Some examples are Livin' On Dreams, Wild Frontier (about his war-torn homeland...remember this was the height of tension between Britain and the Irish Republican Army), and Blood Of Emeralds (a tribute in part to his dear friend the late, great Phil Lynott, lead singer/bass player of Thin Lizzy).

Here are some lyrics:

Blood Of Emeralds

I was born up on the North side (British controlled Northern Ireland),
Where the Lagan River flows (through Belfast).
When I came across the border (to Ireland proper),
I was following my nose.
Dublin city '69, (where/when he went to pursue his fortune at age 16)
There could have been no better place,
There was no better time.
Through the thunder and the rain,
The deepest blood of emeralds
Was running through my veins.

Blood of emeralds.

I was down and out on Skid Row (a pun, referencing his band with Phil Lynott, pre-Thin Lizzy),
But I held on to my pride.
The darkest son of Ireland (Phil Lynott, who was both black and Irish),
He was standin' by my side.
We would sail the stormy seas.
Never looking back,
We were afraid of what we'd see.
Through the thunder and the rain,
The deepest blood of emeralds
Was running through our veins.

Here's some more recommended listening :

Gary Moore covered the Yardbirds' song Shapes Of Things.

Friday On My Mind (covered by Gary Moore) was original a song by the Easybeats, who interestingly enough had members including George Young (brother of AC/DC's Malcolm and Angus) and Harry Vanda. Young and Vanda eventually managed and produced AC/DC.  


He also did a duet with Ozzy called Led Clones about bands who try to sound like Led Zeppelin. Two beautiful instrumentals of Gary's I would recommend are Dunluce
     and The Messiah Will Come Both on the album After The War, which also features the aforementioned Led Clones.


If you've never heard his album Still Got The Blues, you definitely should while you're in the blues mood. Great songs, including some covers and surprise special guests. He does some work with Albert Collins, one of my favorite blues players. Here's a video with Albert Collins and Albert King.


The Loner and Johnny Boy from the album Wild Frontier is also a classic as well as the unforgettable ballad of Over The Hills And Far Away.

Here is Gary Moore with BB King, The Thrill Is Gone.

Gary Moore was among the very best at his craft, a huge supporter of his peers and those who came before him, yet he was virtually unknown in the world of pop culture and icons. This shows everything that is wrong with pop culture, TV, radio and record companies, in their choices of which artists to promote. He deserved so much more respect for his vast body of work and influence. R.I.P. Gary. Thanks for all of the great music and inspiration." 
- Mick Houser.