Gary Moore

Dirty Fingers

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Although he'd probably beg to disagree, Gary Moore's worst enemy throughout his career has arguably been his own eclecticism; a distinct lack of focus which has regularly seen him swinging back and forth between the roles of heavy metal guitar hero and blues purist (and everything in between: Irish folk music, jazz fusion, you name it). And while the second half of his career saw him capable of focusing on both the blues and hard rock/metal with some consistency, 1984's Dirty Fingers is very much a document of those early, restless years. Originally recorded in 1980 but shelved in deference to the far more radio-oriented material released in its stead as the one-off G Force album that same year (yes, another detour by Moore), Dirty Fingers' tracks are generally characterized by a raw, uncompromising heavy rock aesthetic -- hence the title. As such, tough, virile rockers invariably slathered in frenetic six-string fretwork abound (see "Hiroshima," "Kidnapped" "Lonely Night") but, with the exception of the unapologetically nasty "Run to Your Mama," these tend to fall well short of the material heard on 1979's Back on the Streets and its "official" successor, Corridors of Power, three years later. A cover of the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is similarly lackluster; "Rest in Peace" is just another example of Moore's typically bland '80s balladry; "Really Gonna Rock" sounds like an early version of "Rockin' Every Night"; and the one-minute title track is merely a sketch for the electrifying solo later used to introduce Corridors of Power's epic "End of the World" (for which this album's "Bad News" was partly cannibalized, as well). But there is at least one other career highlight to be found on Dirty Fingers, and that's the bombastic "Nuclear Attack" (yet another of Moore's apocalyptic warnings), which, amid massive riffs that keep it rocking like a motherf**ker, unveils a simple but effective counterpoint synthesizer theme that one could very well assume inspired Europe to write "The Final Countdown." Also know that most of the above find Moore sharing lead vocals with former Ted Nugent singer Charlie Huhn for the first and final time, and you'll have all you need to know about Dirty Fingers -- an interesting but not essential Gary Moore album.

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