Gary Moore

Power of the Blues

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After a brief return to his hard rock roots in 2002's Scars, guitarist Gary Moore comes back to the blues where his heart seems to be. But really, Moore's forte is his knack of combining the meaty licks and rugged tone from his gutsy rock to energize the electric blues music he has embraced since 1990's Still Got the Blues. To that end, Scars' drummer Darrin Mooney returns and Bob Daisley, veteran of such thundering outfits as Ozzy Osbourne's band, Uriah Heep and Rainbow, joins on bass. Hence this album's title is appropriate, since the power trio format pounds out this music with clenched-fist authority. Moore is an exceptionally tasty musician but even when the amps are turned up to eleven, as they are for most of this disc, there is feeling in his fiery licks. The originals that dominate are little more than rewritten established blues riffs and his songs are predominantly vehicles for his explosive, wah-wah-heavy attacks. Covers of Willie Dixon's "Evil" and "I Can't Quit You Baby" don't take the tunes anywhere they haven't been before (the latter copies Led Zeppelin's version almost down to the note) but Moore wrings enough guts out of them to make his renderings well-worth hearing, if not essential. A crawling take on Percy Mayfield's "Memory Pain" drags the standard on to Moore's playing field, but maintains the original's sense of sorrow. The guitarist's understated imprint is also evident on ballads like "That's Why I Play the Blues" where his low-key vocals and lighter touch are surprisingly poignant. He seems to be having a ball throughout, singing and playing with the loose authority that only 35 years as a professional musician allows. Moore is especially convincing and enthusiastic on the jazzy, walking bass propelled "Can't Find My Baby," a nice change-up from the album's predominantly charging tone. The creeping menace of the closing "Torn Inside" also shows how Moore uses subtle dynamics and a less-is-more tactic borrowed from his mentor Peter Green, to ramp up the drama. There's nothing here Moore hasn't done previously, but it's another stellar entry into his bulging catalog and a great place for hard rock fans to jump aboard the blues train.

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