Poor Man's Moon

Henry McCullough

Our old friend Henry McCullough is at it again with his 2008 album Poor Man's Moon, just released in the U.S. The subtle electric guitar master — best known for being the infamous lead on Paul McCartney & Wing's "My Love" — has released a spectacular 11-song electric blues-based rock album that features perfect playing, subtle intricate songwriting and McCullough's truly inspired guitar playing.

The album opens with "Burial Ground," a slow dirge-like song with a double great bass from Nicky Scott, McCullough's snappy vocals and super sad slide and Enda Walsh's perfect piano. As Henry told me about this opener: "I have had people sit in me own house and know of people who sit in their own house and listen to Burial Ground and even before the end of it they were in tears."

"Big Old River" follows with some chunky electric guitar and rockabilly-like snare; this one is so fun that it almost sounds like Henry McCullough is laughing at times during the vocal. "I've Got A Secret" has some great tickling piano, with McCullough channeling his inner Keith Richards on the vocals with the full complement of Peter McKinney's drums and Roe Butcher's bass. The slower "Walk With Me" features a great lived-in lyric (I so appreciate guys writing from their experience and age), plus a beautiful Percy Robinson steel.

The best of the lot as far as middle-rolling solid electric blues is "Belfast Train" with its biting layback feel featuring the players as best they sound throughout the entire CD. With Aidey McIlduff on drums, James Delaney on piano, Roe Butcher on bass and lyrics from McCullough — "I got a suitcase full of nothing except memories and regrets" — how can you really go wrong?

Enjoy some great acoustic picking from McCullough in "All Gone Crazy," a sprite-y swirling almost-instrumental tune. It's the perfect length with a spot-on track placement, followed by the great blues rumbling "Time To Put The Snakes To Bed," which sees a great use of slide guitar on acoustic and Henry's players flipping along nicely behind him. The title track (which appears as track 12 here) is commercially snappy, knocking up against John Fogerty territory even. A great overall album, what I can really appreciate about Poor Man's Moon is that McCullough plays as much lead himself as he sits back and lets his fantastic players.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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