Bad For You Baby

Gary Moore

There aren’t many guitar players around with a pedigree like Gary Moore’s. He's a devotee of old guard guys like Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, while his rock resume features stints with Thin Lizzy, Greg Lake and George Harrison. For the last few years, Moore has immersed himself in electric blues. Now, he brings together the best of both worlds on Bad For You Baby, once again proving his mastery at a style of guitar playing that is sadly disappearing.

Moore skirts that edge between the well-heeled electric blues player and the blistering straight-ahead rocker. Songs like the title track, “Umbrella Man” (one of my faves here) and “Walkin’ Thru The Pack” shows off Moore’s blue proficiency. On “Down The Line,” we are treated to the man’s masterful taste, not to mention his dizzying speed. On the CD’s centerpiece, the blues-rock workout of Al Kooper’s “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” Moore takes his time with a slow blues burn, striking perfect key changes, coaxing his guitar to cry, spit and feedback. All this and we are only five songs in.

“Mojo Boogie” begins what I feel is the second half of the record (I have to make do with imagining “sides” these days). This is where Moore plays a blaring slide guitar, standing right alongside guys like Johnny Winter and Duane Allman. By the time we get to “Someday Baby” (with Vic Martin finally showing off a bit on organ) and “Did You Ever Feel Lonely,” Moore is wailing, bending, playing the hell out of his guitar. In the end, “Did You Ever Feel Lonely,” which highlights Moore’s speed, feel, dynamic playing and solid vocals, might just be the crown jewel on Bad For You Baby.

The record finishes with Moore’s band (and some guests) helping along on the chunky “Preacher Man Blues,” complete with the guitarist trying his hand at harmonica as well as plucking out a loud, snapping guitar lead. The country-flavored “Trouble Ain’t Far Behind” shows what Moore can do with a crystal-clear guitar sound. Drummer Sam Kelly, bassist Pete Reese and the aforementioned Vic Martin provide Moore with tight, simple backing on this and every tune on the album.

While he has seen some hits, played with some notable artists, and is well respected in the blues-rock guitar community, Moore isn’t as much a household name as say Eric Clapton. Delving deeper into the blues will probably not garner the guy a high profile. Let’s face it, guys Moore’s age are no even on the radar with the pre-tween record-buying public. Still, Gary Moore delivers, as he always has, with the 11 songs on Bad For You Baby. You’d be doing yourself a grand disservice if you miss this one.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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