Essential Montreux (Eagle Records)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 11, 2009
Gary MooreEssential Montreux (Eagle)
Before Jersey hairdressers Skid Row, there was Dublin gunners Skid Row, featuring the first bark from native son Phil Lynott, and, by 1969, the murderous axe-wielding of Belfast prodigy Gary Moore. Thin Lizzy's finest moments (Black Rose), a string of peerless hard rock records in the 1980s (Corridors of Power, Run for Cover), and full blues devotion in the 1990s (After Hours) all get an airing on 5-CD minibox Essential Montreux, five complete sets from the Irish firebrand at the storied Swiss jazz festival. Lightning-strike emotionalism and teeth-grinding stratospherics feed Moore's bottomless shred, the toaster dropped into an Olympic swimming pool. Stinging open Otis Rush's "All Your Love" in 1990, Moore's distinctly ruby-cheeked vocal whine soon takes a big band horn version of Willie Dixon's "You Don't Love Me," made famous by the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East. Moore's shout-outs to Billy Gibbons and Stevie Ray Vaughan peak the 13-minute how-how-how of "Texas Strut," while hot embers from "The Messiah Will Come Again" sift the last of Moore's metallic LPs, 1989's After the War. His 1995 appearance also comes chest-deep in the blues – four covers of original Fleetwood Mac guitar god Peter Green – but 1997's hot rock set behind that year's Dark Days in Paradise ends on Moore's exhilarating Lynott duet "Out in the Fields," plus a song inspired by the Thin Lizzy frontman, "Over the Hills and Far Away," and, of course, Moore's Lizzy calling card "Parisienne Walkways." Blues sets in 1999 (the least) and 2001 (electri-frying) wring out every last note. Gary Moore, Essential.