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The Sanctuary Years: a somewhat arbitrary snapshot of Gary Moore’s career

All kinds of blues rise to the surface on a collection of turn-of-the-century Gary Moore recordings

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This somewhat arbitrary four CD snapshot of Gary Moore’s career around the turn of the millennium kicks off with 1999’s A Different Beat, which was a continuation of the detour he’d started a couple of years earlier on Dark Days In Paradise, setting his bluesy guitar against an electronica backing and sampled vocals. Viewed from a distance of a quarter of a century, it’s not as radical as it sounded back then. 

The drum and bass that propels Moore through Lost In Your Love and the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Fire is bold, as is the lengthy, ambient Surrender. But the purists will still hate it. They’ll be relieved by 2001’s Back To The Blues, with its rollicking You Upset Me Baby, although they might be perturbed that so many Moore originals have a familiar ring to them. 

They can also unravel the sound on the Blu-ray 5.1 mix bonus disc. On Scars (2002) Moore unleashes some of his toughest guitar since Thin Lizzy in a balls-to-the-wall trio setting, and the prevailing attitude of Wasn’t Born In Chicago – ‘but I can still play the blues’ sums it all up. 

You certainly wouldn’t want to tell him that a couple of the tracks are just Hendrix rewrites. On 2004’s Power Of The Blues he looses the attitude but still packs a punch. This time his own songs are strong enough to stand up by themselves, which makes you wonder why he bothered to deliver a note-perfect Led Zeppelin version of Willie Dixon’s I Can’t Quit You Baby.

Source: loudersound.com