Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
on 23 September 2013
A very welcome re-release of Gary's wonderful classic solo album Back On The Streets, with four bonus tracks - "Track Nine", the b-side to the single version of the title track, plus three versions of "Spanish Guitar" - one with Gary singing, one with Phil Lynott singing and one (another b-side) with nobody singing (although described as an "instrumental" it sounds like the backing track edited). "Track Nine" is a genuine instrumental - another jazz-rock number in a Colosseum II style, although not quite as polished as the three superb instrumentals on the original album. "Spanish Guitar"(complete with castanets) was a slightly dubious single following the surprise top 10 success of "Parisienne Walkways": some might think that 3 versions is about 3 too many but, for completists, it's great to have this record of what Gary released at the time. Despite the apparent commercialism, Gary thankfully put in a neat solo outro to rescue proceedings!
And as for the original album itself, it's a diverse collection of numbers, ranging from hard rock - jazz rock - blues rock - pop rock - and even soul. Although this wide range won't appeal to everyone, for others it's part of what made the album so enjoyable - from the opening riff of the blistering title track to the last fading notes of "Parisienne Walkways". Although keeping a foot firmly in the jazz rock camp, Gary clearly saw his immediate future in hard rock (he would soon record the classic Black Rose album with Thin Lizzy) but had the ability and confidence to record other styles. Gary really was on top form at this time, full of creative energy (check out The Old Grey Whistle Test performances of "Back On The Streets" and "Don't Believe A Word" on You Tube, if you haven't already!).
Gary Moore was, without question, a master of the guitar and to my ears a fine singer too. And what particularly sets this album apart from his others is that along with, perhaps inevitable, ferociously fast fretboard forays, there is space and subtle touches (especially on his slow bluesy version of Thin Lizzy's "Don't Believe A Word" and the sentimental soul of "Song For Donna"). This always was a great-sounding record, perfectly produced by Chris Tsangarides, and this latest remaster does justice to all concerned. The booklet notes by Malcolm Dome include memories from some of those involved (they clearly enjoyed making the album) and accompanying recording details and photos (the original artwork and more). So many years after it was originally released, Back On The Streets remains my favourite Gary Moore solo album and this expanded CD is the icing on the cake. Highly recommended. For me, it's 5*+.