A-side: The Loner
Gary Moore, was a bit of a guitar legend really, without ever being high up in the public conscience. Well little more than "Wasn't he in Thin Lizzy, once?", and while yes he was in Thin Lizzy briefly, he did a lot more other stuff and widely collaborated with a whole host of well-known folk. So a widely-respected, skilled guitarist, who over many years crafted a fine blues sound.
I remember The Loner being released, I must have seen it on TV, probably the Chart Show (Saturday mornings Channel 4!). This must have made me go out and buy this record - because at the time it was not something I'd have gone out of my way to buy. The most likely reason for me buying it was because it was a guitar instrumental - a rare commodity in the late 80's, and with me being a Shadows fan (as mentioned in a previous blog entry) it was almost an act of solidarity on behalf of guitar instrumentals. (All right, there's a bit towards the end of the track where the title is groaned over the tune, but I'm ignoring this)
The Loner is basically a power ballad stripped of vocals, with the guitar licks taking the place of the voice sounding epic and melancholy. It sounds like the theme to a big movie - one full of windswept mountains and moorland and raw emotions. Moore keeps it tight and together - none of the histrionics or shredding that many many guitar legends can't seem to resist when showing off - for that I'm thankful. Despite the enviable skill on show I can't help but feeling the the overall record was just a little dull - nothing there to catch attention or bring a little spark to the proceedings.
The last few records I've gone through in the blog, I've found the B-side to be better than or at least as good as the main track. Johnny Boy successfully bucks this trend by being more boring than the A-side. It starts a little folky - and in fact tries to sound like a traditional folk song. I think it's trying to be an Irish version of Danny Boy. There's a vocal on this side of the record, which is wholly adequate, and is completely unremarkable. I've heard plenty of slow songs, that have energy , and substance to them. This neither and feels largely drained of anything like energy.
He was obviously a great guitar player, but it would take more (pun not intended!) than the evidence of this record to convince me, and I'd guess many others too.
Next time we delve into the murky world of early 80's indie synthpop...