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3.42 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1970

Filed under Proto-Metal


1. Mad Dog Woman (3:47)
2. Virgo's Daughter (4:24)
3. Heading Home Again (2:46)
4. An Awful Lot Of Woman (2:07)
5. Unco-Up Showband Blues (6:13)
6. For Those Who Do (4:54)
7. After I'm Gone (2:55)
8. The Man Who Never Was (2:30)
9. Felicity (11:12)

Total Time 40:28


- Gary Moore / guitars, vocals
- Brush Shiels / bass
- Noel Bridgeman / drums

About this release

October 1970
Epic, CBS

Thanks to Certif1ed, cannon, Lynx33 for the updates

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Horrendously messy opening to this album from Ireland's finest guitarist, Gary Moore, at the tender age of 17, with a 1959 Les Paul guitar inherited from Mr Peter Green himself.

There's nothing wrong with Gary's playing here - it's as top notch as you'd expect - or maybe more so, given that this is is debut recording outing. It's just that his fellow band members have real trouble keeping up with the young virtuoso at first - or maybe Gary is a little over-enthusiastic - it's hard to tell.

Despite writing the opening piece, Mad Dog Woman, Brendan Shiels seems to lurch along a fraction of a beat behind the whole way though, and Noel Bridgeman really struggles with the drumming.

That said, this is a band right at the forefront of what they were attempting, and recording above their own abilities - so full kudos are awarded. This song is a real technical challenge, despite sounding like an adaptation of "Hard to Handle" - and the brightest light of all is that glorious, incandescent guitar tone that bobs along over the top of it all from Mr Moore.

The piece jumps around crazily, fully maintaining the interest, once you've got over the ragged looseness of it all, and Moore's fills continue to delight - one can only applaud Shiels ability to play the same line on the bass without dropping too many notes. Listen to the twist at the end, then pick your jaw up from the floor.

This style is continued into Virgo's Daughter, Moore and Shiels playing a couple of octaves apart, before separating for some astonishing craziness that rivals anything Hendrix ever achieved - Moore's playing is instinctive and wild, yet in total control. A joy to behold.

Again, we are treated to crazy changes in tempo, time sig and key, with some beautiful details, a tasty build up, and some quite irritating, droning vocals... never mind, we can't have it all. Hang on in there for Moore's supremely melodic solo utilising modes in an extremely tasteful manner. Then there's a really cool synchronised passage leading to something that sounds like a tribal Celtic version of early Wishbone Ash.

Another masterful composition from Sheils, over too soon. Or is it? There's another odd surprise bolted on at the end!

A complete change of style follows, some incredible finger picking (and overdubs) from Moore, drawing on a wide range of styles, evoking Arlo Guthrie, Paul Simon, and some of the Country greats. Not my favourite song, and completely non-metallic, but "Heading Home" is tight as you like, in contrast to the ragged performances that preceeded it.

In keeping with the other pieces, there's a surprise at the end, Moore duelling with himself.

Next, "An Awful Lot Of Woman" is a return to the earlier style, but it's like the band have got into the swing of it, and this is a much, much tighter piece, with some uplifting changes and the guitar fireworks we all associate with Gary Moore of the frenetic, fretburning variety - makes my fingers bleed just listening to it. Sheils keeps up much better here - and I can only wonder how.

A complete change of pace to a Zeppelin-esque slow blues - er, hang on, when was this released again? Reminds me a bit of Dazed and Confused, whoever released first. I could care less for the precedent, because this isn't Jimmy Page we're listening to, and we really know it. Moore's authoritative and unique style is stamped all over this piece, as the others, and it reigns supreme. The guitar solo section is INTENSE.

Back to the speedy stuff in "For Those Who Do", and, if crazy tempo shifts, with plenty of ultra-virtuosic shredding are your thing, then this is for you.

I won't go into the last 3 songs, as this kind of song-by-song thing can get dry pretty quickly, but it's all top-quality stuff.

Not really metallic, so not essential for your metal collection, but if you like a good guitarist - no, if you get excited by a GREAT guitarist, then this is missing from your collection if you don't own it already.

If long guitar solos and virtuosity turns you off, this is still worth a listen, as the excitement Moore generates is infectious - and might turn you into a solo freak yet!

An easily deserved 3 and a half stars.

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