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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Essential Montreux [BOX SET] [LIVE]'
Artist - Gary Moore

OK, off the bat, you should know that over the weekend I listened to these discs one after the other ... and boy, are they incredible performances caught live, one and all!

This (very) special edition 5-CD box set brings together Gary Moore's performances from five separate appearances at the Montreux Jazz Fest in 1990, 1995, 1997, 1999 & 2001. Disc four, his rock/blues live moment was the one I loved the most (Need Your Love So Bad, Still Got The Blues, Parisianne Walkways, etc.) but come the end of the listening session it had all blended to be a truly incredible listening experience.

So, if you like Gary Moore, his guitar work, the bands he's been in, and all that surrounds the Irishman, well this box set is a must have. Oh, and if you love (not like, but love) the blues played with a power guitar vibe, then this 5-CD live collection is gonna have you in listening heaven.

Moore's career has been on-going now for over 4 decades, but it has always been (for me, at least) his solo work as a blues/rock musician that took him higher than any band he'd been in - and made him top the charts regularily in the UK. His blues/rock stuff is well documented - in life and in these 5 CDs - but it's is pure out-and-out rock era that first got me excited for one of the finest guitarists of his generation.

'Out In The Fields,' 'Over The Hills And Far Away,' 'Empty Rooms,' 'After The War,' and both 'Wild Frontier' and 'Still In Love With You' (which sadly, for me, only the 2 make it onto these 5 discs) were all my cup of tea. So, here in his live blues period of years at Montreux, we get a wonderful combination of true blues, rock blues ... and three versions of 'Parisianne Walkways' - always a fav of his to extend and do live!

Ok, taking it quickly disc-by-disc, the first CD (1990) was a live show that Moore took on after having just released 'Still Got The Blues.' Featuring some 12 songs, the album weighs heavily on the song choice for the set, but we also get stuff like Pete Green’s “Stop Messin’ Around” and Otis Rush’s “All Your Love.” A guest appearance by legend Albert Collins on “Cold Cold Feeling” doesn'y harm either!

Jumping ahead to the next appearance and it's now 1995 and we get a perfect 14 song set. Another couple of Pete Green tunes - “Long Grey Mare” and “Merry-Go-Round” - are both brought to the fore in typical Moore style, but if there was to be a run-of-the-mill disc amongst these, this would be the one.

Quickly returning to Montreux in 1997, Moore gave us just the 11 tracks this time to revel in. With a heavy borrowing of songs from his just- released 'Dark Days In Paradise' album, and with his so-called regular backing band behind him for a change, this was an impeccable live performance. And yes, he plays one of my rock favs, “Over The Hills” so I was very happy hearing it pop up amongst the blues!

Back again after another short break away (1999), we get down to some basic blues for sure, but his rock background comes to the fore too (as previously mentioned). A great Little Willie John’s “Need Your Love So Bad” empowers the recording, whilst a the beloved “Still Got The Blues” is played in all its rock/blues glory. And yes, the set (once again) ends on the usual final act of the late, great Phil Lynott’s “Parisianne Walkways."

Heading into the final disc and Moore’s Montreux juganaunt powers into the final bend with his 2001 performance. Having just released his 'Back To The Blues' album, we got a scattering of that along with classic blues such as T. Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” and B.B. King’s “You Upset Me Baby.” Add to that a storming version of Jimi Hendrix’ “Fire” and you can understand why it is a shame Moore doesn't tour as much as he once did.