“If people want to compare me they can but for me, no one will ever compare to him. Not me, not anyone”
These were the words of Jack Moore, son of Gary Moore when I interviewed him in 2012. Today, Exactly 10 years after Gary Moore’s death, let’s celebrate the man and his Les Paul as he would have wanted – with his music. ‘Parisienne Walkways’ was written by Thin Lizzy Commander Phil Lynott of course. Parris was the name of Lynott’s father, so it seems a song destined to be a Lynott classic. After all, only Phil would dream of getting away with rhyming ‘Cafes‘ with ‘Photograph’. But then Gary Moore took the guitar part – and in doing so, took ownership of the whole song…
One of the best Rock/Blues guitarists I’ve ever had the honour to catch live. I remember at Hammersmith Odeon in the ’80’s waiting in (forlorn) hope to see Gary and Phil perform this very song. Phil didn’t make an appearance. I remember too seeing Gary with Thin Lizzy on the Black Rose tour. It was the time of Punk Music, and Gary’s outfit for the show was suitably safety pinned. I was literally blown away by how he rattled off with ease so many Irish classics at the end of the track ‘Black Rose’ with such seeming ease. Later, I caught an appearance at the Museumsplatz here in Bonn where his instinctive feel for playing blues was evident in abundance.
Jump forward to 2017. I’m sitting in the beer garden at the Harmonie in Bonn. At the table behind me are Pete Rees and Vic Martin from the Gary Moore Band. German Blues guitarist Henrik Freischlader is playing a Gary Moore special concert. He remembers how much of an inspiration Gary Moore was to him:
“When I started playing guitar, I was really trying to copy him because I wanted to learn how to play the instrument. I was just sitting in my room and I couldn’t play like notes or chords. I had no idea, and had never been taught by anyone. I learnt just by listening to great people – and of course the first one was Gary. I sat in my room as a teenager trying to copy every lick that I heard.
It was never my plan to copy anything (on the ‘Blues for Gary‘ record) because, exactly what Jack said, nobody can really compare to the man himself. Also, it’s like, it begins in the heart, in the soul, and then in the fingers. Everything else comes way after”
A fitting description of Gary Moore’s contribution to Blues Rock Music.