Κυριακή, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2021

Gary Moore's Dirty Fingers: The early years and the story of the outcast album


Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 4th of 1952, Gary Moore started his music journey when he joined the Dublin-based Skid Row band at the age of 16. In Skid Row, he also met Phil Lynott who was the band's singer and a long friendship started between them. Even if Gary wasn't a founding member of the Irish band and left Skid Row in the end of 1971, it was he who sold the rights of the "Skid Row" name for 35000 USD to Jon Bon Jovi for the American hard rock/heavy metal band fronted by Sebastian Bach when they joined Atlantic Records, since Bon Jovi owned part of their publishing rights.

During the time with Skid Row, they supported Fleetwood Mac and Moore was heavily influenced by guitarist Peter Green who also helped them to sign with CBS records, releasing the albums Skid (1970) and 34 Hours (1971). A few months previously to Skid, they released Skid Row but CBS withdrew it from circulation when it was decided to re-record certain songs and add new material for Skid, presenting it as the proper debut album.

Skid and 34 Hours were performed by the power trio of Gary Moore (guitar, vocals), Brush Shiels (lead vocals, bass) and Noel Bridgeman (drums), while Phil Lynnot had already formed Thin Lizzy learning also the bass guitar and releasing in 1971 the Thin Lizzy debut album... but the best was yet to come. Meanwhile, Gary Moore believed that the Skid Row members weren't an equal match to his abilities, there was also confusion on his musical direction, and he decided to leave the band and start a solo career. Gary Moore's album Grinding Stone was released in 1973 as The Gary Moore Band but it was also confusing and then he briefly joined Thin Lizzy; he was a guest in Nightlife (1974) while he also recorded Black Rose: A Rock Legend (1979) with them.

The '70s was a confusing period for Gary Moore and he wasn't sure for his musical direction. During that decade he was in jazz fusion, blues, rock and hard rock, performed and/or recorded with Skid Row, Thin Lizzy, Colosseum II, Cozy Powell and besides Grinding Stone, in 1978 he released his first solo album as "Gary Moore" under the title Back on the Streets including the classic track "Parisienne Walkways". Phil Lynott, Don Airey and drummer Simon Phillips were among the recording musicians but again he wasn't sure. He was confused and he also had a lack of focus even if he wouldn't agree with that. After all, "you don't fuck with Gary Moore, he didn't have those scars for fun", according to Glenn Hughes.

While touring with Thin Lizzy in the USA, he left the band trying to establish his solo career forming G-Force and recorded the same-titled album in Los Angeles, released in 1980 by Jet Records, and then toured with Whitesnake. Still though, that band was also short-lived but it seemed that Moore was more certain for his musical direction, so he decided to record under his name the next albums starting with Dirty Fingers.  



Dirty Fingers is the heaviest solo album of Gary Moore recorded with the all-star line up of Gary Moore (guitar, vocals), Charlie Huhn (lead vocals) of Ted Nugent, Jimmy Bain (bass) of Rainbow and Wild Horses, Tommy Aldridge (drums) of Black Oak Arkansas and Pat Travers Band, and Don Airey (organ, keyboards) of Colosseum II, Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne.

Dirty Fingers was recorded for Jet Records around the same period with G-Force and one of the regular producers working with Jet Records was Chris Tsangarides. Dirty Fingers is a raw album for its time. Restless and straight, hard with a sharp heavy metal edge; it's a dirty album. Gary Moore didn't really like that raw sharpness and Tsangarides' production, it was too heavy and hard for him and he wasn't happy with it and the mixing. Gary Moore's few years with Jet Records was a period the artist wasn't happy at all, and he never hide it. The recording period of this album is debatable though, it is said that the album was recorded during 1980 but there is a possibility that it was actually recorded in January 1981.

Back to the album, "Hiroshima" is a heavy metal favourite for many metal fans that don't really follow Gary Moore. "Nuclear Attack" is a track Moore really liked and Airey's input in this track is iconic and inspiring. While "Nuclear Attack" is about an apocalyptic warning, Moore always had themes and lyrics about destruction coming from men in his rockin' albums, but he also had lyrics about daily life, society and love, and he drew inspiration from anything that could get his attention. "Bad News" is also a cut with a hard and raw edge, "Really Gonna Rock Tonight" is also close but then, those are the opposite to "Kidnapped" that's a commercial radio-friendly track something closer to what followed. Gary Moore also recorded a cover of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" that is mostly famous by The Animals even if the first version was by Nina Simone. Still though, besides "Hiroshima" and "Nuclear Attack" there are two more of the best tracks Gary Moore ever written in Dirty Fingers, "Lonely Nights" (also mentioned as "Lonely Night") and "Rest in Peace" that served as a template for Moore's '80s ballads.

Dirty Fingers was an uncompromised and raw album written and recorded in a confusing period for Gary Moore. In the end, it was scrapped and Gary Moore recorded Corridors of Power with a new line up, a new record label (Virgin) and producer Jeff Glixman. "Nuclear Attack" was one of the songs Virgin listened to and decided to sign Gary Moore, and that was also the only track they bought the rights from Jet Records and Gary Moore kept performing for a while. When Gary Moore briefly joined Greg Lake's band, "Nuclear Attack" was also included in Greg Lake's same-titled album released in 1981.

Gary Moore decided that he wanted a polished and more commercial hard rock approach something that was more obvious in later '80s albums like Run for Cover (1985) and Wild Frontier (1987) while in the end of the '80s he offered us his last hard rockin' album, After the War before he will return to the blues. Maybe his heart was always in the blues until the moment it stopped on February 6th of 2011.

Dirty Fingers was finally released for the first time in Japan in 1983 and one year later it was released internationally. Often considered as Gary Moore's third solo studio album, it is actually the second. The same period, Jet Records also released the live album Live at the Marquee, mostly to cash in on Gary Moore's success after the release of Corridors of Power.

The Japanese version of Dirty Fingers has the OBI strip on the top of the cover sleeve instead of the left side, and it is one of the very few Japanese records that was originally sealed since most of the Japanese version weren't sealed in the pressing plants.


Gary Moore, one of the greatest guitarists ever, wasn't included in "The 100 wildest guitar heroes" feature of Classic Rock magazine (issue 104, April 2007) along with obvious picks like Jimi Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy Rhoads, up to Buckethead, Kerry King, Daron Malakian, Joan Jett, Kurt Cobain, Mick Mars and The Great Kat...