Since Moore’s untimely death in 2011, fans have been bombarded with posthumous releases – arguably too many of them. But the releases have been routinely of high quality, and this one is no exception.
Blues for Jimi features Moore playing with bassist Dave Bronze and drummer Darrin Mooney at a 2007 London show with guests Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell, the latter of whom was dead just a year later.
Moore doesn’t mess around when he hits the stage, playing the Hendrix bombshell “Purple Haze” with equal parts reverence and mad abandon. “Manic Depression” gets the same treatment, with the Irish guitarist nailing Jimi’s licks and inﬂections, but also pumping them up with his legendarily fast chops. Conversely, he can turn it down on “The Wind Cries Mary” and deliver a convincing vocal and chordal guitar solo.
One of the standout tracks is “Red House,” where Moore burns the house to the ground. If you’re expecting reverent Hendrix licks, you might be impressed when he dials down the volume, adds some wah, and lays out authentic bluesmanship. If you’ve ever heard the snarky remark that “Gary Moore is not a real blues guitarist,” this may make folks re-think their position. Figure in Mitch on drums and Billy on vocals and bass, and you have a performance for the ages.
The gig ends with “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and as you might predict, Moore delivers another sledgehammer assault, again elegantly mixing classic Hendrix and his own inimitable chops.
If you’re a Jimi purist, this is probably not the record for you. But if you want to ponder how a scruffy kid from Belfast became one of the hottest blues-rockers since Hendrix himself, this is the CD to grab. There’s also a DVD version if you don’t trust your ears.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’13 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.