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The Gary Moore Band - Grinding Stone album review

Moore’s first solo album – glimpses of greatness

Cover art for The Gary Moore Band - Grinding Stone album

Gary Moore’s first solo album in 1973 quickly disappeared without trace, and not without reason. Recorded soon after Skid Row broke up, Moore had not yet sorted out the kind of artist he wanted to be, nor his vocal style. And while his guitar chops were coming together, his songwriting was still a work in progress.

The opening title track is a blues shuffle that rocks along with hints of Santana but without conviction. Time To Heal has an Allman Brothers vibe with some neat double-tracking, but the 17-minute Spirit softwareuiphraseguid=“c518a453-7384-4557-a76b-857a2a4aa228”>jam falls apart midway through, with some directionless, spacey noodling that should have been strangled at birth.

Only Boogie My Way Back Home offers glimpses of what was to come with the early slide guitar. You can also hear hints of how Moore’s songwriting would develop on the ballad Sail Across The Mountain.

But the overall lack of focus leaves Grinding Stone without any clear identity. It would take stints in Colosseum and Thin Lizzy before he could establish himself. 1978’s Back On The Streets is really where the Gary Moore story begins. Grinding Stone is just for the curious.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.