When my promo copy of Back On The Streets arrived it was like a visit from an old friend! I had the vinyl format many years ago but mislaid it and never replaced it. It is hard to believe it was released almost 35yrs ago,produced by Chris Tsangarides and Gary Moore. The remastered edition was produced by Andy Pearce with an updated booklet including notes by Malcolm Dome and released via Universal Music UK on Sept.23rd 2013.
The album contains 12 tracks albeit with 3 versions of Spanish Guitar which is my favourite song written by Gary which made this reissue even more enjoyable. The album covers many facets of the great man who is sadly no longer with us,ranging from bruising hard rockers,breathtaking instrumentals to heart wrenching ballads which highlight how his guitar prowess overshadowed his rich,soulful vocal style,reminding me of Glenn Hughes.
The album explodes into life with the title track which was also released as a 7″ single back in the day. Some fast guitar flurries give way to a crunching main riff over a gruff lead vocal from Gary with backing vocals from Phil Lynott and keyboards from Don Airey. As with Gary’s heavier songs your always waiting for the guitar solo and at the 2 minute mark he does not disappoint as he unleashes a raucous wah-wah with multi tracked guitar flourishes. Don’t Believe A Word follows,penned of course by Phil Lynott who plays bass on this version but Gary provides a powerful vocal with some stinging guitar lines and a soulful solo and has a surprise ending as just as you are expecting a big ending to the song it fades out with the main riff.The song has another Thin Lizzy connection as drums are provided by Brian Downey. Back to a heavier number now with Fanatical Fascists,another Lynott number who lays down bass lines over almost punk rock abrasive riffs featuring a gritty vocal from Gary.
The 1st of the instrumentals follows with Flight Of The Snow Goose a 7 minute keyboard/guitar jam bringing to mind the telepathic interplay from Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord from the early 70’s with Deep Purple which is followed by another instrumental called Hurricane. From the off Gary shows his speed up and down the neck as he is backed up by strong keyboards once again by Don Airey and inventive drum patterns from Simon Phillips. Back to the ballads with Song For Donna and another example of Gary’s vocal prowess as his piercing guitar lines cut through the predominant keyboards. Another instrumental but the most jazzy so far is next,the curiously titled What Would You Rather Bee Or A Wasp? At 5 minutes long it is driven by a funky bass guitar riff from John Mole and is another showcase for Gary’s lightning speed.
The lilting bass lines and sublime guitar can only mean one thing,the intro to Parisienne Walkways,joint written between Phil And Gary with Phil taking the lead vocal on this one.This song still takes your breath away after all these years. Another instrumental called Track Nine which is obviously track 9 on the album is the 1st of 4 bonus tracks here which is the most quirky instrumental on the album and the heaviest as Gary competes with the manic keyboards. The song was originally released as b side to Back On The Streets but the best songs are saved till last,3 different versions of the beautiful Spanish Guitar which i think is the most touching song Gary has written. The 1st version features Phil Lynott on lead vocals and is jaw dropping to say the least as his unmistakeable timbre tells a story of love lost as Gary’s guitar lines cut through with the odd clap of castanets for added effect. The 2nd take has Gary on lead vocal and was released as 7″ single and is more guitar heavy than Phil’s take. The 3rd and final version is a haunting instrumental which was the b side of the Spanish Guitar single and is a beautiful way to end an album full of innovative music.
Back On The Streets track listing :-
Back On The Streets.
Don’t Believe A Word.
Flight Of The Snow Goose.
Song For Donna.
What Would You Rather Bee Or A Wasp?
Bonus Tracks :-
Spanish Guitar (Phil Lynott vocal).
Spanish Guitar (Gary Moore vocal).
Spanish Guitar (Instrumental).
Album recording personnel :-
Gary Moore – Guitar/vocals.
Phil Lynott – Bass guitar/vocals/double bass guitar/acoustic guitar/percussion/backing vocals.
John Mole – Bass guitar.
Don Airey – Keyboards/organ/piano.
Brian Downey – Drums/percussion.
Simon Phillips – Drums/percussion.