Episode #248 – Gary Moore – Back on the Streets (with Rich Shailor)

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Lead up to the Album:

  • Moore had been in a band called Skid Row. It was in that band he met Phil Lynott and they formed a friendship. They shared an apartment in Ballsbridge, a neighborhood in Dublin at the time.
  • The band was not related to the American band of the same name but there have been refuted claims that Gary Moore sold the name to Sebastian Bach, a claim others deny.
  • Phil left the band to start Thin Lizzy. In 1974 when guitarist Eric Bell left the band Gary Moore joined briefly, recording a few songs.  He left after a few months.
  • Moore went on to work on many other projects but rejoined Thin Lizzy in 1977 when Brian injured his hand in a bar fight. He recorded the album Black Rose: A Rock Legend with Thin Lizzy before leaving again, declining an offer to join permanently.
  • In 1978 Gary got a deal to do a solo album, his second after his 1973 album “Grinding Stone” billed as The Gary Moore Band.  At the same time he was recording with Phil on his solo album “Solo in Soho.”

Core Band:

  • Bass – John Mole (tracks: A2, A3, A4)
    • Worked with Colosseum II
  • Bass, Vocals – Phil Lynott (tracks: B1, B2, B3, B4)
  • Drums – Brian Downey (tracks: B1, B2, B3, B4)
  • Simon Phillips (tracks: A1, A2, A3, A4)
    • Tsangarides: “Gary asked me if I knew any drummers so I got Simon Phillilps in, who was only a young kid at the time, but who I had worked with on a Jack Bruce album, and we did the bulk of the album in a week, all jazz instrumentals. Then Gary came in with this ghetto blaster and played me a song done with a drum machine, keyboards and a guitar solo. ‘What do you think of this?’”
    • The track he played was “Parisienne Walkways,” and he said Phil and Brian were coming to the studio to record it.
  • Guitar, Vocals – Gary Moore
  • Keyboards, Organ, Piano – Don Airey (tracks: A1, A2 A3, A4)



Album Art & Booklet Review

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Album Tracks:

All songs written by Gary Moore except where noted.

Side One:

  1. Back on the Streets (Moore)
  2. Don’t Believe a Word (Lynott)
    • Drums – Brian Downey
    • Lead Vocals, Bass – Phil Lynott
    • Lead Vocals, Guitar – Gary Moore
    • Written-By – Lynott*
    • This song was a bit of an issue in Thin Lizzy. It was originally a 12-bar blues song and Brian Downey and Robertson did not like it and added a bit more to the song.  On this version it is simplified and Chris said in Sound on Sound, “I loved the simplicity and emptiness of it . . . it was a sort of Peter Green/Santana “Black Magic Woman”-type vibe.”
  3. Fanatical Fascists (Lynott)
  4. Flight of the Snow Moose (Instrumental) (Moore)

Side Two:

  1. Hurricane (Instrumental) (Moore)
  2. Song for Donna (Moore)
    • Bass – John Mole
    • Drums – Simon Phillips
    • Keyboards – Don Airey
    • Lead Vocals, Guitar – Gary Moore
    • Written-By – Campbell*, Moore*
    • Donna Campbell was Gary Moore’s girlfriend of about five years. Also romantically linked to Mick Jagger. Jimmy Phantom of the Stray Cats, and even pre-Sharon Ozzy Osbourne. Was even once paid £1,000 to give a lap dance to Sylvester Stallone.
    • https://www.bridgwatermercury.co.uk/news/10638845.former-bridgwater-girl-was-model-muse-and-partied-with-mick-jagger-now-she-turns-60/
    • During the mixing of the track Tsangarides said he was at the desk and Ozzy Osbourne walked in with Bill Ward and Geezer Butler.  They were really interested in the track and asked him to play parts back to him.  He said Bill Ward then threw up in the garbage can and Ozzy pulled his pants down and chasing the tape op, Vic, around the room then ran straight into a wall. He went off to the hospital and Tony Iommi called asking what they’d done to Ozzy.  Apparently Ozzy had done so much cocaine that he couldn’t feel anything. He ended up showing back up at the studio later and while Tsangarides was trying to mix the song Ozzy tapped him on the shoulder and when Chris looked over Ozzy’s dick was on it. Tsangarides said that this was a “famous Ozzy trick.”
  3. What Would You Rather Bee or a Wasp (Instrumental) (Moore)
  4. Parisienne Walkways (Lynott, Moore)
    • Double Bass, Bass, Lead Vocals – Phil Lynott
    • Drums – Brian Downey
    • Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Mandolin, Accordion, Backing Vocals – Gary Moore
    • Written-By – Lynott*
    • This song had been something Don Airey and Moore had worked on in Colosseum II called “Biscayne Blues” which had been based on a Kenny Dorham song called “Blue Bossa.” a bossa nova style song.
    • The song had been intended to be an instrumental.
    • Tsangarides brought the demo of this to Phil’s house to play for him. Phil said it sounded “really French” and then began writing lyrics to it.
    • The opening line is “I remember Paris in ‘49.” Phil’s father’s name was Parris and Phil was born in 1949.
    • The whole track was recorded live in just a few takes. There was no click track and Gary played the solo in perfect time.  Phil overdubbed an accordion and the upright bass.Gary played a Solina string synth and a 12-string guitar on this track.

Bustin’ Out The Spreadsheet

Reception and Charts:

  • https://www.45worlds.com/vinyl/album/mcf2853
    • kimbozw
      • For what the information may be worth, it charted in the UK on 03 Feb 1979 for one week at the princely position of No. 70. His highest album charter was the No. 4 peaked AFTER HOURS from 1992. This is according to the Virgin Books issued HIT ALBUMS covering the period 1956 to 2008 which I acquired on 13 June 2011 on a visit to London Town. The book cost me 6 quid which was a promotional price reduced from the previously priced 16 quid.
    • MicSmith
      • Although this album is given a 1978 release date I believe it was released in January 1979, with the Back in the Streets single (a faded version of the album track) issued in December 1978.
      • The single was originally to appear in October 1978 as per its listing on the 45cat page but I believe it was delayed until the December release.(See Martin C. Strong The Great Rock Discography).
      • I was a big GM fan at this point and was eagerly awaiting the appearance of this record after the dissolution of Colosseum II and my strong recollection of knowing about the release of the album was seeing Gary and his Thin Lizzy friends appear on OGWT early in 1979. My brother bought the album on the back of this appearance and I taped it from his vinyl shortly after but before Parisienne Walkways was issued as a single. Also full page adverts for the album didn’t start to appear in the UK music papers until January 1979 another indication that it appeared that month.
    • Tsangarides says of the album: “It was a strange album . . . Colosseum II, Thin Lizzy and a bit of punk coming in because Paul Cook and Steve Jones shipped up and we did a few songs with them, which never came out.”


  • https://www.allmusic.com/album/back-on-the-streets-mw0000654670
    • Back on the Streets Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
    • 1979 was a busy year for Irish guitarist Gary Moore, who after years of seemingly aimless wandering across the musical landscape (including a flirtation with jazz-rock fusion while fronting G-Force) simultaneously re-launched his long-dormant solo career and became a full-time member of Thin Lizzy. Moore had originally agreed to help his old partner in crime Phil Lynott only temporarily, while longtime Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson recovered from a broken hand incurred in a barroom brawl. But due to Robbo’s increasing unreliability, Moore was persuaded to stay on and record Lizzy’s Black Rose album in exchange for Lynott‘s help in shaping his own solo effort, Back on the Streets. And a good trade it was, too, as with the exception of the title track’s gutsy hard rock, Lynott‘s singing and songwriting contributions wound up providing the album with its most coherent and satisfying moments. These included the highly amusing “Fanatical Fascists,” a mellow reworking of Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe a Word,” a whimsical acoustic ballad called “Spanish Guitar,” and the simply exquisite Moore tour de force “Parisienne Walkways.” Unfortunately, these are rudely interrupted by a number of misplaced instrumental fusion workouts (no doubt G-Force leftovers) and a terribly saccharine ballad called “Song for Donna.” Half winner, half dud, the album would at least serve notice of Moore’s rebirth as a solo artist, and he would show marked improvement on his next album, Corridors of Power.

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