Monday, 12 August 2013

Gary Moore 'Over The Hills And Far Away'

Chart Peak: 20
Charted at No. 37 on 16th December 1986, made No. 20 for two weeks in January 1987.
You can tell it was the 1980s because this was the first of no fewer than five singles from Wild Frontier, an album of only eight tracks. Unlike Genesis, Moore only managed to place three of them in the Top 40, but that's not bad going for a blues-rock singer I suppose. The other dead giveaway as to the song's age comes in the controversial decision to use programmed drums rather than a live musician - something that apparently didn't go down too well with the other people who were playing on the record. Drum machines have their place, to be sure, but Moore's about the last person you'd expect to use them in this context. It doesn't sit too easily with a set of songs that found him rediscovering his Irish roots following the death of Phil Lynott (the album's title song was apparently written for Lynott to sing, but he didn't live to hear it.

'Over The Hills And Far Away' itself is another Moore composition, although it's not especially Celtic in tone. In fact it borrows wholesale the storyline of the country standard 'Long Black Veil' wherein a man is arrested and hanged for a crime he didn't commit because (SPOILER ALERT!) he can't admit that his alibi would be that he was in bed with his best friend's wife. Moore was unquestionably a talented musician, but not a consistently interesting one, and this is the sort of track that prompts more of an approving nod than true excitement.

Also appearing on: Now 5 [with Phil Lynott], 6
Available on:Wild Frontier

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