Saturday, March 20, 2010

Erin Go Bragh: The Green Blues Edition

Despite his oh-so-appropriate last name, Peter Green is not from the Emerald Isle. But a couple of Irish covers seem appropriate this week.

Rory Gallagher: Leaving Town Blues


Irish blues guitarist Rory Gallagher died well before his time in 1995. He sold millions of albums, but remains relatively unknown in the U.S. Like many guitarists from the British Isles who learned their craft in the late '60s, Gallagher was influenced by Fleetwood Mac founder (and Eric Clapton's replacement in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers) Peter Green.

Not long before Gallagher passed away, he recorded two tracks for Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music of Peter Green, a tribute album (and a benefit album for Wille Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation) that was released in 1997. "Leaving Town Blues" is my favorite of the two. His singing is rough but right, and his playing (on mandolin and slide guitar) is magificent.

Gary Moore: The Supernatural


Two years prior to the release of Rattlesnake Guitar, Irish blues/rock guitarist Gary Moore released his own album of Peter Green covers, Blues for Greeny. Like Gallagher, he fell under Green's spell in the late '60s. Moore spent much of the '70s and '80s playing hard rock (including a couple of stints with Irish rockers Thin Lizzy), but in the '90s, Moore returned to the blues and has since released a string of successful albums in the genre.

For Blues for Greeny, he played Green's legendary Gibson Les Paul, and with it faithfully covered ten clasics from the early days of Fleetwood Mac, plus "The Supernatural", Green's instrumental showpiece from his days with the Bluesbreakers.

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