Review Summary: Gary Moore helped make 1987 another great year for rock!
After the unfortunate and unexpected death of Gary Moore, many (including myself) started rediscovering his music. Whether it's his blues albums or his hard rock albums, Gary Moore had released many great albums during his near 40-year solo career. But by far "Wild Frontier" was the highlight of his hard rock -career.
Released in 1987, "Wild Frontier" was another great addition to all the great albums released that year. With Guns N' Roses
' "Appetite for Destruction", Whitesnake
's "1987" and Def Leppard
's "Hysteria", "Wild Frontier" was in good company.
The albums sound was different than most rock albums at the time, but still had a typical 80's rock-style to it. The album adopted Celtic elements from Gary Moore's homeland of Northern Ireland, and was dedicated to Moore's childhood friend, Thin Lizzy
frontman Phil Lynott, who passed away the earlier year.
The album opens up with the epic "Over the Hills and Far Away", which right away shows the Celtic influences of the album. The song also includes some of Moore's most memorable lyrics.
"They came for him one winter's night.
Arrested, he was bound.
They said there'd been a robbery,
his pistol had been found."
The lyrics tell a story of a man who is wrongly accused of robbery. He won't reveal that he spent the night of the robbery with his best friends wife, so he is sentenced to ten years in prison. A true classic.
The album continues with the title track (which Lynott was originally supposed to sing) and "Take a Little Time", both of which are great rockers, with catchy choruses and magnificent hooks. But the next real showstopper comes with the following track. "The Loner" is a moody and emotional instrumental, which just might be one of the greatest instrumentals of all time. The song is dripping with emotion and feels like somewhat of a precursor to Gary Moore's later blues material.
Following "The Loner", we get the albums only real misstep; a cover of the 1967-hit "Friday on my Mind" by the Australian band The Easybeats
. The song is by no means bad, but it feels very unneccesary being on an album where the original material is so strong. I'm pretty sure that recording a cover for the album was more the record company's idea than Gary Moore's.
After "Friday on My Mind", we get "Strangers in the Darkness" and "Thunder Rising", both of which are very catchy. "Strangers" slows things down a bit, before the album kicks into "Thunder Rising", which is probably the heaviest track on the album.
The original album ends with the emotional ballad "Johnny Boy", which once again shows the Celtic influences of the album with soothing keyboards and bagpipes.
The CD-version also included the alternate versions of "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "Wild Frontier", as well as an extra track, titled "Crying in the Shadows", which fits quite well into the albums overall sound, and could have easily taken the place of "Friday on My Mind".
Overall the album is catchy, emotional and extremely good. While it may not be the greatest album from an artistic point of a view, it's an album that Moore could have easily been proud of. R.I.P. Gary Moore.
*"Over the Hills and Far Away"