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Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst, Kent
13 September 2011

Nicky Moore
Photo: Les Lynyard

Its 40 odd years since his recorded debut with the hugely popular club band Hackensack and its nearly the 20th anniversary of his current Blues Corporation outfit, so no better time to catch the former Hackensack, Tiger, Samson, Mammoth front man and sometime Gerry Rafferty and Uli John Roth vocalist Nicky Moore.

It was hugely apt then that he chose this night to introduce us to the latest member of the Moore musical clan, Nick “Junior” Moore on vocals, who duly took his place alongside his ever impressive guitar playing brother Timmy Moore.

And what a chip off the old block Junior proved to be. With the same stature and on stage exuberance, let alone an eerily similar voice to his dad, there was no doubting his parentage.

And by the time Junior had wrapped his tonsils around two of Nicky’s best known songs, ‘Blues Like Bobby Bland’ and ‘300 Pounds of Joy’, plus a funky outing with a chorus about ‘borrowed time’, latecomers could have been forgiven for pinching themselves to make sure Nicky wasn’t already on stage.

But after a well received 5 songs set in which the Moore brothers did themselves proud, up stepped the man of the moment.

Once the irreverent and brusque front man, he may be a little older and a little wiser now, but Nicky still retains his swagger and charisma, holding court with the aid of a walking stick and chair.

But within 5 minutes of counting in the band into a series of bluesy grooves, his was busy whooping, hollering and shouting at the crowd and generally causing the kind of light hearted mayhem that perhaps only Nicky can get away with.

But it’s the undiminished power of his voice and a wonderful phrasing ability that sets him aside from his peers. Here is a singer with real power, feel and presence who understands how to bring the fullest expression to a lyric, that is when he’s not busy humorously berating either of his sons or someone in the crowd who had the temerity to shout for a particular song.

One moment he whispered his lyrics sweetly and the next he soared, holding a note for an impossible length of time before imperceptibly moving back from the mic to let Timmy do his talking on his guitar.

It’s all grist to the mill for a man who has spent his post hard-rock and metal years developing a parallel career as a voice coach. But whereas he used to front some of the loudest and most powerful bands in the land, he’s now a much more intuitive singer who relies on feel, timing and a clever use of diction to bring out the best of his material.

Timmy Moore

Backed by a well drilled band who built up an impressive head of steam via a succession of undulating grooves and stop-time blues, Nicky gave Timmy plenty of space to explore all manner of tones and flowing solos.

This was particularly so on the aptly titled ‘Sea of Blues’, a mellifluous, understated, acoustically kissed outing with a beautifully styled motif from Timmy and a magnificent vocal from Nicky, who effortlessly shifted from a whisper to a growl.

‘Play Dirty’ was a tough rocker with a stuttering intro, as he suddenly stopped the song and shouted to the band; ‘after fucking four I said!’

Introduced as ‘a song I wrote a long time ago but never recorded’ it packed a potent punch, while ‘47 Pontiac’ made the most of a train-time rhythm, a semi acoustic arrangement, a catchy hook and featured some great bv’s from both Junior before some coruscating licks from Timmy.

Then there was a cover of ‘Statesboro Blues' with its faux Status Quo ‘Down The Dustpipe’ intro, which he ultimately transformed into sing-along. There was also time for a cutely re-arranged ‘Shame Shame Shame’ and of course the inevitable ‘Devil On My Shoulder’ closing stomp.

He may be celebrating 42 years on the road but with a voice that can still shatter windows and two musical sons talented enough to push their dad all the way, the Nicky Moore legend looks like continuing for some time to come.

Review by Pete Feenstra

Photos by Timmy Moore/Les Lynyard

Interview: 13 September 2011
© 2011 Pete Feenstra/GRTR! All rights reserved.

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