Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1987: Gary Moore- Wild Frontier

When I lived in the US, I had heard of Gary Moore, especially from his Thin Lizzy days and knew that he was putting out solo albums but never indulged in them. That all changed when I got to the UK and met a lad from Northern Ireland named Kieran Devlin. We bonded over the likes of Thin Lizzy and Dio and it was he who made my experience of Gary Moore more than just a familiarity. One key contributor to this was Gary’s 1987 album, “Wild Frontier.”

According to history, Gary returned to his native Belfast in 1985 before recording this album. It has been said that his trip gave him the inspiration for it as there is a strong influence of Celtic music on the album. For me, that comes through with the very first track,, “Over the Hills and Far Away.” There is definitely a strong Celtic influence in the song which is about a man who gets wrongly arrested and convicted for robbery but is determined to reunite with his lover once he is free again. However, Gary doesn’t forget his rock roots either and that is certainly evident on the track, “Take a Little Time,” which is a real rocker. What is also cool is that in between the two mentioned tracks, the title track proves to be the perfect bridge between the more Celtic influenced opener and the rocker that is “Take a Little Time.”

Another Gary talent is his guitar playing which shines through on the instrumental, “The Loner.” He simply kicks back and lets the guitar do his talking for him. Five minutes plus of Gary just smoking the fingerboard and it sound brilliant! For me, it’s the best track on the album and because it wasn’t a single, it gets the hidden gem award too. He follows it up with the cover of the Easybeats tune, “Friday on My Mind.” I think the reason this track was released as a single was that there are 1980s sounding keyboards and synths on it and that could be an attempt to gain a more mass appeal. It did get to 15 in Finland, 18 in Ireland and 26 in the UK, so you can say that it worked. There is a hard rock core to it so let there be no talk that Gary was trying to go synth pop on it because he wasn’t.

Maybe it’s me but “Strangers in the Darkness” begins as if it’s going to be a Billy Idol song and that appears in other places. He has two distinct voice sounds which trade off throughout the song and it works. Gary’s guitar licks might have something to do it. Listening closely, the bass line sounds like it could have been an Idol song as well but nonetheless, the song ends with some great guitar work from Gary. That is followed by a mid tempo rocker, “Thunder Rising.” One might think that a song with such a title would be a rocking burner and it has the potential to be such but Gary keeps it mid tempo for the first half of the song. There is an interesting rhythm guitar riff in the middle and the guitar solo with keyboards accompaniment is done well and then it is let off the leash and it’s rightful rocking sound takes over the second half of the song. Then “Wild Frontier” closes out with a Celtic ballad, “Johnny Boy.” After the hard rocking end of the penultimate track, it does slow things down and provides a good end to the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Over the Hills and Far Away
  2. Wild Frontier
  3. Take a Little Time
  4. The Loner
  5. Friday on My Mind
  6. Strangers in the Darkness
  7. Thunder Rising
  8. Johnny Boy

The CD version of “Wild Frontier” has three additional tracks: 12 inch versions of “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Wild Frontier” plus the track “Crying in the Shadows”

Gary Moore

Gary Moore- lead and backing vocals, all guitars

Neil Carter- keyboards, backing vocals

Bob Daisley- bass

Roland Kerridge- drum programming

Piece of metal history: Eric Singer, who would later play for Black Sabbath and KISS, was Gary’s drummer for the tour.

From what I see, “Wild Frontier” only made it to #139 in the US album charts. Therefore, I was glad I was in the UK at the time this album came out, otherwise I might have missed it. I must also thank Kieron for giving me further experience into Gary Moore. I returned the favour by introducing him to the Killer Dwarfs.

DTP takes the stage, Download 2017

More useless information: A further reason I regret missing Bloodstock 21 was Devin Townsend headlined on the Friday night. According to sources, because of the Covid restrictions, Devin flew to the UK a month or so prior to Bloodstock so he could get quarantine over. Then, instead of bringing his band over and having them go through all of that, he simply hired and trained British musicians to play with him on the day. Further proof that Devin is a class act!

Next post: Tesla- Mechanical Resonance

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13 Responses to “Great Rock/Metal Albums of 1987: Gary Moore- Wild Frontier”

  1. I really wanted to go to Bloodstock, almost bought tickets, but I chickened out, too afraid of the pandemic. The review of Kreator, Priest and ‘Goblin on the Thats Not Metal podcast made me absolutely drip with jealousy though. Kind of wish I’d just gone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also would have loved to see Kreator headline on the Saturday as well as Goblin. More reasons to regret not going.


      • Yeah. Kreator played manchester like 3 christmases in a row when I lived there and it was always when I couldnt go. Then they were about to play bristol now I live near there, and it was cancelled due to covid.
        I’d love to see them headlining. Adored them at that Download we were both at, but as good as that was, it wasnt enough.

        Liked by 1 person

    • True, Kreator only played half an hour, I would have loved to see more of them. I was especially impressed by what a good frontman Mille Petrozza is.


  2. This is a good guitar playing album. So underrated. In Australia it was a success because of the cover song.

    And spot on about Devin Townsend

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool Eric Singer fact…who hasn’t that guy played with?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My mates and I all really loved Gary Moore’s 80’s albums, I find the production really dated on them now though, it really takes away form the quality of the playing and writing a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You can never go wrong with Mr. Moore.

    Liked by 1 person

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