Rob “Wild Boar” Moore – I Used To Be Wild
CD: 10 Songs, 51 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Ensemble Blues
If you could take a drink from the fountain of youth, would you? I’d have much more energy and be at my almost-mythical high school weight if I did. On the other hand, growing older has its upsides: wisdom, nephews and naps. I Used To Be Wild, like Chicago blues guitarist Rob “Wild Boar” Moore. Now we’ve both mellowed out, but one thing’s for sure: we still love the blues. On his latest CD, Moore offers nine original songs and one cover (“I Need You So Bad” by B.B. King). His vocals are well-seasoned by age, experience, and adult refreshments. He converses his way through the album rather than belting it out. This adds a candid, casual atmosphere, as if Rob were right there in your living room, telling it like it is about his current life situation. What his singing lacks in wildness, his smoking lead guitar provides in spades.
Who inspired Moore the most? States Bill Dahl in the liner notes, “While attending high school in the Windy City’s southern suburbs in 1971, Moore gravitated to Alice’s Revisited, a North Side venue presenting a steady blues diet. Rob quickly became entranced with the slashing licks of southpaw guitarist Otis Rush. ‘I started going every month to see Otis,’ he says. ‘I wanted to sound like Otis.’ Moore met Muddy Waters at Muddy’s South Side home that December. ‘He pulled out a guitar,’ said Moore. ‘So I started playing it. He said, ‘I’ll let you sit in!’
Accompanying Rob (lead guitar and vocals) are Vince Salerno on sizzling tenor and baritone saxophones as well as harmonica; Tom Linsk on keyboards, Ron Haynes on trumpet, Thomas Klein on rhythm and slide guitars, Heather Tackett on bass, “Legendary” Merle Perkins on drums, and the Boarettes – Ary Paloma, Amy Lowe, and Christine Wilson on background vox.
In my humble opinion, Moore’s sense of humor is his greatest asset. Several of the songs have tongue-in-cheek titles such as “Forty-Nine Years Between Kisses,” “Medicare Baby,” and a romping, stomping ode to COVID called “Six Feet Apart.” “I used to be wild,” he also says in the opening number. “Now I’m just a boar. I used to act kind of crazy, but I don’t do that stuff no more.” You’ll have to listen closely for more funny lyrics, but he and his colleagues have still dead-serious prowess as blues musicians. You might snicker as the backup singer Boarettes croon “Medicare Baby” a la the Supremes – especially if you’re on it. They make Medicare sound like bubblegum-flavored ice cream with a cherry on top. These three ladies turn life-or-death travails into laughing matters, and that’s a welcome change of pace.
Rob moved to Miami at the end of 1986. Now, in 2022, he’s back in his old Windy City haunts. That’s why this release may be brand-new, but it’s a clear homage to his old life and old ways. I Used To Be Wild, he says. So did I, but you know what? We both know the blues IS the fountain of youth.