Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Some think the only essential Thin Lizzy album is Live and Dangerous from 1978. Agreed in a way but . . . only three quarters of a brilliant live album, as we shall see.
This six CD box starts from when they began to get interesting with their fourth album Nightlife of '74 (which followed their successful single Whiskey in the Jar) and leads up to that sort-of-live album . . . which had other audience noise mixed in later and enjoyed more post-production edits than fans might like to think.
Which is why Live and Dangerous hasn't ever made as an Essential Elsewhere album -- despite the thrashing it gets late at night to the irritation of neighbours.
But no matter 'bout that.
In this budget-priced box you can hear the band's developing confidence and songcraft on the Lizzy lead-up albums (Nightlife, Fighting, Jailbreak, Johnny the Fox, Bad Reputation).
They are punctuated by thrilling songs (Rosalie, Suicide on Fighting; The Boys are Back in Town on Jailbreak etc) and Phil Lynott's romantic side (the title track, Still in Love With You and Philomena to his mum on Nightlife; Wild One on Fighting).
For all the denim, leather and tough posing (Johnny the Fox, Bad Reputation), Lynott was a sentimentalist and a bit of a softie (Old Flame, Sweet Marie). And the twin guitars of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson could punch hard or play sweet'n'low (Spirit Slips Away on Fighting).
Or swing on Dancing in the Moonlight.
Of course it is some times stupid: "Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town . . ." Ummm, from the jail, maybe?
But, there is rock and romance aplenty here along with sentiment, silliness, romance and rock-out.
The final album here, the evocative Black Rose, came after that live set and was their last hurrah because of line-up changes, Lynott's solo stuff and heroin taking hold.
Phil Lynott – who died in 1986, aged 36 -- was an Irish poet, romantic and street-scrapper in one, and these albums spotlight all that. Fated at birth by history or family as so many gifted Irish are, perhaps?
But Phil and the boys are back in town, right here.
Probably . . . . essential?