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Thin Lizzy – Renegade

Mike gave me this bloody brilliant record in our annual Stuff Exchange during our trip to Taranna a while back.

It’s a little weird to type this, given the song title, but Angel Of Death has a jazzy, trippy organ part… and becomes a huge rock song! Yes! Renegade is a challenging, beautiful listen. It’s almost Lou Reed-ish. The Pressure Will Blow is pure Lizzy awesome, and Leave This Town is an absolutely smokin’ Lizzy rocker WHEW! We’re already on fire over here, and not even halfway through!

Hollywood (Down On Your Luck) is a fun New York vs London tune, No One Told Him is yet another great Lizzy rocker (pun intended). These guys are masters! I loved all of Fats, that jazzy rock with piano! Mexican Blood is the only track that didn’t quite work for me. It’s a decent tune, but there are too many usages of the word ‘Mexican.’ I mean, I get it, right? And last but not least comes It’s Getting Dangerous, which is a decent Lizzy rock tune and a cool way to end this short blast of amazing.

I really, really, really, really loved this CD. Thanks heaps, Mike!

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Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation

Scott The Scot, our ever-awesome HMO (long may he benevolently reign) sent me this album. I’ve been having a smashing good time going back through all of this Thin Lizzy stuff (see other reviews). I’ve been missing out on these guys for years!

Soldier Of Fortune is a powerful tune, I really liked it, but I think it has an odd album placement. I’m not sure how I feel about having it right up front like that. On the one hand, it’s one helluva opening statement. On the other hand, it’s the kind of track that would absolutely kill if it were lower down in the track list…

The title track, of course, is one you’ll all know. And I think it should have been track 1. Now this would be a fine how do you do! What a riff. Just a monster track all around, and those solos… damn. Definitely a Hits disc song.

Opium Trail is another rocker, and another one with heavy subject matter in the lyrics. I get the feeling that this one will grow on me more and more in subsequent listens, too. Southbound is a simple rock song that is still instantly recognized as Thin Lizzy. The chorus is, well, it’s a little lazy. Is that the right word? Ha. Oh well, the whole song is laid back a bit, so it’s all good.

Dancing In The Moonlight struck me as ‘whoa, they’re covering Van Morrison!’ and then I read the liner notes and I was mostly right, claiming it’s more of an homage to their countryman. It’s a sweet, bouncy riff with saxophone interjections… It’s all here. Now, does it work as a Thin Lizzy song? Of course it does, and why not?

Man, this band has written some great rock riffs… Killer Without A Cause sounds so heavy awesome at high volume, just perfect. 

*And here is where I would have inserted Soldier Of Fortune, in the track list. I’d keep the running otherwise the same, but I think that song should go here.

Downtown Sundown is a jazzier, slower song. Maybe not a classic in terms of hits, but still a decent tune. That Woman Is Gonna Break Your Heart has a huge drum sound. It’s an odd track, it wants to rock but it feels held back by its chosen tempo. I can totally imagine this one heavier, and a lot faster. Still, I love the instrumental bit with the phenomenal guitar solo, short as it is.

And finally, Dear Lord has an epic rock track’s intro and outro, yet the meat in the middle is pure Thin Lizzy classic rock magic. It’s an interesting approach, an odd sort of sandwich of a song.

In sum: I liked most of this record a whole bunch. Of course, they never consulted me about the track order. I’ve no idea why not, I was three years old when this record was released, they could totally have called… A couple of the tracks will need more listens. I’m sure there are hidden depths I missed this time, dazzled as I was by the big rawk riffs in the surefire tunes. It’s all good. I will be back to this one again.

Muchos gracias, Scott! I have truly enjoyed my trip through Lizzyland!

Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak

Scott, our Heavy Metal Overlord, awesomely sent me this absolute gem of a record. You all own this, have heard it, or at least know of it and a couple of the songs here. It’s THAT record.

Jailbreak is a total classic track. And what an album opener, too! It’s that rawk smack in the face that says ‘hey! wake up! Thin Lizzy is here!’ So great. Angel From The West Coast is another great track. Those guitars are completely superb, and I love the instrumental bit in the middle. This oughta be a greatest hit! Running Back is not about football, as it turns out. It’s a funny little tune, with a riff so simple and yet still cool. A very sunny song, it just sounds happy.

Romeo And The Lonely Girl sound to me like Thin Lizzy doing a cover of a 70s Bruce Springsteen song. And that’s not a bad thing, it just totally does. Cool tune, and love that guitar solo. Warriors is yet another great rock song (these guys were masters at it!). The riff here is a monster. And then we have The Boys Are Back In Town. I do not need to tell anyone anything about this song, surely. One thing I did notice, though, was the vocal separation between left and right speakers on the chorus part. Fun! Total classic tune. 

Fight Or Fail is an interesting track. I love how their slower, gentler song on the record still has a guitar part that sounds like it could rip a chunk out of you at any moment… when it’s not playing pretty, that is. Almost jazzy! Fascinating. Cowboy Song is one I know already, likely because of Scott and Mike talking about Thin Lizzy frequently. You know, the more I listen to this band, the more I know they have a sound that is all their own. It’s in the delivery and the chord changes. Cowboy Song is pure Thin Lizzy, a cool rock song. Outstanding vocals, here.

And finally it’s Emerald, which may well be my favourite track on the record. The whole thing is just huge. What a great tune! The whole band just nails this one. Love it love it love it.

Whew.

In sum? Every track here is all killer, no filler. The record plays like a greatest hits set. My only real complaint is that, at 9 songs, it’s too damn short. Surely there were other good tracks recorded at the time? I totally understand wanting quality over quantity, but I was just nicely grooving along and it was over way too soon. Maybe I’m just greedy. And I can always hit play on track 1 again…

Stellar album from top to bottom.

Thanks heaps, Scott!!

Thin Lizzy – Thunder And Lightning

A long while ago, Mike gave me three of Lizzy’s early albums (Nightlife, Fighting and Live And Dangerous – I’ll be getting to reviewing those too, fear not), and I loved them all. Up til then I had only heard the hits, but those three records made me a fan.  

And now here Scott sent me this CD of Lizzy brilliance, which only further cements my appreciation of this band’s output. This is also, if I’m not mistaken, the album I found for Mike in some special vinyl version when I was in Toronto one time. Is this the one, Mike

The title track just balls out rocks. What a guitar solo! The synthesizer solo is so 80s, though. Haha. I can only imagine how this song would tear the roof off the mothersucker in a live setting. This Is The One keeps the pace high, another great fist-pumper. Is that a cowbell I hear? MORE COWBELL! Another blistering guitar solo too, damn. This is a superb one-two punch of an album intro! 

The Sun Goes Down reins things in with an atmospheric, almost jazzy riff. A very pretty song. Goes on a bit long though, to my taste. Would’ve been a great 3:30 song, not 6:20. Could just be me. Up next is The Holy War, which brings back the full-on guitar rawk. Is it my ears (or my iMac’s little speakers), or does this sound like it was produced/mixed at a different time, or is maybe pasted in from a different period altogether? I dunno, it could just be me. Shhh don’t tell anyone but I’ve been known to be wrong, on occasion. Anyway, the chorus is a little cheesy, but I like the tune in general. 

If you don’t fall in love with the riff of Cold Sweat, you haven’t got a rock and roll bone in your body. It’s a full-on rock-out track with the vocals (maybe) buried a bit in the mix. But the guitar is on full show here. Almost classical, that one bit there… Some Day She’s Going To Hit Back has a long-ish intro before breaking into the most 80’s-soundng track here, so far (this was 1983, after all). For all of the speed and prowess in the playing, this may be a track I’d skip in future, if I was near the controls when it came on.  

Baby Please Don’t Go is not a cover of the classic old song I was expecting. It’s an original, and it bops along with some speed as it tries to glue the sad lyrics with the (comparatively) happy rock music. Weird, though fun! Bad Habits very much reminds me of another song from that period, but I can’t put my finger on what it is. Why am I thinking Lou Reed? Or something silly like Rick Springfield or something. Gah, this is gonna drive me nuts. It’s a good Lizzy song, but all I can hear is the song I can’t quite place… 

And finally it’s Heart Attack, always a happy song title for an album closer. It’s yet another straight-ahead rocker which sounds very of its time. Less so than Some Day She’s Going To Hit Back, but it’s apparent here too. The repeated lyrics are an interesting device. Change the drums behind it to a gallop and speed it up a bit, those guitar solos could be Iron Maiden. Interesting. 

All in all? A really, really, really good Thin Lizzy record. It’s hard to go wrong with these guys, I’m finding. There were some cheesier 80s rawk moments here, but it could be a lot worse. Hooboy, a lot worse. At least these guys had the rawk first. Some of the others recording around the same time (who shall remain nameless)… not so much. 

Thanks for this thing of beauty, Scott! It is a worthy addition to my (growing, thanks to you guys) Thin Lizzy collection!

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