15 January 2012

Review: Thin Lizzy - Live at the BBC

Thin Lizzy was founded in late 1969 when guitarist Eric Bell and organist Eric Wrixon went to see the band Orphanage, which featured vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey. They formed with Lynott taking on bass as well as singing. Eric Wrixon left shortly after.

The band put out several records that charted in their homeland of Ireland, but failed to do much outside of their own country. At the time the band was playing Celtic music infused with spatterings of Hard Rock.

In 1973 Thin Lizzy made it to number 6 on the UK charts with their version of a Celtic folk song “Whiskey in the Jar”.

The following album failed to chart and Eric Bell left the band. After playing with a few temporay replacements including Gary Moore, the band settled on 18 year old Scottish guitarist Brian Robertson, and Californian Scott Gorham. In 1976 this lineup of the band recorded the album Jailbreak which contained the tracks “Jailbreak” and “The Boys are Back in Town”.

The band went through several changes from 1978 – 1983 when the band finally broke up. Phil Lynott focused on his solo career. In 1986 there were whispers of getting the band back together, but Lynott died that year at the age of 36.

Universal released a 2 CD and 6 CD version of Live at the BBC, which cover the different eras of Thin Lizzy and the BBC. The Live at the BBC 2 CD set is like a greatest hits of the 6 CD box set.

Disc one contains material from 1971-1974 which gives you a great feel for what the band was like in its original form. Songs like “Showdown” and “Slow Blues” showcase some great bluesy guitar solos. “Suicide” shows off some great slide guitar playing. Lynott’s ability to sing gruff vocals on songs like “The Rocker” and then sing equally as well on a quiet song like, “Randolph’s Tango” is proof of his amazing versatility.

Disc two covers 1974-1983. This CD covers more of the hit songs from the band. It has songs like “The Boys are Back in Town” with their signature sound of two guitars playing leads in harmony and “Jailbreak” among others.

I was also impressed to find a Reggae song, “Half Castle” and more of a Jazz sound on the song, “Dancing in the Moonlight” in this collection. They save the best for last with the final track being “The Boys are Back in Town” from a concert in 1983 at the Regal Theatre.

It’s a shame that Lynott didn’t get to see his music on the big screen in Toy Story. Or the new generation of fans that are discovering Thin Lizzy’s music now. I still hear a few Thin Lizzy songs regularly on the radio and there are still incarnations of the band that still tour, but without Lynott it just doesn’t seem like Thin Lizzy.

I probably wouldn’t suggest this collection as your first introduction to Thin Lizzy, but for fans of the band these CDs are a goldmine. I also think Universal should get a pat on the back for making Live at the BBC available as a 2 CD or 6 CD collections.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Whiskey in the Jar, Jailbreak, The Boys are Back in Town

Kirk Bullough


Disc 1:

1. Look What The Wind Just Blew In

2. Whiskey In The Jar

3. Saga Of The Ageing Orphan

4. Things Ain't Working Out Down At The Farm

5. Suicide

6. Vagabond Of The Western World

7. Gonna Creep Up On You

8. Randolph’s Tango

9. Slow Blues

10. The Rocker

11. Little Girl In Bloom

12. Showdown

13. Little Darling

14. Black Boys On The Corner

15. Sitamoia

16. It's Only Money


Disc 2:

1. She Knows

2. Sha La La

3. Philomena

4. Still In Love With You

5. Baby Drives Me Crazy

6. Rosalie

7. Half Caste

8. Jailbreak

9. Cowboy Song

10. Don't Believe A Word

11. Johnny

12. Bad Reputation

13. Dancing In The Moonlight 

14. Renegade

15. Killer On The Loose

16. Cold Sweat

17. The Boys Are Back In Town

Artists: Thin Lizzy
Title: Live at the BBC [Import]
Genre: Classic Rock
Label: Universal UK
Website: http://www.thinlizzy.org/

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