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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Thin Lizzy - 1980 Chinatown
Thin Lizzy - 1980 Chinatown

ARTIST: Thin Lizzy
ALBUM: Chinatown
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 6359 030
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1998, Vertigo, 830 393-2 * 2011, Universal, 2772696


LINEUP: Phil Lynott - vocals, bass * Scott Gorham - guitars, backing vocals * Snowy White - guitars, backing vocals * Brian Downey - drums, percussion

Guests: Darren Wharton - keyboards, backing vocals * Midge Ure - keyboards, vox organ * Tim Hinkley - electric piano

TRACK LISTING: 01 We Will Be Strong * 02 Chinatown * 03 Sweetheart * 04 Sugar Blues * 05 Killer On The Loose * 06 Having A Good Time * 07 Genocide * 08 Didn't I * 09 Hey You


Thin Lizzy's previous album to this - 'Black Rose' was one of favourite albums from 1979. I recall constantly playing that album during my high school years, actively mixing it up with my Starcastle, Kansas, Styx, REO, New England and Van Halen LP's. Blessed with the guitar pairing of Scott Gorham and Gary Moore, this lineup would last the distance for just the one album; Gary Moore being asked to leave the band for a number of indiscretions. He departed for the USA and created the hot new band G-Force, signed to Don Arden's Jet label. In the meantime, Lizzy regrouped for an assault on 1980, and bought in new guitarist Snowy (Terrence) White. Not as outrageous in style as Moore, still White bought some consumate class to the band with his cool hand luke guitar style, appearing for the first time on 'Chinatown'. White's prior gig to Lizzy was Pink Floyd, where he formed part of the live touring entourage. Gorham saw him playing live in New York and popped the question about joining Lizzy, as a result, White's playing schedule got a whole lot more complicated! This album got a lot of publicity, and if Lynott and the Lizzy boys needed any reminding, it was that the 80's was all about commercialism and getting your songs into the charts so that everyone could make a buck.

The Songs
There are a couple of immediate standout tracks for me. The title track 'Chinatown' is an impressive piece, with that chugging Pat Travers like riff claiming top spot, while Brian Downey's drum fills are also top notch. 'Killer On The Loose' was the single from the LP, and did well in the charts. 'Sweetheart' is catchy too, the guitar rhythms sounding harmonized and slightly synthesized. The lead off track 'We Will Be Strong' shouldn't be forgotten either; containing that familiar Irish vibe the band is famous for. Probably the most interesting song here is 'Genocide (Killing Of The Buffalo)', surely one for all supporters of animal rights and native American Indians. 'Didn't I' is the rather spacious ballad on the album while 'Hey You' is an average rocker which finishes up the album.

In Summary
'Chinatown' did reasonably well on the UK charts, the album making it to #7 while the single 'Killer On The Loose' made it to #10 in the singles charts. A pretty good effort considering.. Four singles were released from the album, and 2011's Universal 2CD reissue features a second disc of unreleased material from this period, including B-sides and live performances during 1980. Snowy White would remain with the band for 1981's 'Renegade', while guest keyboardist on this album Darren Wharton would join Lizzy fulltime for the 'Renegade' LP too.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on April 28 2013 15:18:23
Probably the first Thin Lizzy album I actually took any notice of, mainly because of 'Chinatown' and 'Killer On The Loose'. I remember the latter playing at a school 6th Form 'Disco' and my mates and I 'performing' an entertaining mime version of it, wooden guitars and all!
#2 | sabace on May 01 2013 13:31:18
would'nt be my fave lizzy lp - but I like it!
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