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Thin Lizzy - 1971 Thin Lizzy

ARTIST: Thin Lizzy
ALBUM: Thin Lizzy
LABEL: Decca
YEAR: 1971
CD REISSUE: 2010, Universal, 984 447-7


LINEUP: Philip Lynott - vocals, bass, acoustic guitar * Eric Bell - lead guitar, 12 string guitar * Brian Downey - drums, percussion

Additional Musician: Ivor Raymonde - mellotron

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle * 02 Honesty Is No Excuse * 03 Diddy Levine * 04 Ray-Gun * 05 Look What The Wind Blew In * 06 Eire * 07 Return Of The Farmer's Son * 08 Clifton Grange Hotel * 09 Saga Of The Ageing Orphan * 10 Remembering (Part One)


The Thin Lizzy story is common knowledge among seasoned rock fans and is arguably the greatest band to come out of Ireland with Rory Gallagher, Horslips and personal favourite progressive rockers Fruupp following close behind. And while U2 were vastly more successful, not to mention exceedingly annoying, there's no denying the influence Lizzy had and still has on hard rock and metal scenes and deservedly so. Signing to the mighty Decca label and relocating to London, the band recorded their debut on a minuscule budget while gigging continuously, sharing cramped stages with the who's who of the early British scene including the Edgar Broughton Band, The Groundhogs, East Of Eden, Stray, Wild Turkey and many others. Problem was, few bought the record and to this day outside of hardcore Thin Lizzy fanatics, it's been woefully ignored.

The Songs
The main reason the LP has been snubbed over the years, there's very little of the heads down hard rock Phil Lynott and company are famous for. Patterned after Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Thin Lizzy was far more introspective and thoughtful than their power trio counterparts with Celtic folk, Blues and 1950's styled rock all vying for position and an issue for Decca who didn't know how to market the band. Lynott's lyrics which have more in common with another Irish great - Van Morrison and even Bruce Springsteen only added to the unfocused nature of the album and are hardly recognizable to his later street savvy, jail breaking prose. 'The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle' sets an unusual acoustic-based moody tone but there's no mistaking Lynott's unique vocal style which is in full bloom throughout. Follow-up 'Honesty Is No Excuse' is the record's purple patch, a soaring ballad with gorgeous Mellotron while 'Look What The Wind Blew In' and 'Clifton Range Hotel' are prototypical Lizzy and shades of things to come with tasty riffing from short-term guitarist Eric Bell.

In Summary
As a dedicated follower of early 70's British Isles rock, I give this record my whole-hearted recommendation, in particular the 2010 reissue which includes the 'New Day' EP and the 1970 Parlophone 'A' side 'The Farmer'. Naturally, hard rocking Thin Lizzy fans will scoff at the album's brooding diversity but from an historical perspective and for those willing to make the effort, it's a rewarding listen.

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#1 | sabace on July 02 2013 19:31:56
excellent review- always liked the early lizzy records
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