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THIN LIZZY Reissues Universal (2011)

Thin Lizzy

Universal continue their excellent reissue campaign for Thin Lizzy - and these three wonderful albums well timed too with the recent live performances and upcoming tour.

1977's Bad Reputation was the last studio album to feature guitarist Brian Robertson, and even then he only appeared on couple of tracks. Robertson had a hand injury, which restricted playing, although he was able to return for the part of the tour that was recorded for the Live And Dangerous set.

So largely recorded as a three piece, with Scott Gorham handling most of the guitar (the front cover depicted the three piece line-up), the album is generally more consistent and a touch harder than the predecessor Johnny The Fox. From the opener 'Soldier Of Fortune' to the live favourite title track, this is Thin Lizzy on Top form. Vocalist / bassist Phil Lynott not only performs well but writes some very personal songs. In the face of punk, the album did very well and rightly so, as did the single 'Dancing In The Moonlight'. This is classic hard rock from the Belfast band. Bonus tracks include five BBC sessions. ****

Featuring Gary Moore for the third time, and long enough to record an album this time, 1979's Black Rose is widely considered as Thin Lizzy's best studio album. If you don't believe me, you've not heard the album. Gorham and Moore were a fine pair of lead guitarists and work so well here. Opener 'Do Anything you Want To' is just sublime, and 'Waiting For An Alibi' was rightfully a hit and still a live favourite. 'Roisin Dubh (Black Rose) - A Rock Legend', running at over seven minutes, closes the album and is not just a highlight for Thin Lizzy, but for hard rock. With the band's Celtic roots to the fore and balancing the hard rock, it's a well balanced album. A second disc of outtakes and sessions make a for a superb collection. *****

Lastly here, is 1980's Chinatown, which saw the band unofficially expanded to a five piece. The album, while featuring some great material, is generally weaker and less consistent than previous efforts. Replacing Gary Moore was guitarist Snowy White, and the band were bolstered pianist Darren Wharton. The title track is a standout and 'Killer On The Loose' is still in the live set. Losing both Moore and producer Visconti made for a rock album that had some memorable highlights but some filler material too. Again a second disc of edits, soundchecks and live versions bolster well. ***½

All three albums come with extended and informative sleevenotes, very well presented.

Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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