It is, of course, St Patrick’s Day today, in honour of which today’s musical blog will be dedicated to some good traditional Irish music: the 3-disc box set of Thin Lizzy’s greatest hits. (The third disc is a DVD of live performances which I still haven’t watched, and will play no further part in this review.)
Reviewing such a thing properly would, of course, be largely redundant. If you haven’t at least heard The Boys Are Back In Town, you have actually just arrived on this planet, and should turn on the TV immediately. It’ll be on something or other soon.
The Boys Are Back was the band’s big international break, and almost certainly their best known track, and is a predictable but deserving opener to this collection. (A live version also closes the second disc, just to prove the point.) If you like that tune, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll enjoy the rest of this compilation. That’s not to say that the rest of the tracks are rehashed versions of their best tune – check out, for instance, the more melodic Sarah, about Phil Lynott’s baby daughter.
There are, as well as Thin Lizzy’s finest moments, a smattering of Phil Lynott’s solo tracks and some he recorded with Gary Moore – seriously, the guitar work on Parisienne Walkways, how awesome is it? If I could play guitar, I’d want to play like Gary Moore. Or Dave Davies. Or both. But I can’t, so that’s beside the point.
Also among Lynott’s solo efforts is the slightly odd Yellow Pearl, which I literally just (well, when I bought the CD) discovered was the tune to Top of the Pops during my formative years. I guess that might go some way to explaining why I think the Lizzy are cool. On the other hand, it could be the insightful lyrics (“Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak/ Somewhere in this town” – I’m guessing probably not IKEA?), or the random bits of Irishness (notably Emerald, and Whiskey in the Jar). Or the kickass guitars. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s just great music that stands the test of time and still rocks 30-odd years later. A bit like me really…
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