Who knows what you might find when you let your iPod choose your songs for you!
The other day I had my iPod on shuffle. I don’t tend to do this as I often find myself wondering who put a whole load of rubbish songs on it when I presumably wasn’t looking (I have more eclectic tastes than I realise apparently), but a Thin Lizzy track came on. I haven’t heard any Thin Lizzy for a while and was surprised by how good it sounded. So I decided that, once a week, I would put the iPod on shuffle. let technology choose and write a short piece and whichever album came up. Starting with…
Then Lizzy – Live & Dangerous
Perhaps the greatest live album of all time, Live & Dangerous cemented Lizzy’s reputation as one of the world’s best live acts, a blend of duelling guitars, storytelling and sensitivity (surprising in a rock band at the time). Already on an upward trajectory, Thin Lizzy had released a run of great singles and were regulars in the charts and on Top of the Pops. The band wanted to make a record with Tony Visconti, after being impressed with his work with David Bowie but finding time was tricky, so it was decided to record a live album.
There has been much debate over how much of the album was recorded live and how much was added later in the studio., a fairly common practice for live albums. Visconti has said that 75% was studio based, only keeping the drums and some audience noise. The band dispute this, claiming that 75% was live with just backing vocals and a few guitar solos added in the studio, to clean them up. Whatever the truth, Live and Dangerous captures Lizzy at their very best, a trick that their studio albums often seemed to miss.
The interplay between the two guitars, Lizzy’s trademark sound, is as tight as can be with Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson surely two of the best rock guitarists around at the time. Robertson left soon after the album was recorded and was replaced on the promotional tour by Gary Moore. The band played two dates at Liverpool Empire in support of the album, with fans queuing around the block for tickets. I was lucky enough to get tickets for both nights, which remain two of the best gigs I have ever attended. The sight of Gary Moore - stage front, lit by a spotlight, playing as if his life depended on it – is forever burned into my memory.
Songs veer from the all-out attack of Jailbreak and Emerald to the slower Southbound and the classic Still in Love with You, captured here in the best version Lizzy released. Lynott was a charismatic frontman as well as being a great story teller, and the album captures him on peak form. He was also a great vocalist, avoiding the high pitched screaming so beloved of rock bands of the time. Thin Lizzy were a unique proposition who managed to cross cultural divides, appealing equally to rockers, punks and pop music lovers.
Lizzy were one of the few bands who managed not to be regarded as outdated when punk came along. Phil Lynott could often be seen at punk gigs and the feeling was seemingly reciprocated as the punks appreciated he power of Lizzy’s music. Members of Thin Lizzy and Sex Pistols even made a one-off record together as The Greedys, making it onto Top of the Pops again. A common occurrence for Lynott, but a first for Steve Jones and Paul Cook.
If you only hear one Thin Lizzy album, I recommend it’s this one. You will not be disappointed.
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