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Night Life
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 'DELUXE EDITION' VERSION ***

With the lacklustre-sounding CD of this album in the marketplace since 1989 - Lizzy fans will know that only 4 tracks from this criminally-overlooked and long-forgotten 1974 LP have been remastered properly (they're on the 2001 4CD Box Set "Vagabonds, Kings, Warriors, Angels"). Well all that now changes. This new 2012 'Deluxe Edition' is the first time the entire album has been sonically upgraded and now includes relevant bonus material on Disc 2. It's also being released on the same day as a DE version of its 1975 follow-up "Fighting" (see separate review). Here are the finite details...

UK released Monday 12 March 2012 (1 May 2012 in the USA) on Mercury 2792226 - the DELUXE EDITION of "Nightlife" breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (37:40 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Nightlife" released 8 November 1974 in the UK on Vertigo 6360 116 and on Vertigo VEL-2002 in the USA (later on Mercury SRM-1-1107)

Disc 2 - Bonus Tracks (46:21 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 6 are "She Knows", "Sha-La-La", "It's Only Money", "Philomena", "Dear Heart" and "Banshee" - six live 'BBC Sessions' - 1 to 4 were recorded 3 October 1974 with 5 and 6 done on 23 October 1974
Tracks 7, 8 and 9 are "Showdown", "Still In Love With You" and "It's Only Money" - all are 'Demo With Gary Moore'
Track 10 is "Showdown (Alternate Take)"
Track 11 is "Still In Love With You (Rough Vocal Mix)" [features Frankie Miller]

As with "Fighting" - there's no wrap-around plastic on these new Deluxe Editions (miss them actually) and it's nicely laid out. The 12-page booklet has liner notes by MALCOME DOME which features interviews with guitarist Brian Robertson and drummer and founder member Brian Downey. The collage photos that pepper the text are a mixture of trade adverts, concert posters, a New Spotlight Magazine cover and rough drafts of Jim Fitzpatrick's iconic album artwork. At two pages shorter than the "Fighting" booklet - it's hardly pushing the boat out in terms of content - but the real fireworks come in the 2011 remaster by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM - which is absolutely superb.

The opening track "She Knows" is not one of the four remasters available previously - so fans will immediately be blown away by its clarity here. It's also a very accomplished recording - the fastidious RON NEVISON and his original production values coming to the fore now. It continues with the slinky barroom shuffle of "Night Life" (the words are seperated for the song title) where the string arrangements by JIMMY HORROWITZ are particularly lovely and just the right distance into the back of the mix. Great stuff. We then get the album's first out-and-out rocker - the brilliant "It's Only Money" - a typical Lynott winner that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. It's followed by the record's big hitter - the aching blues of "Still In Love With You". Featuring guest duet vocals with FRANKIE MILLER and Lead Guitar by GARY MOORE - it would of course be completely trounced by the Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham live version on 1978's legendary double-album "Live And Dangerous". Still - it's nice to hear this more subdued studio original get decent sound at last (lyrics above). Side 1 ends with the family morality tale of "Frankie Carroll" which features keyboards by JEAN RUSSELL and sounds like a throwback to a "Vagabonds Of The Western World" story-song. And again the string arrangements on it are beautifully done.

"Showdown" is a brilliant Side 2 opener and I love the huge melodies and production on the instrumental "Banshee" that follows it - both sound fantastic. Next up is the only UK 7" single issued off the album - "Philomena" b/w "Sha-La-La". A song about his Lynott's mum - "Philomena" was released October 1974 on Vertigo 6059 111 - and like the album - it didn't chart. It's not surprising that the band hated this record-company decision because it's not a great leadoff track. The lone US 45 was an altogether better double-sided choice - "Showdown" b/w "Night Life" - released January 1975 on Vertigo VE-202. In Europe there was also "It's Only Money" on the back of the laid back "Night Life" as a single (a picture sleeve of it is featured in the booklet)). The album ends with the manic pace of "Sha-La-La" - followed by the mellow guitar and string vibes of the lovely "Dear Heart".

The bonus tracks on Disc 2 are a mixed bag of the polished and the Billy Goat gruff. First up - missing in action is the USA 7" edited version of "Showdown" at 3:29 minutes that turned up on Promo Copies of Vertigo VE-DJ-7 (a variant of VE-202). The B-side carried the full album version at 4:33 minutes. It's sloppy not to have included it on here. The 6 live 'BBC Session' tracks are much better that I'd expected - especially the rocking first three which show just how tight the band were. In complete contrast to the 3 Oct date - the 23 Oct session that produced "Dear Heart" and the stretched-out-more instrumental "Banshee" hears the boys in a supremely mellow and melodious mood. The three Gary Moore demos are really hissy - but exciting to hear precisely because they're so raw. "Showdown" features great slide guitar flourishes that aren't on the more polished finished song - and a prize for fans is Gary on duet-vocals with Phil Lynott instead of Frankie Miller on "Still In Love With You". Even on this early take of six and a half minutes - the fabulous blues guitar playing he fills the song with is just so good - and far meatier in some ways than the rather wimpy final. The 'Alternate Take' of "Showdown" shows both guitarists trying to find flicks and fills - and mostly succeeding. The last bonus track has Frankie Miller (uncredited on the packaging) cursing at the opening and joining Phil on lead vocals. It's kind of ruined by both boys talking about getting 'beer and wine' into the studio as the guitar solos in the background! To sum up Disc 2 - even though there aren't juicy album outtakes (as there is on the DE of "Fighting") - it's an impressive set of bonuses nonetheless...

Niggles - the booklet is good - but similar to "Fighting" there is this unnerving lack of acknowledgement of the main man - PHIL LYNOTT. Both Downey and Robertson's quotes are selective to say the least. It's all "we" and "our" - without ever noting that Lynott wrote eight outright and co-wrote the other two, sang them, fronted the band, provided the hits etc etc. It's like the remaining members are slyly trying to rewrite the band's history in their favour. And the total lack of liner notes for the 11 tracks on Disc 2 is just lazy. There's also no interview with Jim Fitzpatrick - an integral part of the band's Seventies image. But overall - it's a good release - and one fans have been waiting for - for decades.

To sum up - the remaster is a belter, some of the extras are absolute must owns and the packaging is what you'd expect. Admittedly with its slightly languid and funky feel - "Nightlife" may not be everyone idea of twin-guitar nirvana - but there's still so much on here to admire - and I've especially loved rehearing the record in this really great sound. From here it was onwards and upwards to 1975's "Fighting" and the breakthrough "Jailbreak" in 1976. What a band...

Two of my friends are buried in the same cemetery as Phil in Dublin - and I visit all 3 whenever I go back. God bless them wherever they may be. And all are sorely missed...

PS: see also reviews for "Thin Lizzy" Expanded, "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage" Expanded and 2CD DELUXE EDITION sets of "Vagabonds Of The Western World", "Fighting", "Jailbreak", "Johnny The Fox" and "Live & Dangerous"
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2006
When I first bought this album back in 1974 I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. This was the first outing featuring the twin guitar sound of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham so I expected something different, but I was surprised at how mellow it was. Ok so the band had changed direction before. In the Eric Bell era they went from a folk sound on the first two albums, to a heavier raw sound on Vagabonds so I guess I was anticipating hard rock here, but although it does contain a couple of heavier songs in Sha-La-La and Its Only Money, the guitars are played down somewhat with strings featuring on the title track and Dear Heart. This may have been due to the production of Ron Nevison which the band was allegedly unhappy with. There are also, what appears to be, a couple of fillers in Frankie Carroll and the instrumental Banshee. Don't let that put you off however, as there are still some great tracks with excellent guitar harmonies in She Knows, Philomena and Showdown. But what elevates this album to five stars for me is the beautiful Still in Love with You. The live version has received greater acclaim (this is also brilliant incidentally), but I still love the studio version. It features Gary Moore on guitar and Brian Robertson apparently refused to re-record it, as he thought it couldn't be bettered. I have to say I'm inclined to agree.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Thin Lizzy were the first band who's records I started collecting in my youth. Even now (although most of it's on vinyl and I no longer have a record player), when I go back to their music it remains richly rewarding.

I personally like Lizzy (and Lynott's solo stuff) most when they're soulful and melodic. 'Still In Love With You' is an achingly beautiful ballad of lost love, with Gary Moore's solos reaching lyrical peaks of incredible beauty (the chordal voicing of the rhythm guitar is completely sublime too), and Lynott duetting with the great blue eyed soul singer Frankie Miller to great effect. There's even some congas on the fadeout, fantastic! Even if the rest of this album was rubbish (and of course it's not, it's superb!), this one song would easily justify the price of purchase.

With touches of Jazz, and buckets full of Soul, this is Lizzy (and Lynott) at their very best, proving that they were much more than just a brilliant Rock band.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2012
1st Lizzy album as 4 piece line up gets the deluxe edition treatment.For such an underrated album thats often overlooked it features the live staples,Still in Love with you (featuring Robert GARY Moore on lead guitar & Frankie Miller on co-lead vocals) & Sha-la-la-la & early classics Showdown & She Knows & Its only money,so thats half your album of real quality stuff!Whilst not the finished article,the album highlights Phillips fabulous singing & points at the dual guitar sound ,there are real hints at what was to come in the near future. The material is quite varied & not all out rock, strings & keyboards & acoustic guitars feature,so you maybe generally suprised.As for the bonus disc 6 of the album tracks in session version are available elsewhere; PEEL sessions/live at the BBC c.d 's & boxset ,so be aware before you part with your cash!However there are some gems in the form of demos featuring Gary Moore on 3 tracks ,& a demo of Frankie Miller doing S.T.I.L.W.Y. where he can clearly be heard,er' enquiring about further liquid refreshment,shall we say!In the booklet,Robbo & Brian Downey share their views & respected rock writer Malc Dome chips in too!Of all the deluxe releases I still think Chinatown offers most in terms of varied bonus disc & value for money,this is good ,but if you only like Lizzy for the well known chart hits then there may not be a great deal here for you!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2012
Disc One is the original 1974 release 'Nightlife', which shows the many different facets of Lynott as an artist, something that no subsequent Lizzy album would achieve to such an extent. His songwriting, his singing and his often overlooked bass-playing all stand out on this record. From the Hendrixy funk-rock of 'It's Only Money' through the Van Morrison blues of the title track and the Motown-tinged 'Showdown' right up to the Lizzy-esque 'She Knows' and the heavier rock of 'Sha-la-la', this is Lynott at his unfettered best, experimenting, giving his creativity and imagination total freedom. The Hank Marvin-sounding, almost Country Rock of 'Banshee', the Celtic Rock of 'Philomena' with its Irish fiddle tucked in behind the guitars, the introspective pop/soul of 'Dear Heart' and the Tom Waits folksy 'Frankie Carroll' all show Lynott as an artist still finding his feet, willing to try out new (and old) ideas, sketching on diverse canvases.

Brian Downey shows himself to be an adaptable skinsman on this album and his drumming goes from rhythm n blues swing to tight hard rocking to a strange mix of marching band meets celtic bodhrán on 'Philomena', highlighting his importance to Lynott when it came to switching styles.

With a lush string section on some tracks, an organ on others and even a female backing chorus line on 'Showdown', alongside the two new band members still finding their space, this was as near as we can get to an early Lynott solo album. By the time Lizzy hit the big time two years later, very little of this diversity was left.

The bluesy love ballad 'Still In Love With You' is obviously a stand-out track here and went on to become one of the band's most requested live songs right up to their demise in 1983. As an experimental album then, it's only fitting that Lynott shared the spotlight on this classic song with guitarist Gary Moore and singer Frankie Miller, both stars in their own right.

Disc Two is a mixed bag of out-takes and alternative versions, some of which feature rough mixes of Gary Moore's guitar parts, most of which were subsequently substituted with the new guitarists' contributions for the finished album release. As a fan, I found these interesting, but as with most rough mixes and out-takes, they are for collectors and fans mainly.

If you think that Thin Lizzy started and finished with The Boys Are Back In Town, well you're in for a surprise with this album. A very challenging one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2014
One of my favourite bands of all time - great to have these back in my collection!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2002
I love this album, so much that I have bought it three times and warn out one LP and two Cds!
All of Lizzys albums would not be out of place in any self respecting rock fans collections.
From She knows with its superb slide guitar and one of the most perfect solos ever heard to Showdown, even the fill Frankie Carrol does not offend.
The only thing that annoys me about all these re-issue is that they are not enhanced, go look at some ELO albums -they feature extra tracks (mostly not good) but I wonder how much of Mr Lynotts superior writing skills are kept tucked away on tapes somewhere, the recent collection contains some B sides -but I have every track bar 2. anyway thats my five pennyworth, back to the Album.
Thin Lizzy Evolved - and all bands do - they became different, but none the less superb right up to the end, the earlier Albums like this one I consider as my little secret -some times it is nice to Love something that few people know or appreciate, the Man had a big impact on my life and as long as we are remebering He will never die.
P.S: Go Buy Bad Reputation, Black Rose, solo in Soho, the Phillip Lynott Album, Chinatown, Fighting, The Continuing Saga of the ageing Orphans, Thin Lizzy, Jailbreak, Renegade, Live and Dangerous, Life, the BBC live CD, The Rocker, etc etc.
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on 30 October 2014
Great earlier album I particularly like the title track, and 'She Knows' and 'Still in love with you' The last one is probably the best known track as it was on later albums as well. More soulful and thoughtful than later rocker type albums, but still plenty of good guitar riffs.
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on 12 April 2013
one of the few albums where lynot got together with the late great gary moore you can distinkly recognise his signiture on the lead guiter well worth investing in a copy shame they didnt work together on more of the lizzy albums a classic real gem.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2011
Many years ago I had this album on tape and not having heard it since, I wondered if it really was as good as I thought at the time, all those years ago.
The answer is 'yes' - it really is that good. Perhaps if you only know Thin Lizzy for their most famous songs which portray them as an out and out rock band, you may be surprized by this album. Quite a mixture of different styles, but more of a subtle, polished approach here. Can you imagine Thin Lizzy with a string section? You will hear strings on the title track. I would say is it is a great album with every track offering in my opinion something of merit. Go on, buy it !
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