*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 'DELUXE EDITION' VERSION ***
Thin Lizzy fans have had something of a rollercoaster ride with the huge slew of DELUXE EDITIONS thrown at them in the last few years - some stunning - some maddeningly off the mark (remasters that aren't etc). But as a huge fan of these twin-guitar beginnings "Nightlife" (1974) and "Fighting" (1975) - I'm thrilled to say that these 2CD sets may indeed be the best in the series so far. Here are the details...
UK released Monday 12 March 2012 on Mercury 2792227 (1 May 2012 in the USA) - the DELUXE EDITION of "Fighting" breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (38:08 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "Fighting" released 12 September 1975 in the UK on Vertigo 6360 121 and on Mercury SRM-1 1108 in the USA
[Note: the UK 'alley with weapons' artwork is used for this release and not the different US and European artwork - the 'standing outside a derelict house' cover used on US and Euro covers is featured as the lead page of the booklet]
Disc 2 - Bonus Tracks (61:40 minutes):
Track 1 is "Half Caste" - the non-album B-side to "Rosalie" - issued June 1975 in the UK as a 7" single on Vertigo 6059 124
Track 2 is "Rosalie (US Album Mix)" [SEE PS BELOW]
Tracks 3 to 5 are "Rosalie", "Suicide" and "Ballad Of A Hard Man" - three live 'BBC Sessions' recorded 29 May 1975
Track 6 is "Ballad Of A Hard Man (False Start and No Vocal)" - an alternate version
Track 7 is "Try A Little Harder (Alternate Vocal)" - an instrumental album outtake written by Phil Lynott
Track 8 is "Fighting My Way Back (Rough Mix With Alternate Vocals)" - an alternate version
Track 9 is "Song For Jesse (No Vocal)" - an instrumental album outtake written by Phil Lynott
Track 10 is "Leaving Town (Acoustic, Bass & Drums - No Vocal)" - an instrumental album outtake written by Phil Lynott
Track 11 is "Blues Boy" - an album outtake written by Brian Robertson
Track 12 is "Leaving Town (Extended Take)" - longer version of Track 10
Track 13 is "Spirit Slips Away (Extended Version - Take Four)" - an alternate version
Track 14 is "Wild One (No Vocal)" - an alternate version
Track 15 is "Bryan's Funky Fazer (Silver Dollar)" - an alternate version written by Brian Robertson
There's no wrap-around plastic on these new Deluxe Editions (miss them actually), but it is nicely done. The 16-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 ticket stubs, concert posters, 7" single picture sleeves for the two releases off the album - "Rosalie" and "Wild One" - and well as a 'bloodied noses' photo of the band as rejected artwork. But the real fireworks come in the 2011 remaster by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM - which is absolutely superb.
The power of the album opener "Rosalie" as it exits your speakers is tremendous. One of only a handful of covers Lizzy ever did - it was originally on Bob Seger's 1973 album for Capitol Records called "Back in '72" (he even issued it as a 7" single in the UK and USA). Lizzy had been touring the States with Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Seger on the same bill - only to witness how the song came alive in a live environment. They took his slower studio cut and speeded it up - and to many people - it practically 'is' a Lizzy song now. I'm sure Bob approves - because to this day - "Rosalie" (with its anti-racist non-album B-side "Half Caste") is one 'the' great 45s of the Seventies (it also features Roger Chapman of Family on guest vocals - just before the solo comes in).
The power of "For Those Who Love To Live" is fabulous too as is the wonderfully melodic "Wild One" (lyrics above). In fact as you listen again to the album - its amazing how accomplished Lynott's writing had become (he penned/co-wrote 7 of the 10 songs) and how the band's new twin-guitar sound had 'gelled'. 1976's "Jailbreak" and its breakthrough was just a year away - but they found their true path on "Fighting" and with their cracking new material were already an awesome thing 'live'. I particularly love the slinky feel of Robertson's excellent "Silver Dollar" which just sounds huge all of a sudden (it features the second guest on the album - Ian McLagan of The Faces on keyboards). "King's Vengeance" has such muscle now too - and the rocking brilliance of "Suicide", "King's Vengeance" and the powerhouse album finisher "Ballad Of A Hard Man" have never sounded so good.
As you can imagine the bonus tracks on Disc 2 are a mixture of the ordinary and the brill. I find the 3 BBC Sessions strangely lacklustre considering the material - but the rough in-the-studio alternate versions of "Ballad Of A Hard Man" and "Fighting My Way Back" are raw and powerful - they show a band that was so brilliantly tight - even in rehearsals. One of the real gems here is once again by Lynott - the lovely "Try A Little Harder" is in the same vein as the sleeker part of "Spirit Slips Away" and has a great guitar solo in it. "Song For Jesse" sounds suspiciously like an instrumental that was recently done - there's no recording date and no indication as to who does the superb piano work on it. "Leaving Town" is the real deal and is featured here twice. First is an Acoustic, Bass and Drum version - second is an extended version of that. But as pretty as it is in places - without vocals and emotion it's merely a curiosity (what a shame he never finished it). The brill and sneaky rock-blues of "Blues Boy" is different though - a truly great Brian Robertson penned outtake with Lynott giving it some mean vocals and the guitar work from both of the boys just fantastic. Lizzy fans will love this. It's a genuine highlight...
Niggles - the booklet is good - but 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 the bulk of the tracks for God's sake, 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 15 tracks on Disc 2 is just lazy - or again - trying to hide something. 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. It's truly terrible front cover notwithstanding - "Fighting" is a properly great Thin Lizzy album - and this DE version finally does it justice.
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", "Nightlife", "Jailbreak", "Johnny The Fox" and "Live & Dangerous"
PPS (May 2012): fans have pointed out to me that "Rosalie (US Album Mix)" on Disc 2 is mistakenly the same version as that on Disc 1 - in other words the 'UK mix'.
Some fans have returned the offending CD and Universal HAVE replaced them with a 'corrected' CD.
on 31 March 2012
This edition sounds quite nice. Another fine remaster job. It's a little bright sounding, at least compared to what I'm used to listening to, but the detail and clarity is amazing. Disc 1 is the original album, and Disc 2 has some great rarities that even I as a Thin Lizzy die hard haven't run across. You get your nice little fold out digipak, but the Deluxe Edition banner is gone. Fooey. You get a 16 page booklet with notes once again written by Malcolm Dome and interview snippets with drummer Brian Downey and the guitarist for the "Classic" era ROBBO! (Brian Robertson) Nothing really with Phil though, so that's a bit of a disappointment. The collage photos behind the text, if that makes sense is a mixture of promo items of that time. Tour posters, the artwork for singles, etc. You also get a gaze at the rejected artwork where the band all have bloody noses and blood coming out from the corner of the mouths. I see why it was rejected. It looks pretty ridiculous. I couldn't help but chuckle. The only error with this edition is the US Mix of Rosalie. It's the standard UK version with a different sound. Still, I couldn't bring myself to knock this down 1 star. Tracklist below.
Disc 1 (Original newly remastered album)
2. For Those Who Love To Live
4. Wild One
5. Fighting My Way Back
6. King's Vengeance
7. Spirit Slips Away
8. Silver Dollar
9. Freedom Song
10. Ballad Of A Hard Man
1. Half Caste (B Side to Rosalie 7")
2. Rosalie (US Album Mix)
3. Half Caste - BBC Session 05/29/1975
4. Rosalie - BBC Session 05/29/1975
5. Suicide - BBC Session 05/29/1975
6. Ballad Of A Hard Man (Unreleased Alternate Take, False start and no vocal)
7. Try A Little Harder (Unreleased)
8. Fighting My Way Back (Unreleased Alternate Take)
9. Song For Jesse (Unreleased, instrumental)
10. Leaving Town (Unreleased)
11. Blues Boy (Unreleased, different take form the Jailbreak deluxe edition)
12. Leaving Town (Unreleased, Acoustic)
13. Spirit Slips Away (Unreleased Alternate Take)
14. Wild One (Unreleased Alternate Take, instrumental)
15. Bryan's Funky Fazer (Silver Dollar) (Unreleased alternate version)
I didn't expect much of this album when a friend lent it to me a few years after its release, but 'Fighting' is remarkably strong considering it seems to have passed quietly by the classic album lists. It does take a cover, Bob Seger's 'Rosalie,' to give it its flagship track, but it's a great version. The best self-penned track is the softer 'Wild One,' which features some wonderful soloing and an aching vocal performance from Phil Lynott. All of the tracks are at least good, they represent a healthy variety of approaches and most rock solidly, especially the last track. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts because of the momentum it generates. Only just the full five, but worth it for highlighting how underrated 'Fighting' is.
on 10 May 2011
Coming after Nightlife(1974),Fighting(1975), is the second offering from the Gorham/Robertson line-up.
Although Lizzy's first album to feature the two aforementioned guitarists, Nightlife, had some great moments(including the birth of their own particular twin guitar attack on "It's Only Money"),Fighting proved to be a much more focused and rounded work that holds together brilliantly.
Bob Segar's "Rosalie" kicks the album off in style.This studio version is good and careful listening will reveal the distinctive voice of Family's Roger Chapman on backing vocals."For Those Who Love to Live"is one of several excellent , but lesser known ,Lizzy songs that feature on Fighting.It was a tribute to Phil's personal friend George Best.This song features flange and chorus effects and, in fact, these are more prevalent on Fighting than on most other Thin Lizzy albums." Suicide" is next up and is a superb rocker,featuring classic guitar dualing (Scott uses the WaH Wah),and fine story telling from Phil."Wild One" is next and is one of the quintessential Lizzy songs,combining a romanticised celtic subject matter with the distinctive twin guitar lyricism that represent the group on top form ;Brian Downey also sounds great on this track."Fighting My Way Back" is a lively ,fast paced song with a funk/rock feel;Scott plays a good solo here but I wish that it was louder within the mix."King's Vengeance",written by Gorham/Lynott, starts the second half and is wrongly titled "King's Revenge" on the CD!It is ,however, another vastly under-rated gem.It features a great celtic-rock riff and poetic lyrics..."Spring she comes and Spring she teases... brings Summer winds and Summer breezes...Blows through your hair 'til Autumn leave's us ...When Autumn leaves... oh how Winter freezes!".Another lesser mentioned Lizzy great follows in the form of" Spirit Slips Away".This atmospheric song is one of the most interesting ,experimental recordings from this line-up.It features guitar volume swells which create a haunting sonic over which Phil sings soulfully..."May the angels be watching over you that fateful day when your spirit slips away".Robbo plays a lovely ,bluesy solo on "Spirit'" and he uses a subtle feed-back to great effect on the next song- "Silver Dollar" which he also wrote.The penultimate song on the album is "Freedom Song" and was written by Gorham/Lynott.This song has an Allman Brothers guitar feel and Scott provides a fantastic ,flanged-up,melodic solo;it also finds Phil in story telling mode.The last track is " Ballad of the Hardman" (again wrongly called "Ballad of A Hardman"!).Scott Gorham penned this,the heaviest,track and it sounds like Robbo playing WAH WAH,while Phil tells us "No bad,black,back-scratching pussycat's gonna get her claws on me!".
Slash has stated that without Thin Lizzy there wouldn't have been G'n'Roses and I am sure that the combination of Les Paul/Overdrive/WAH WAH as is demonstrated here on "Ballad of the Hardman" and in future Lizzy songs such as" Warriors" and "Johnny" were influencial and inspiring to him.
Phil Lynott produced Fighting and I believe that he did a pretty good job.After this others would start to deliver a more commercial production but for me Fighting remains a recording of integrity in terms of the songs,the musicianship and some of the strongest lyrics written by Mr Lynott.I have been listening to Fighting for more than three decades and I still rate it as one of the very best.Highly reccomended!!!
on 24 March 2012
The main album is very well mastered, and I don't say that very often of new remasters (I often find them too loud or too bright or unnaturally EQ'd). It's the best mastering I have heard so far (but I haven't yet been able to track down a 1st Japanese pressing).
The bonus material is also nice, we get some unreleased songs which are really good. I also like the sound of the 3 BBC session tracks on this DE a little better than the sound on the Live at the BBC box set which was released last year. These tracks sound a little less bright on this DE compared to the box set, which I do prefer (others might feel the opposite).
BUT there is really one major glitch on this release. Track 2 on disc 2 is not the US Mix of "Rosalie" as stated, it repeats the UK mix which is already on disc 1 (track 1). It is a different mastering/transfer, so they sound slightly different, but it is certainly no the US mix which runs about 20 seconds longer and is really a different mix which sounds way different.
I hope that Universal will rectify the problem and manufacture a replacement disc with the correct US Mix of "Rosalie".
Without this glitch, it would be easily 5 stars. I could give it 4 stars with the glitch, but I decided to go with 3 stsrs at the moment so that hopefully this glitch will get some more attention.
on 10 April 2003
I only really got into Thin Lizzy in the mid 90s, when I got hold of 'Dedication' - a 'best of' album. Never looked back.
Every single song on this album is pure gold. Particular favourites are 'Fighting My Way Back' and 'Ballad of a Hard Man'.
My advise - if you like true Heavy Rock - go out and buy every single Lizzy album. They differ considerably, but there is not one dud. Guitar work is fantastic - and the songs just seem to capture a really feel-good mood.
What a tragedy Phil had to die so young. If he was still around today, the charts might well look a lot different.
on 13 February 2002
Leave aside the dodgy cover and you've got Lizzy's best, most under-rated and under-played album. Bob Seger's 'Rosalie' gets it off to a good start but for me it's the second track 'For Those Who Love To Live' which really gets things going. 'Suicide' and the rich sounding 'Wild One' keep up the standard while the final song on side one 'Fighting My Way Back' leaves me eager to flip the album over. 'King's Vengeance' has a couple of beautiful (and familiar) Robertson / Gorham moments, while 'Silver Dollar' and 'Freedom Song' pick-up the pace nicely again after the slower and haunting 'Spirit Slips Away'. 'Ballad Of A Hardman' is the only track not up to standard on an otherwise perfect album. I recently bought this on CD for only seven quid to help prevent me waring out the LP and was pleased with the result (albeit 'King's Vengeance' was mis-titled 'King's Revenge'). In my opinion 'Fighting' is whole new world, far removed from the 1974 release - the very poor 'Nightlife'. It gave Lizzy the sound it was looking for. Shame 'Jailbreak' and 'Johnny The Fox' couldn't keep up the good work. Only Robertson's last contribution 'Bad Reputation' and 1979's 'Black Rose' came close, before the downward spiral started.
on 6 April 2007
Thin Lizzy produced some excellent albums in their time but quite frankly FIGHTING closely followed by JAILBREAK are the ones that hold the unique Thin Lizzy sound. Pure class without being AOR or 'American sounding"; aggresive without being crassly 'in your face or vulgar'. An absolute must in any rock collection.
on 21 March 2012
Firstly, the image currently being shown on Amazon is not the cover used. It comes with the traditional alleyway image. The album itself, contains some of the best songs Lizzy ever did (Rosalie, Suicide, Wild One). Importantly though, they are accompanied by a strong set of stand out tracks. "Spirit Slips Away", "Silver Dollar", "Freedom Song" are all superb rock songs that still sound fresh today, helped by the fact the group plays together and appear comfortable with each others' contributions. "For Those Who Love To Live" and "King's Vengeance" are standard Lizzy-style songs. The one track that sounds weak is "Fighting My Way Back". The apparent aim of the album was to make the group sound harder, and this track (presumably meant to be the title track) comes over as forced. Lynott's singing is harsh and the sound seems as if the band was trying too hard. Ironically, they got it spot on, in terms of heavy rock, with the last track: "Ballad of a Hard Man". Overall, the sound is clean (but my vinyl copy had a good sound too)so if the original CD release had poor sound, you'll appreciate this upgrade. Now to the second CD. 15 tracks, but: 3 tracks are already available on the excellent BBC sessions (if you don't have this buy it); 1 track "Rosalie" is the U.S. album version (It sounds inferior and muffled); 5 tracks are instrumental versions of different tracks, which is mildly interesting but Lynott's voice was key to the overall song so you probably won't listen to them that often. Half-caste is excellent, but the BBC version is better. You then get some tracks added in rough mixes/different versions. Not being a Lizzy expert, I'm not sure why they are included here and (frustatingly) there are no clues in the booklet. So,I personally don't feel the second CD adds much. Final curio: on the back of the packaging there is a photo of Lizzy staring down at the camera, whilst leaning against a wall. It could have made a great cover photo (rather than the crude weapon photo)and is a little reminiscent of the Ramones cover that appeared a little later. Summary: great album, no fillers but not sure if the "deluxe" aspect is worth it...and if you don't have the BBC sessions, buy it: 2 genuinely good CDs.
on 11 February 2013
I love the band so much, i have all their albums, i can listen to them all day long and i'm proud to be a huge fan of them.
This album is also a great masterpiece, any member of the band done a great job, excellent songs.
Top tracks are: 'Fighting My Way Back', 'King's Vengeance', 'Suicide' and 'For Those..' but there are more, i just can't write them all.
The album is a must have for a music fans, so own it now if you didn't done it already.