on 27 June 2011
THERE ARE NUMEROUS MISTAKES ON THE LATEST BATCH OF THIN LIZZY DELUXE EDITIONS,
JOHNNY THE FOX,JAILBREAK AND LIVE AND DANGEROUS.FIRSTLY THESE ARE ALL SUPPOSED
TO BE NEW REMASTERS,THEY ARE NOT ! BY DOING A BIT OF DETECTIVE WORK,I AM LED TO
BELIEVE THEY ARE REMASTERS FROM MATERIAL ISSUED FOR THE JAPANESE MARKET ALTHOUGH
WHETHER THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES WERE USED IS NOT CLEAR.SECONDLY THE TRACK
LISTINGS HAVE BEEN SCREWED UP.ON JOHNNY THE FOX TWO OF THE BONUS TRACKS SUPPOSED
TO BE BBC SESSIONS ARE SIMPLY ALBUM TRACKS THAT APPEAR ON DISC ONE.THIRD THE DVD
THAT COMES WITH THE LIVE AND DANGEROUS PACKAGE FEATURES MONO SOUND,NOT STEREO
WHICH IS WHAT THE SEPARATELY RELEASED LIVE AND DANGEROUS DVD FEATURES.I LOVE THIN
LIZZY AND LOVE THEIR MUSIC,BUT THE RECORD COMPANY HAVE SHOWN AN APALLING LACK OF
CARE OVER THESE REISSUES.I BELIEVE THE RECORD COMPANY HAS PROMISED TO CORRECT SOME OF THESE ERRORS ON FUTURE SHIPMENTS,BUT THE ISSUE OVER THE REMASTERING IS LIKELY
TO REMAIN UNCHANGED.THE MUSIC ON JOHNNY THE FOX IS FANTASTIC,BUT AS A PACKAGE I CAN ONLY AWARD THREE STARS DUE TO THE FAILINGS INDICATED ABOVE.I WOULD BE
INTERESTED TO HEAR AN EXPLANATION FROM THE RECORD COMPANY(UNIVERSAL)AS TO HOW THEY ALLOWED SUCH PRODUCT ONTO THE MARKET.A STICKER COULD HAVE BEEN PLACED ON THE COVER STATING THAT THESE WERE NOT NEW REMASTERS,THAT ERRORS HAD BEEN MADE WITH THE
An oft-overlooked gem from the illustrious Lizzy catalogue, and a reminder of how eclectic and diverse they were in their heyday. The title track is a terrific early example of funk-rock, and funk-rock in a mellow but powerful vein. Zeppelin famously brought funk 'n' soul to rock 'n' roll, as have more recent acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But so too did Thin Lizzy, and at their best Lizzy do it as well as anyone ever has done.
Written and recorded whilst Phil Lynott was recovering from the hepatitis that had curtailed the bands touring in the wake of the breakthrough success of Jailbreak, the most famous track and the albums biggest hit is Don't Believe A Word. Originally written as a slow, melodic near ballad, legend has it that Brian 'Robbo' Robertson, tiring of the mellow side of Lynott's muse, deliberately rocked it up. Gary Moore can be seen on YouTube performing version (some on his own, some with Lynott and co.) that return to the original mellower conception of this great tune: it works well both ways.
There some great mellow numbers, such as Sweet Marie and Old Flame, and some solid rockers like Johnny and Rocky. As good as these last two are - they appear as the first two tracks on the album - they're not the best examples of Lizzy in cocky-rocker mode, and of all the tracks I find myself most likely to skip these two, ironically placed up front because no doubt they were/are considered 'typical Lizzy' fare. Another aspect of the Lizzy sound that some might think comes as much from the 'Lizzy by numbers' as the heart is the whole 'Celtic rock' angle, here exemplified by the melodic mid-tempo number Fools Gold, and high-octane rocker Massacre. The latter, like final track Boogie Woogie Dance, provide perfect vehicles for Lizzy's great drummer Brian Downey to shine on (his marching band roots are also evident in parts of Fools Gold: his snare work is simply delicious!).
A mixed bag, and an eclectic affair, and not entirely consistent, perhaps, but representative of a great band in their heyday, and essential for any true Lizzy fan. The de-luxe reissue sounds a lot better than my old vinyl, and the additional material on disc two, whilst not adding any tremendously exciting list treasures, is for the most part solid and enjoyable alternate versions of the album tracks, and chiefly of interest to the die-hard fan base. That's me: I love this album!
UK - "Johnny The Fox" is the second of three 'Deluxe Edition' 2CD sets released Monday 24 January 2011 in the UK - the other two are 1976's "Jailbreak" and 1978's "Live And Dangerous" (2CD/1DVD).
USA - "Jailbreak" has been USA-released 8 February 2011, "Johnny The Fox" is released on 22 February 2011 - but it appears that "Live And Dangerous" has been withdrawn from American schedules until further notice.
Universal/Mercury 5332077 breaks down as follows...
The 3-way foldout digipak is the same design as most of Universal's 2010 DE doubles - the outer plastic wrap has now been replaced with a 'Deluxe Edition' bandana around the base of the set and you have to split it to get the package open - bit fiddly, but it's easier to access the discs and the booklet. The short "Vulture" story on the inner sleeve of the original LP is put under the see-through tray that houses Disc 1, while the 4 colour photos of the boys on the back sleeve are now spread across all 4 sides of the two inner flaps - and they look great.
Like "Jailbreak" there's a superbly detailed 20-page booklet with a very intensive essay on the album and the band's history - this time by NEIL JEFFRIES. It documents the hepatitis that nearly killed Phil and caused the upcoming US tour to be cancelled (it was felt it would finally break them huge). But the American arena's loss was music's gain because the Lizzies were able to concentrate on more songwriting instead - and again - for the second time in 1976 - they came up with the goodies.
Niggles - like "Jailbreak" I'd have to say that the lack of alternate artwork or works-in-progress from Jim Fitzpatrick - the Dublin artist who's Celtic artwork was such an integral part of the band's image (and the album sleeve) - is a bit of a let down. The non-colour version of his front-cover artwork that was used on the inner sleeve is missing too. Also Universal could have used the original vinyl look on the CDs themselves - the UK 'Spaceship' Vertigo label design for Disc 1 with the USA Mercury label design on Disc 2 - minor points I know, but worth mentioning...
Disc 1 (36:05 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Johnny The Fox", their 7th album released 16 October 1976 in the UK on Vertigo 9102 012 and November 1976 in the USA on Mercury SRM-1-1119 (it peaked at 11 in the UK and 52 in the USA). The booklet states it's been remastered by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM in 2010 at Wired Masters Sound In London in the UK (see below).
Disc 2 (38:13 minutes):
Tracks 1 and 2 are 'Remix' Versions of "Don't Believe A Word" (Remix One) and "Johnny". JOE ELLIOTT (of Def Leppard) along with SCOTT GORHAM, BRIAN DOWNEY (guitarist and drummer with the band) and RONAN McHUGH have remixed and re-recorded 'some' parts on these in "Joe's Garage" in Dublin. There's not enough room to detail here what's been done to what track and why, but Joe Elliott's notes explain in full on Pages 18 and 19.
Tracks 3 to 6 are "Don't Believe A Word", "Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed", "Fools Gold" and "Johnny" - all BBC Sessions recorded 11 October 1976 in London for The John Peel Show
[Note: Track 3 confusingly comes up on some CDs as "Don't Believe A Word - Remix Two" and not the "BBC Session". However, the DE rear artwork calls it a BBC Session.]
Tracks 7 and 9 are 'Instrumental Run Through' versions of "Fools Gold" and "Rocky"
Track 8 is an 'Instrumental Run Through & Extended' version of "Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed" featuring a false start and more dialogue at the end
Track 10 is an 'Instrumental Take With Lynott's Directions To The Band' version of "Massacre"
Track 11 is an 'Unreleased Scott Gorham Composition' called "Scott's Tune"
SOUND first - and like the DE of "Jailbreak" - therein lies a problem. Lizzy fans will be aware of internet rumours that the 2010 remasters were actually done by Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham in London, but were pulled at the last minute by two members of the band (reasons unknown). Supposedly Universal had already gone to the printers hence the '2010' credit in the booklet. So the rumour is that what's 'actually' on offer here is the 1996 remasters (done apparently in Japan) which everybody already owns. Listening to my 1996 version again - I'd have to say that these rumours have a 'point'. To my ears however, this version IS BETTER - just ever so slightly so - like someone has tweaked the old version. I don't know for sure and I'm damn sure there'll be endless debate over this...
As for the sound and album itself... Joe Elliott of Def Leppard comments in the liner notes that he thinks "Johnny The Fox" is even better than "Jailbreak" - I don't know about that - but he does have a point when you re-listen to the fab rock riffage of "Rocky" (lyrics above) and the bluesy feel of "Borderline" which is almost as good as "I'm Still In Love With You". There didn't seem to be anything Phil Lynott couldn't turn into a winner - both musically and lyrically. And the two boys - Scott Gorham and Brian "Robbo" Robertson - played their guitars off each other like they telepathically linked. It's a shame though that the writer credit on "Don't Believe A Word" is still only 'Lynott' when it was known then and more so now that it was 'both' Robertson and Downey who wrote it after the first aborted attempts. "Fool's Gold" sounds great too - big and chunky. There was (like most Irish songwriters) a Van Morrison desperately trying to get out of Phil Lynott and "Old Flame" and "Sweet Marie" (like "Running Back" on the "Jailbreak" LP) are his Van The Man moments - and I love them both. Soundwise, it's good, but if I'm honest, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and the 1996 remaster - it's slightly better I'd say.
EXRAS - like the "Jailbreak" bonus tracks on Disc 2, the extras here are far better than I thought they would be. In fact I'd go as far as saying that they may even be better than the album. First up are two fantastic 'Remixes'. They don't trump the originals - but man - are they good! The four John Peel BBC Sessions show just how unbelievably tight the band was - and how their material was sit-up-and-take-notice good. Downey's drums are huge too.
But the best is left to last - a set of incredibly personal in-the-studio outtakes. The run-through of "Fools Gold" cuts out the spoken 'Famine' intro and is just great riffing - fascinating stuff. "Johnny The Fox..." has a false start, studio dialogue and sounds like the band is rehearsing in your living room (incredibly personal) - and when the twin guitars kick in with that great riff at one minute in - it's a blast. The "Rocky" run through simply sounds like the finished backing track minus the vocals - but "Massacre" is more like it - rough and raw - with Phil's guide vocal barely audible. You can hear him instruct "now the chord...the riff fours times and stop..." The breakneck speed of "Scott's Tune" features Phil's bass upfront while Scott boogies like a madman - great stuff.
To sum up - a remaster of the album (albeit still shrouded in controversy - so docked a star), properly expanded packaging, shockingly good bonus tracks - and all at a reasonable price.
Even with its 'problems' - I still think fans will be inextricably drawn to Disc 2 - and for that alone - it's worth it...
Recommended like midnight in the big city...
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", "Fighting", "Jailbreak" and "Live & Dangerous"
on 27 January 2011
BE VERY AWARE!
THE TRACK LISTING ON THIS IS ALL OVER THE PLACE. THE DISC 2 TRACK LISTING ON BOTH THE BACK COVER AND THE BACK OF THE INSIDE BOOKLET AND ON HERE (AMAZON) ARE ALL DIFFERENT AND ARE ALL WRONG. THIS COULD'VE BEEN A REALLY GOOD REISSUE BUT MERCURY RECORDS HAVE GONE AND MESSED IT UP BIG TIME! AVOID AT ALL COSTS... AT LEAST UNTIL THEY'VE AMENDED THE PROBLEM. THE NEW DELUXE EDITION OF JAILBREAK HAS A WRONG TRACK LISTING ON DISC 2 ASWELL!
on 12 October 2015
Thin Lizzy are head & shoulders my favourite band.As such,I'm not a one-eyed fan that loves everything,I think I'm quite objective.Anyhow,quite enough of that.Here we have the follow-up to Jailbreak & any band would struggle to follow an album that good & Lizzy don't quite get it right here.Don't Believe a Word is on here,it's the standout track,certainly of the up-tempo numbers.This is part of the problem.Apart from DBAW,none of the up-tempo tracks are quite as good as/better than those on Jailbreak.Don't get me wrong,the playing,Phillip's singing & lyrics are fine,but it's the slower paced,mellower tunes that grabbed my attention.Fool's Gold,Sweet Marie & Old Flame are all very good,full of Lizzy trademarks.Alas not many/if any of them stuck around in the live set,or made it onto Live & Dangerous........Other well known tunes here are Massacre & Johnny the Fox meets Jimmy the Weed.Massacre suffers in comparison to the version on L&D in my view,whilst the album's out & out duffer is Boogie Woogie Dance.Imagine the Osmunds in a cement mixer......Overall a decent album,but for me Nightlife & Jailbreak are this line-up's definitive studio album's,as apparently Bad Reputation was mainly recorded as a 3 Piece,with Robbo adding his solo's at the end of the recording.As for Disc 2, there are new remix's of Don't Believe & Johnny,Don't Believe,apparently featuring new guitar parts from Scott,which personally I'm unsure about the merits of,without Phillip's blessing.Hey-ho.These remix's do sound very sharp,fair do's.An alternate remix of Don't Believe, featuring an additional solo by Scott,on the end of Robbo's original is also here.We also have a 'John Peel session' versions of Johnny the Fox,& Fools Gold,& Johnny none of which feature on the 'Peel Sessions' album although they could be on 'at the BBC' boxset,from 2011.There are pointless instrumentals of 4 of the album tracks too,ending with an instrumental called Scott's tune which is basically a jam,featuring some tasty lead work.And that's it.As for the booklet,Scott features heavily giving his spin on the making of the album & manager Chris O'Donnell chips in too.For all the technical details of remixing old stuff,Def Leppard's Joe Elliott (big buddy of Scott) gives us his expertise.I'm not a fan of this man or his music,so I'll take the 5th amendment on his views/judgements. You will notice the mistakes on the booklet & the cd case as they both have contradictions of the running order/song titles,which is really sloppy & disrespectful to this great band.I bet they didn't mis-quote Joe Elliott,mind.........
on 22 June 2011
This is a complete waste of your money, very disappointing for Phil Lynott Lizzy fans and quite frankly a rip off.
To start with it sounds no better in fact its worse than the mid price CD that's been out for years.
Why oh why did they ask Joe Elliott of Def Awful Leopard to get involved?
He all so suggests this is a better album than Jailbreak which it is not,but that album suffers the same fate as this remaster.
They have push the instruments up and drums in the mix to the detrimental expense of the vocals.
Elliott all so suggests in the sleeve notes for this and Jailbreak that the bonus remixes is how Lizzy should have sounded?
What planet is he on,Lizzy were never a heavy Metal band but to quote the late John Peel"I can hear an indefinable Irishness in Phils songs,a plus factor that sets them apart from and high above those written by the bulk of his contemporaries".
The bonus disc on both albums are a waste of space,the BBC sessions on this disc have been out for years on bootleg in superior quality.
Universal have done away with the hard plastic covers as on previously released deluxe sets i.e. the Who,Skynyrd Etc.so the digi pac will get damage in no time at all.
The wonderful Jim Fitzpatrick artwork could have been enhanced with embossed covers may be some alternative ones for inside the booklet as well, all they had to do was ask him,I all ways found him the most obliging man.
So a missed opportunity then a shame because Rock Candy Universal have done some good remasters Sammy Hagars Street Machine comes to mind,but this is poo,I think Mr Lynott would not be to happy about this he hated ripping off the fans,can you hear me Universal"are you out there?"
on 4 February 2011
Sure the track listing is all over the place.... When I loaded this on to my PC it completely missed a track on the second disc. And the track listing is one track out on all of the tracks bar one. Borderline will not play.
I remember being interested in Thin Lizzy after buying the 'Bad reputation' Album, it has to be one of the first albums I bought.
I then proceeded to enjoy all the other albums, going backwards and the new ones as they were released. The earlier Albums such as 'Vagabonds' and 'Thin Lizzy' And 'Shades... mesmorised me and have occupied pride of place in my Vinyl collection for years, I ended up buying 20+ Lizzy albums, and replacing almost all of them on CD aswell.
Johnny the fox has now had the remix and enhance treatment and it has added a whole new quality to the original, the drums are tight, real and have some added resonance (to me) I haven't had a chance to compare with the CD. But played the album driving home from work, volume 35+ I cant normally stand more than 25, but this had me bopping in my seat. Johnny is immense, the opening is perfect rock, every note in place and vistuoso performances from all involved. Even Phil who isn't renowned as the world's greatest base player, was great.
It has reignited my passion for Lizzy. I had the pleasure of seeing the band in Birmingham a few years back when John Sykes was leading the band.
It is abosultely incredible to watch the guys come out and play with such total arrogance when you know every line, every note of every solo, no fillas, just pure rock adrenalyn.
Amusing to see 17 years olds with Lizzy T-shirt's on, milling about in the bar.
So what of this new Album? to be honest I was worried about spending £13 of my hard earned pennies, to buy something I already had. The run throughs are interesting but really I wanted to hear a little stage craft and something different. I cannot play Scots Tune, it doesn't work on Windows.
The remixes - it is hard to hear the changes, but I identified a few, some notes last longer and sometimes the music is brought forward. The stereo widening really enhances things, you hear more. Having said that I did feel the vocal though better in places - heard some new parts I had never heard. Then it drops back a little in some places, and I would have liked for that not to happen.
Love it, but is it different enough? Doesn't matter - can't wait for the other Albums to come. Saving up for Vagabonds, ordered Jailbreak. Live and dangerous will be purchased. It has given my Lizzy mania a kick up the proverbial and now it hits me on a nostalgic level as well. Bad Reputation is the only album I ever actually wore out through constant playing on my record player.
I would be quite happy for the guys to go into the studio and cut another album maybe with some unheard or rare Lynott compositions. Maybe his lyric book is lying around somewhere? I could actually see these albums charting. New and old audiences, and maybe even the states being cracked second time around.
Fabulous. Buy it, I owe my teenage years to these guys. What is more I love ALL of the Albums, the Raw almost prog rock start to the Renegade and Thunder and lightening days, they are all great. I don't compare, they are just a part of the life of thin Lizzy. Which ones have I played the most? Bad Rep probly, Nightlife is up there, the slide guitar on 'She knows' perfect...But I do love Vagabonds, and fighting and Renegade are class albums. Did anyone mention Black Rose? I love the hard rock, love the romantic, bad boy stuff, all of Lynott's persona and all of the guitarists were great.Have you heard the 12" 'The sun goes down?' Even the solo albums are pretty good.
Good luck on tour hope to catch the guys.... Are you coming to the midlands again?
on 25 October 2013
Don't be fooled by any of the so called remastered bonus albums .The original albums on cd released in around 1996 are just fine .
Nobody needs so called extra tracks ( extra meaning filler to sell more )!
I've got all those first generation cds and to be quite honest there is little difference.
Lizzy were one of the best if not the greatest hard rock band this country ever produced, even the later albums were brilliant .
So save your money and look for that early production run of cd's that will do anyone...rock on
on 8 March 2015
Last great Lizzy album
on 24 January 2011
Hard to believe this came out in 1976. Another one of thoses albums I was always going to buy and never got around to untill now.With the buzz now surrounding Lizzy an apropriate time to reissue in this two disc issue.
A number 11 album with a top 20 hit (Don't believe a word)featuring the twin guitars of Gorham and Robertson. Classic!