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4.3 out of 5 stars11
4.3 out of 5 stars
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"Jailbreak" is the first of three 'Deluxe Edition' 2CD sets released Monday 24 January 2011 in the UK (8 February 2011 in the USA) - the other two are 1976's "Johnny The Fox" (22 February 2011 in the USA) and 1978's "Live And Dangerous" (2CD/1DVD - indefinitely delayed in the USA).

Universal/Mercury 5332052 breaks down as follows...

PACKAGING:
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 easier to access the discs and the booklet. Phil Lynott and Jim Fitzpatricks' "Overmaster" concept story on the rear sleeve of the original LP is put on the first inner flap to the left, while the 4 colour photos of the boys on the back sleeve are now spread across the two inner flaps - and they look great.

There's a superbly detailed 20-page booklet with a very intensive essay on the album and the band's history by DEREK OLIVER. It refers back to interviews with Phil and Brian Robertson and the text is peppered with live photos and a collage of trade adverts and gold disc awards. To counter that though, I'd add 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 - is a bit of a let down on the packaging front. Also they 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 niggles, but worth mentioning...

DISCS:
Disc 1 (36:07 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Jailbreak", their 6th album released 14 March 1976 in the USA on Mercury SRM-1-1081 and 26 March 1976 in the UK on Vertigo 9102 008 (it peaked at 18 in the USA and 10 in the UK). The UK booklet clearly states that ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM have remastered the first generation master tapes in 2010 at Wired Masters in the UK (see later about this).

Disc 2 (51:35 minutes):
Tracks 1, 2 and 4 are 'Remix' Versions of "The Boys Are Back In Town", "Jailbreak" and "Emerald". 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 isn't enough room to detail here what's been done to what track and why, but Elliott's notes explain in full on Page 19.
Track 3 is an 'Alternate Vocal Remix' of "The Boys Are Back In Town" which features different verses in the latter half of the song
Tracks 5 to 8 are "Jailbreak", "Emerald", "Cowboy Song" and "Warriors" - all BBC Sessions recorded 12 February 1976 in London for The John Peel Show
Track 9 is an 'Extended Version' of "Fight Or Fall" (5:21 minutes)
Track 10 is a 'Previously Unreleased Studio Track' called "Blues Boy"
Track 11 is "Derby Blues" - an 'Early Live Version Of Cowboy Song' recorded at The Derby College Of Technology in the UK on 2 November 1975
NOTE - EXTRA TRACK DISC 2: the outer packaging lists only 10 tracks on Disc 2 - but there is 11 as documented above

SOUND and EXTRAS:
SOUND first - and 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...

So what does the remaster on Disc 1 sound like? It's fantastic to my ears - bringing out Phil Alcock's original production values on every track. There is hiss on some songs, but it's minimal and hasn't been compressed out of existence - presence and power haven't been sacrificed - just amplified. Downey's drumming is suddenly a force to be reckoned with too rather than being something that was muddled in the back of the mix somewhere. The rockers like "Jailbreak", "The Warrior" and "Emerald" now sound just HUGE (Gorham and Robertson's solos still make the hairs stand up), while the more plaintive tunes are great too. You can hear Tim Hinckley's keyboards on the lovely "Running Back" (lyrics above), the ultra-tight acoustic guitars on "Romeo And The Lonely Girl" and when the twin electric guitars kick-in on "Cowboy Song" after the lonesome harmonica intro - the effect is magical.

EXTRAS - the extras on Disc 2 are far better than I thought they would be - they really are. They don't trump the originals, but the Joe Elliott 'remixes' are very good. You can hear why the lyrics were changed in the 'Alternate' "Boys Are Back In Town" - and frankly how he improved it so much (what a perfect little song it is). The already polished versions of "Cowboy Song" and "The Warrior" in the BBC Session of February 1976 are absolutely extraordinary and beautifully captured by in-house Producer Tony Wilson - Lizzy were 'so' good - you can just 'hear' how the new material was on fire. The extended "Fight Or Fall" features countrified slide guitars - it sounds like a Vagabond's outtake or The Allman Brothers doing a loose jam - it's fabulous and for me a genuine surprise. But then comes the real deal for starved fans - a new Lynott song called "Blues Boy" - and as its title suggests, it's a chugging Blues riff. Musically it's very similar to the opening slink of "Pretzel Logic" by Steely Dan, but with guitars instead of keyboards. It's just great and would have made a superb B-side. Chunky guitar work too...bit of dialogue at the end...what a treat!

Arguements will rage over the 'remaster' on Disc 1, and the misprinted track selections on Disc 2 documented above is a bit sloppy, but for me Disc 2 is worth the entry price alone. And reading Joe Elliott's page on the handling of the 'remixes', you sense his enthusiasm and especially his affection for this great band and it's enigmatic front man. I saw Lizzy several times live in Dublin during those incredible years and they were an awesome thing to behold. Disc 2 has only reminded me of that.

To sum up - a remaster of the album (albeit still embroiled in controversy so docked a star), properly expanded packaging, genuine bonus tracks and all at a reasonable price.

Despite the 'issues' surrounding this release - "Jailbreak" is still recommended like a large neat whiskey down at Dino's Bar 'n' Grill...

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", "Johnny The Fox" and "Live & Dangerous" (2CD/1DVD)
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on 21 February 2011
The seminal studio album from Thin Lizzy's long and distinguished career in British rock music. The album that brought them to the attention of millions from both sides of the Atlantic.

Jailbreak spwaned the massive hit single of the summer 1976, The Boys Are Back in Town, an anthem for the youth of society not caught up in the New Wave phenomenom. However, the album delivered so much more than just one hit single. It was the tangible proof of the unique guitar harmony sound that became the band's trademark and evidence of true graft put in by messers Lynot, Downey and the gunslingers; Gorham and Robertson.

Time has served this album well and it stands out today as a fine collection of songs across the rock genre from the aforesaid hook laden Boys are Back to genuine hard but melodic anthems Emerald, Warriors and the title track through the marvellously romantic tale of Cowboy Song. All of which remained staples of the band's legendary live shows.

This remastered series, lovingly recreated by Gorham and Downey faithfully assisted by Def Leppard's Joe Elliott serves as a reminder in the year of the 25th anniversary of Phil Lynott's tragic death that when Thin Lizzy were good they were truly awesome.
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on 27 January 2011
Beautifully packaged pristine sounding classic Thin Lizzy album. (They screwed up though on Disc Two track listing as a previous reviewer noted)

The first thing that jumped out at me was Brian Downeys drumming and Its restoration for 2011 is the backbone of this album as far as I'm concerned. Gorham and Robertsons Les Pauls also shine like newly polished silverwear.
The other highlight for me are the BBC Sessions recorded a month before the album was released in February 76.
Jailbreak, Emerald and Warriors from these sessions sound better than the album versions.

I personally thought Bad Reputation was Lizzys best studio album and would love to hear that remastered sometime, but this album gets five stars for being first of all 1976s Jailbreak but also for the work that has obviously went into its restoration for 2011.
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on 2 October 2015
A classic for many reasons. I grew up listening to Lizzy and even as a 13 year the quality of their sound amazed me. It's not just the fact they turned out one great record after another for several years but the innovation and creativity shown during this time. Most rock fans admire the classic guitar riffs like smoke on the water and Eric Clapton's layla. Lizzy produced instantly recognisable riffs time and time again. On this album its easy to concentrate on the title track jailbreak and the boys are back in town but the entire album is brilliant, filled with great guitar licks. If you purchase the deluxe edition, as I did, you're in for another treat. Sometimes I think deluxe editions are pretty much a waste pf time. Often filled with 2nd and 3rd takes and band interviews. Obviously all a natter of opinion but on this album you get some of Lizzy's BBC session recordings. Listen to the raw power on jailbreak.. Blew me away. To put things in a nutshell.. A classic album by a great band. Couldn't recommend more.
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on 19 May 2011
For years and years,Scott Gorham has whinged about the poor production of the Lizzy albums.I must add to my knowledge,no other member of Lizzy ever commented on this and I've no interview of Phillip Lynott mentioning this either,cynical are'nt I ? So Scott and his pal Joe Elliot of Def Leppard,got hold of the master tapes,stripped 'em down to just Phils bass and voice and built the songs back up again and hey presto here we are ,2 disc deluxe addition 2010 re-masters.Or are we ?? Various internet forum sites state that these are not new re-masters but just the 1996 versions,with an added bonus disc.Certainly to my ears ,Jailbreak (album) sounds clearer,but has'nt hit home like Scott promised us.Joe Elliot does mention they only had a tiny budget to do this,but if these are the 1996 versions,where did the budget go? Joe the expert, also mentions that 'technically' the little guitar solo on 'Boys are Back in Town ,is out of tune ,which to my mind says 3 things; 1.Who cares? 2.Coming from someone who's band totally embrace a perfect STUDIO sound & perfectionist mindset,that spend millions in the studio,then why o why is he invoved in Lizzy's re mastering at all,& with such a small budget,whatever it is ? & 3. Anyone ever seen/heard Elliot sing 'LIVE, IN-TUNE?,Thought not!'In fairness the bonus disc is of some interest ,the remixs' of Jailbreak and Emerald are fantastic as are the 2 versions of the 'Boys are Back in town' although 1 version would've done,but should Scott be doing this without the others involvement,especially as Thin Lizzy was Phillips band,who obviously can't express his take on these re-masters!Told you I was a cynic! Previously unreleased track Blues Boy is here as is a Radio 1 session version of Warriors.However,this package loses marks and value for money as other 'bonus material'i.e. the other Radio 1 session tracks were all previously released on the 'Peel Sessions'album and Derby Blues was on the 'U.K. Tour '75 album from a couple of years ago,so please be aware when you part with your hard earned cash,for this!Cynicism aside,there are some fabulous songs on here,if you don't already own this,you should own some version of it!5 stars for music, 3 stars for this concept and sales pitch!
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on 18 February 2011
Classic A grade rock but where is the production guitarist Scott Gorham longed for? The chronological original album deserves better. Remastering only cleans it up, you need to remix from the original tapes. Forget about Fred, Joe and Uncle Sam's remix just get in a pro who can find the power and retain the band identity. The Wishbone Ash Argus remix by Martin Turner is a great example of how it's done. If you heard "Opium Trail" and "Bad Reputation" (complete with drum solo) on the Live Killers 12" Vinyl EP version from Seneca 1977 you would know the power of Lizzy. Massive.
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on 12 November 2015
A classic. The best studio album without a doubt
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on 16 August 2011
This is one of the all time greats.
Over the years I have bought this album on vinyl, Cassette, CD and now the deluxe edition CD.
I think that speaks for itself.
Classic 70's Rock from the great Thin Lizzy.
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on 27 January 2011
THIS IS A GREAT REISSUE, HOWEVER THERE IS ONE BIG PROBLEM WITH THIS RELEASE. THE DISC 2 TRACK LISTING ON THE BACK COVER IS WRONG! EVERY SONG IS ONE TRACK OUT DUE TO MISSING OUT "THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN (ALTERNATE VOCAL MIX)" AS TRACK 3, ALTHOUGH THIS TRACK IS ON THE CD. UNIVERSAL/MERCURY ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND ARE GOING TO REPRESS THE CD AGAIN WITH THIS ERROR CORRECTED. THIS IS REALLY UNACCEPTABLE ON THE RECORD COMPANY'S PART AS IT'S SUCH AN OBVIOUS MISTAKE AND NO ONE NOTICED IT. DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND WAIT UNTIL THE CORRECTED VERSION COMES OUT, ALTHOUGH I DO NOT KNOW HOW LONG THIS IS GOING TO BE. FOR FURTHER INFO CONTACT UNIVERSAL ON 0845 250 0965.
ALL THIN LIZZY FANS, PLEASE DON'T BUY THESE DELUXE REISSUES, NOT AT LEAST UNTIL THEY'VE CORRECTED ALL THE ERRORS. THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN COMPILING THESE ALBUMS DON'T DESERVE A PENNY OF YOUR MONEY UNTIL THE PROBLEMS HAS BEEN SORTED!

All the tracks are muddled up on the back of the CD cover, but the track listing on the back of the CD booklet is correct. The Amazon UK track listing is also correct.
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on 24 March 2012
A superb collection of Thin Lizzy tracks. This album has been well put together.
A real tribute to the great Phil Lynott, Scott Gorman, Brian Downey and Brian Robertson.
Excellent stuff, just get yer cash out an buy it now!
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