46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
"...And I Come Running...Running Back To You Again...",
This review is from: Jailbreak (Audio CD)
"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...
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...
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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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jan 2011 16:59:15 GMT
Another superb, well written and informative review. Many thanks, Mark!
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2011 20:34:48 GMT
Red on Black says:
Mark you are costing me a fortune!. Just bought the fab Live and Dangerous package but fear that the completist in me will not be satisfied until this is in the record rack. Great review as always.
Cheers R o B
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2011 20:51:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jan 2011 21:25:04 GMT
Am finishing the "Johnny The Fox" and "Live And Dangerous" reviews tonight and tomorrow.
Two friends of mine of old (Michael Keating and Niall Humphries) are buried in the same graveyard as Phil - I always visit the 3 when I go back. They died of the same related thing as Phil.
I once saw Lynott and Steve Cook with one of other Sex Pistols in a Dublin Dance Club in 1979 in the Northside - they were credited as THE GREEDY BASTARDS. They made one single on Vertigo and wisely shortened the name to The Greedies. They were out of their boxes of course, but could still bring the house down!
Like most Dubliners I can't really be rational about either Rory Gallagher or Thin Lizzy who both blew me away as a kid - I used to try and catch all the hip and happening gigs in The Moran's Hotel and The Dublin Stadium. I just wish they were all around now to know how much affection they're still held in...
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2011 12:34:07 GMT
Richard Devlin says:
Anyone got an extra Boys are Back in Town as track one on Disc 2 that's not listed on the sleeve?
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2011 13:56:09 GMT
You know what Richard - you've got me on that one...
You're right - there is 11 tracks on Disc 2 with only 10 listed on the rear of the sleeve. I've documented the 11 tracsk in the review, but I've now added an explanation about that anomaly.
Posted on 27 Jan 2011 00:45:09 GMT
Jan M. Tomasko says:
Mark, Nice review, I am reading in this America where this is scheduled to be released in 2 more weeks, it is like waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve if you know what I mean. One thing that has bothered me for many years and maybe you know the answer. Why when this album was initially remastered some years back did the cover change? This has puzzled me because Scott Gorham has been flying the Lizzy flag for the last decade but his character for some reason is no longer on the Overlord's monitor, do you know why? I see this version only has 3 characters as well.....
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jan 2011 01:40:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Jan 2011 01:42:10 GMT
Well - the original die-cut front sleeve of the gatefold on the vinyl LP shows only 3 of the band as the characters 'breaking out', but when you opened the gatefold - there was the fourth - Scott Gorham. Someone has noticed this and reproduced the inner artwork as a smaller photo in the booklet (picturing the 4)...so yes he's in there.
I'm reviewing the "Live And Dangerous" set next, but have to say I'm a tad disappointed in it - only 2 new tracks - and a truncated DVD that most fans already own - not an awful lot for your money - on what is probably their most iconic album - and talk about missing artwork - none of the inner gatefold - nor any of the two inners!
Anyway, hope that helps...
Posted on 29 Jan 2011 11:14:05 GMT
Paul M says:
Very good and thorough review, will save me the bother.The one thing that bugs me about this release is the "remixed" versions. I for one do not like tinkering like this, as it negates the authenticity of the original recordings, however well intentioned.
All the best
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Feb 2011 04:37:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Feb 2011 04:38:54 GMT
Invisible Pedestrian says:
Sadly it appears these CDs were NOT remastered at all and the band refused to allow the actual remastering to be used. Not sure why. Also, there are mistakes in the track listing as well and these are supposed to be corrected. The engineers also supposedly want their names off the credits.
Not sure what people are hearing claiming these are better when nothing was done at all. This is my favorite band but what the hell happened here?
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2011 20:20:09 GMT
Martin Slater says:
"Not sure what people are hearing claiming these are better when nothing was done at all. This is my favorite band but what the hell happened here? " - my thoughts exactly. No doubt, after shelling out your hard earned, folk want to hear a difference