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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a very welcome replacement for my old LP of this album, which is sitting sadly neglected in the garage, along with all my other vinyl. I would say the key notes of this album are melancholy and energy. The melancholy comes through in many of the songs both melodically and lyrically, especially on numbers like my personal favourite, 'Honesty Is No Excuse', and the very beautiful and precociously time-aware 'Saga Of The Ageing Orphan', as well as the obvious saudade* of 'Remembering Pt. 1'.

Energy wise, this is a young band trying out all kinds of ideas. Some of these ideas work better than others - several of the songs, like opener 'The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle' do seem like fragmented patchworks of ideas rather than songs (the individual ideas are at least, on the whole, very interesting), whilst others, from 'Honesty Is No Excuse' to 'Eire' and 'Saga Of The Ageing Orphan' are fully-formed songs, if not yet as strong as Lynott or the band would ultimately wax. But, as many point out, this captures Lizzy in a fantastic open-ended early phase, and some of the material is just fabulous: 'Remembering Pt. 2 (New Day)' is an absolute blinder and was (and I had considered myself a fairly devote Lizzy fan) completely new to me. Indeed, the whole New Day EP is fantastic.

Throughout most of this music Phil's voice already sounds surprisingly and beautifully mature. Downey's drumming has the ferocious near uncontrolled energy of youth, is often quite exploratory, and frequently just downright superb. But he would improve as he grew more restrained, focussed, and sensitive as an ensemble player. Eric Bell's guitar is very different form the twin guitar sound Lizzy would later become famed for, but is certainly interesting. I prefer Bell's acoustic guitar work on the whole (although I like the funky wah-wah riff in 'Ray Gun'), his melodic elaborations in 'Saga Of The Ageing Orphan' are lovely, and sometimes find his rockier playing lacks form and sounds a bit random, especially compared with the tightly focussed guitar playing of future Lizzy six-stringers.

Although there might seem to be few clues as to the 'classic' Lizzy sound to come, I think that depends what aspects of Lizzy you treasure. Whilst I dig Lizzy's heavier, rockier side, I happen to have an even softer spot for Lynott and co.'s mellower side, and the roots of that are very evident here, albeit in a more kaleidoscopic and even slightly proggy/psychedelic manner. The sound quality itself is, I feel (not all reviewers agree on this), massively improved over earlier releases, with great clarity, presence and strength to the mix, giving it more power and immediacy. As already mentioned above, the New Day EP material is wonderful. But then so are the '77 remixes. So often such tampering can prove fatal. Not here.

A great package for the Lizzy/Lynott lover. Within Lizzy's own output, I'd say some of this ranges between three and four stars, but with a decent slab of five star action spread throughout. But as a treasure trove of diverse, interesting and often very moving early music from a great band, and in comparison with so much of the lacklustre 'produce' out there, this is, I feel, fully deserving of five stars, especially as it collates and expands upon an already great set of music, making it sound better than ever into the bargain.

* Not a misspelling of sausage! But a Brazilian word we don't really have an equivalent for, meaning... well, it's hard to describe, but Lynott and Lizzy have it in spades, so to speak. Wikipedia has a very good definition of it if you need clarification!
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on 3 June 2017
Again very raw sound .Classy nevertheless.
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on 12 December 2009
Occasionally you discover something you never expected. This is just that. Yes, there are the early signs of what was to come such as the live-friendly "Return of the Fathers Son" and the rousing "Old Moon Madness". But there is so much more to Thin Lizzy on this box of tricks. From the inspired "Friendly Ranger" to the beautiful "Eire" and "Ageing Orphan", I can't remember being so enthralled with an old classic since I picked up Jethro Tull's "Benefit" a few years ago. Like that cd, there is just so much going on with Thin Lizzy's debut you can never get bored. Lynott's voice is just mesmerizing. If it's not already in your 1970's collection of great albums, then your collection just isn't complete.
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This new 18 October 2010 CD on Decca 984 447-7 (Barcode 602498444771) remasters Thin Lizzy's debut album for Decca/London Records and adds on a further 9 bonus tracks (it was initially slated for a 25 February 2008 release, but cancelled).

Here's a detailed breakdown for the Expanded Edition CD Remaster of "Thin Lizzy" by THIN LIZZY (71:40 minutes):

1. The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle [Side 1]
2. Honesty Is No Excuse
3. Diddy Levine
4. Ray-Gun
5. Look What The Wind Blew In
6. Eire [Side 2]
7. Return Of The Farmer's Son
8. Clifton Grange Hotel
9. Saga Of The Ageing Orphan
10. Remembering
Tracks 1 to 10 are the debut album "Thin Lizzy" issued on 30 April 1971 in the UK on Decca SKL 5082 and October 1971 in the USA on London PS 594. Produced by SCOTT ENGLISH - it didn't chart in either country.

The album was well received - especially by Britain’s influential RADIO 1 DJ David "Kid" Jensen who championed the band and their platter as much as he could. In 1973 Kid Jensen put substance to his love of the band by turning up as the vocalist in the story song "The Hero & The Madman" on "Vagabonds Of The Western World". The style of Lizzy's debut was a mixture of Rock, Folk and even some Jazzy and Progressive elements. It highlighted Lynott's great voice and lyrics and Eric Bell's superbly diverse guitar playing. The catchy riff of "Look What The Wind Blew In" (lyrics above) would have made a good lead off single - but no 7" ever came off the album. Standing alone it makes for a warm listen but it's the bonuses on this issue that make it an all- together more tasty beast.

11. The Farmer
Track 11 is the A-side of Lizzy's legendary debut single on Parlophone Records DIP 513. Issued in IRELAND-ONLY it was mistakenly credited to THIN LIZZIE and released on the last day of July 1970. Its first CD appearance came on the superb "Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels" 4CD Box Set from 2001. As Thin Lizzy was an unknown - its release in that summer of 1970 went completely unnoticed and legend has it that it shifted less than 100 copies. A genuine rarity - the definitive authority that is the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide of 2018 lists it at £1000 (has done for years) - but try finding one! Its inclusion here in upgraded sound quality is a genuine bonus to fans (it wasn't on the original 1991 re-issue CD). As to the song itself - "The Farmer" is not a great track by any stretch of the imagination and it's also the only song in their cannon to feature the original keyboardist Eric Wrixon who soon departed ranks and isn't on the debut LP. Unfortunately its equally rare and unheard B-side "I Need You" isn't represented on this new reissue (no explanation) - a very real shame that.

12. Dublin
13. Remembering Part II (New Day)
14. Old Moon Madness
15. Things Ain't Working Out Down at The Farm
Tracks 12 to 15 make up what’s known as the "NEW DAY" EP. Recorded across 3 days in July 1971, the non-album 4-track Extended Play was released in Britain after the album on 20 August 1971 as Decca F 13208. Most copies came in a Decca Label Bag, but rare ones carried a beautiful gatefold picture sleeve (very rare and again very expensive – £300+ - I've only ever seen one in my life). It was also a MAXI PLAY EP, in other words it spun at LP speed of 33 1/3. Its four tracks were laid out as follows:
Side A: 1. Dublin 2. Remembering Part II (New Day)
Side B: 1. Old Moon Madness 2. Things Ain't Working Out Down at The Farm
Their first outing on compact disc came on the 1991 reissue of the album as its only bonus tracks, and in the relatively early days of CD issues, the sound quality was good, but not great. In 2000 two of the tracks turned up on the "Classic – The Universal Masters Collection" set in hugely improved sound quality. This October 2010 issue is the first time ALL FOUR TRACKS are presented in the one place in truly exceptional remastered sound quality. Eric Bell's guitar work on "Remembering Part II (New Day)" is just great and makes this extended release a much more rocking listen.

16. Look What The Wind Blew In
17. Honesty is No Excuse
18. Dublin
19. Things Ain’t Working out Down At The Farm
Tracks 16 to 19 are 'December 1977' remixes and re-workings – they first turned up on the 1979 UK Decca compilation album "The Continuing Saga Of The Ageing Orphans" and have never been on CD before. They contain guitar and keyboard 'extra' contributions from MIDGE URE of ULTRAVOX and GARY MOORE of CBS Records' SKID ROW (later of course to join Thin Lizzy itself). However, in order to sequence that 1979 compilation from CD you’ll need 3 CD remasters - "Thin Lizzy", "Shade Of A Blue Orphanage" and the 2CD Deluxe Edition edition of their 3rd album "Vagabonds Of The Western World" (see my review).

The newly upgraded 16-page booklet is peppered with black and whites photos of the boys looking confident and chipper and a very cool and rare poster naming them as the support act to the FACES on the 8th of October 1971 in the Royal Ballroom at Boscombe in Bournemouth. The knowledgeable and detailed liner notes by MARK POWELL go into the band’s history as Orphanage, Phil’s stint with Ireland’s Skid Row, their debut single on Parlophone in Ireland and their eventual signing to Decca in the UK. It’s very well written and its all been run by Philomena - Phil's mum.

As with "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage" and the 2CD Deluxe Edition of "Vagabonds Of The Western World" - Audio Engineer PASCHAL BYRNE has remastered this 2010 CD with hugely improved results. I've raved about his work before (see my reviews for "Ain't No Saint" the 4CD John Martyn box set and "Blues From Laurel Canyon" by John Mayall) - and this set is no different. The first generation tapes have been used - not too brash - fantastic presence - each track a revelation.

Taking their name from a character in the 'Beano' comic book called "Tin Lizzie", the band were still a three-piece at this point - PHILIP LYNOTT on Vocals and Bass, ERIC BELL on Guitars and Keyboards with BRIAN DOWNEY on Drums. The famous dual guitar blasts of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson are years away, so those expecting "Fighting" or "Jailbreak" should really look further ahead.

SCOTT ENGLISH produced the stage-rehearsed 10 songs in 5 days in January 1971 – and the result was a great debut rather than just a starting point. Rockers like "Look What The Wind Blew In" and the Hendrix-influenced "Ray-Gun" sat comfortably alongside more folky offerings like "Honesty Is No Excuse" and the early Horslips folk-rock vibe of “The Friendly Ranger Of Clontarf Castle” (I come from Clontarf in Dublin). The bass and plucked guitar of "Clifton Grange Hotel" is fantastically clear and the hiss that seemed to inflict previous versions of "Saga Of The Ageing Orphan" is largely gone. The "New Day" EP sounds far better too over the 1991 CD issue. And I love the rocking guitar work put in by Midge Ure on the 1977 modernised remix of "Things Ain't Working Out Down At The Farm". Very nice indeed…

To sum up – lovers of lesser-known Seventies rock sound invest in this - the remaster is fabulous, the bonus tracks genuinely good and I picked it up for less than a fiver.

Recommended like the refreshing breeze on Dublin's Dollymount Beach…

PS: see also my reviews for the 2010 versions of "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage”, the long-delayed 2CD Deluxe Edition of "Vagabonds Of The Western World” as well the Deluxe Editions of “Fighting”, “Jailbreak”, “Johnny The Fox”, “Live And Dangerous” and “Bad Reputation” and “Classic Thin Lizzy: The Universal Masters Collection”…
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on 31 January 2001
This is not the sound of the Thin Lizzy who became famous. The powerful but overwhelming and simplistic twin-guitar sound of 'Live and Dangerous' is absent. There is a range of emotions here lost in the mid-late 70s' work. We've got a trio here with the stunning Eric Bell on melodic, jazzy guitar. His measured, unhurried, velvety guitar on 'The Friendly Ranger...' (I'd call it Hawaiian, but I suppose it's some delay effect) is sheer beauty. There is a sweeping exhilaration on 'Honesty is No Excuse' (guest mellotron-player on that track) absent from the later macho-stuff. The guitar riff on 'Look What the Wind Blew In' is to my ears totally original, and the solo simply inspired and oh so fast. 'Clifton Grange Hotel' has a loose, confident funkiness. 'Saga of the Ageing Orphan' is a saddish, reflective ballad. It's a pity that Thin Lizzy became so one-dimensional after this and the second album -- not the received wisdom, I know, but try this and you might agree. (Anyway, you can give it to a guitarist friend who will surely profit from it.) The last four tracks, incidentally, were originally on a four-track E.P., not on the album.
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on 15 December 2010
Prior to the classic Gorham/Robertson line-up ,Thin Lizzy were a three piece band and Belfast man Eric Bell was their sole electric guitarist.

Thin Lizzy's debut album was recorded between 4th and 9th January 1971 (poigniantly, Phil Lynott would die exactly 15years later on 4th January 1986).The album was produced by an American called Scott English who had previously written 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' for Jeff Beck.

I personally find this album to be one of Lizzy's most interesting and enthralling both musically and lyrically.Phil's vocals here are soulful,committed and impassioned for the most part,but also sensitive and mellow at other times.His bass playing is imaginitive and mainly unhindered throughout.Eric Bell shows a strong Hendrix influence at times but also a cleaner sound to good effect at others.Brian Downey demonstrates that he knows how to compliment a song,rather than simply bashing away on the drums in a cliched, bombastic manner like so many less intelligent drummers have so often tended to do.

What separates classic Lynott/T.Lizzy from other, lesser, rock groups is their wider range of musical styles and influences and their own unique charm.This collection has plenty of charm and several very interesting songs . Here are some of my favourites (in no particular order)1'Honesty is no Excuse'-some Van Morrison style vocal phrasings,2'Diddy Levine'-great story telling, lasting just under 7 minutes long;"Inheritance ,you see, runs through every family...Who is to say what is to be is any better?".3'Look What the Wind Blew In'-original and exciting with a clever play on the words gale/Gail ,"Then somewhere from the north,this Gail I knew just blew in";Gail was Phil's girlfriend!4'Eire'-sounds every inch the epic,even though it lasts just over 2mins duration ;"In the land of Eire there sat a High King ,faced with a problem...dreaded Vikings !'.5'Saga of the Ageing Orphan'-contains a strong autobiographical theme ,making mention of Phil's Uncle Peter and his Grandmother.6'Clifton Grange Hotel'-a song about Phil's Mother's hotel in Manchester.Also contained here are 4 bonus tracks from an E.P produced by Nick Tauber.My favourite of these 4 tracks is 'Dublin' with it's heartfelt lyrics and it's delicate,almost vulnerable sounding, vocals.

This may not be the Thin Lizzy that you already know but I believe that it is a Thin Lizzy that is also well worth discovering and getting to know.No big ,flashy production here, but honest and original,often heartfelt and personal, songs recorded in a relatively clear and straightforward fashion...a breath of fresh air!
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on 8 April 2013
Rather than review the music on this album (which many other people have already done), it might be handy for some people to know about the vinyl re-issue from Light In The Attic which I purchased from a Amazon Marketplace seller recently. It comes in a heavy duty gatefold sleeve with the original UK Decca artwork on the front & rear of the sleeve and inside the gatefold you get the original US London records artwork. The front of the sleeve also has a Japanese style obi strip which gives details to any potential purchasers in a record shop (are there any left?).
Also included in the package is a 4 page booklet which gives extensive background information to the making of their first LP and an interview with Eric Bell plus some B&W photos. There is also a large poster included & a Light In The Attic 32 page mini magazine which has articles on their other releases.
The vinyl is 180g in weight and sounds very good with no pressing blemishes that I can hear or see. A lovely sound utilizing a 24bit/96kHz mastering from the original tapes. And to put the cherry on top of the whole package, the original UK Decca labels are reproduced on the record itself.
All in all a superb vinyl re-issue which puts a lot of other companies to shame. If only all re-issues were like this.
4 stars for the music (reviewed many times elsewhere as previously mentioned) & 5 stars for the Light In The Attic edition.
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on 20 September 2007
The album is very progressive in style and very different to the period when Thin Lizzy became superstars. However if Thin Lizzy had carried on in this vain, they would have created great music. The album is folky sounding in places and even moving. This album contains the original album, along with the EP and then 1977 remixes of various songs from the album and EP.

It is essential listening for all Lizzy fans and I would recommend it to any progressive music fans who might not be so keen on Thin Lizzy's later classic rock style.

I am reviewing the promo copy so I cannot comment on the album sleeve notes/design.
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on 6 December 2010
very good much more folk than there later stuff, still some really good song. remaster sound is good bonus stuff is good. buy it .... what are you waiting for ?
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on 31 May 2010
I bought this album after reading glowing reviews on the amazon site & anticipated a good old celtic folk rock album,after all whisky in the jar was a great track from Lizzy around that period! What I got instead was a songwriter trying to find direction & obviously not getting anywhere with this bunch of poorly crafted songs. An album for completists only.
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