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4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 9 August 2007
Often ignored or maligned, 'Johnny The Fox' suffers only from having to follow an album widely considered Lizzy's best. I'm intrigued to see one reviewer saying this is rawer than 'Jailbreak.' In my opinion, there are more rough edges on that album and more bounce in the production of this one, a refinement that was to continue on subsequent releases.
'Johnny' is a confident, archetypal opening and 'Rocky' maintains the momentum. 'Don't Believe A Word' is one of my favourite Lizzy tracks, topped by a spiralling guitar solo. The title track is dirty and funky, allowing Phil Lynott to go all dramatic. 'Massacre' is one of Lynott's more intense folk tales. The two mellow tracks, 'Borderline' and 'Sweet Marie' are exquisite, the latter shimmering. 'Fool's Gold' and 'Old Flame' are a little less impressive, yet still worth their place. Only the closing 'Boogie Woogie Dance' is a mistake, a clumsy track.
Don't ignore this album if you like Thin Lizzy.
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on 5 June 2009
About 9 million years ago (seems like, anyway) I put Johnny The Fox on my Christmas wish-list. It was 1976, I was 13 and had already been seduced by Lizzy's magnificent Jailbreak album. I wanted more. In those days people actually waited to get albums for Christmas rather than go out and buy what they fancied right away. Well that's what happened in our house. Anyway...the months passed, I stayed patient and then suddenly there it was on December 25th!
I unwrapped it to discover a fabulously Celtic yet slightly odd, slightly shady cover, fantastic band photos (Christ were Lizzy cool back then!)and then there was the music. Much more dramatic and mature themes in many ways compared to the slightly cheesey ones offered up in Jailbreak - at least that's what I thought. I was now a grown up!
JTF was and IS a masterpiece - it is maginificent in EVERY respect. I have never stopped loving it. it's clever, articulate, moving, scintillating and sounds just incredible. I love guitars and this is a big reason why! The riffing and soloing is actually really understated with Robertson & Gorham going about their work with a 'less is more' approach. The result is often dreamily beautiful. These are players at the height of there powers. These are solos you can whistle for God's sake! Solos you find inside 10 great songs. Ignore the 2 stars from various anoraks here - they know nothing. If this isn't a five star rock album then my name's Barry Manilow...
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on 9 September 2001
I bought JAILBREAK the other day and listening to it, I found it to be an entertaining enough mixture of hard driving rock (e.g. the title track, The Boys Are Back In Town, Warriors, The Cowboy Song), love ballads and funk rock. But it doesn't quite have the energy of its successor. JOHNNY THE FOX is perhaps the band's best studio album and the last one to fully feature the talents of Brian 'Robbo' Robertson who would later join Motorhead. The best tracks are Johnny, Rocky, Fool's Gold, Old Flame, Don't Believe A Word and Massacre, all sturdy heavy rock tunes which showcase the dynamic Gorham/Robertson partnership. Borderline and Sweet Marie are considerably softer, but the lads end on a high note with the pumping Boogie Woogie Dance. The previous reviewer knocked this one and it might be a bit muffled, but probably never has Phil Lynott brilliantly combined disco funk with all-out hard rock.
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on 30 April 2005
Even better than I recalled. I last heard it 25 years ago on vinyl -- some of the newer CDs were not as well re-mastered but this one sounds ace. The opening track really makes you stop and sit up and listen and the whole album is just great (even the rather odd Boogie Woogie Dance has its moments). Of course, this is golden era Brian Robertson, Scott Gorham vintage.
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on 13 August 2005
I bought this as an Lp in the early 1990,s .But soon bought every Thin Lizzy cd i could but the three Lizzy albums i most play is this one ,Bad Reputation & Chinatown . Fool,s Gold has to be one of the most brilliantly written tracks i have ever heard ,and after playing the album again and again you soon realise that you are listening to the most talented ,charasmatic and thoughtfull musician that the world is ever likely to witness.The whole cd apart from track ten is breathtaking . Phillip Lynott was a true genius ,he could perform rock,funk as on this album or a different style as on the Fats track on the Renegade album . Dave Leicester.
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on 11 April 2007
This Album was released straight after Jalibreak penned by PL whilst from his sick bed after collapsing during the ill fated US Jailbreak tour. The Album stands in the shadows of Jailbreak but in my opinion is a more raw album reflecting more of the lizzy sound and cutting edge than the very polished and unflawed jailbreak.

The Album starts of with a great heavy riff based song Rocky and followed by Johny both great tracks with heavy guitar riffs, great vocals and potent lyrics. Borderline is a well constructed country style Ballad which sits will in amongst the more rockier songs. 'Don't Believe a word' has stood the test of time with Robbo's legendary solo exploding into the song which you never get tired of hearing. 'Fools Gold' despite it's weak spoken intro is great song with superb guitar Harmonies bursting into action around PL's story of failed Gold Diggers in the Mid West.

Johny The Fox a funky-jazz riff song and Massacre although reasonable could never live upto the Live and Dangerous versions released 2 years later. Boogie Woogie Dance is garbage and should have not been on the Album, Sweet Marie is a forgettable ballad but Old Flame is superb bringing out the best of Lynott sentiment along the lines of With Love and Wild One making this in my opinion the stand out track on the Album.

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on 9 June 2015
For me this album is the best Thin Lizzy work of their classical Robertson/Gorham era. I like it much better than "Fighting", "Jailbreak" or "Bad Reputation". An essential purchase for any Thin Lizzy fan.
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on 28 December 2012
Thin Lizzy approaching their peak.Great celtic musicality in the opening two tracks, Johnny and Rocky.Classic slowie Borderline let's you catch your breath then its away again with Don't believe a word. Fools gold.The end is a bit patchy as if the bars opening and they need to finish. Old flame,Sweet Marie and Boogie Woogie dance are weaker but massacre is better.
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on 17 September 2010
Jailbreak. Phew - what an act to follow. Too tough an act for some people - through time this album has either been criticised for being 'a rushed follow-up', 'a pale successor' and 'treading water' or damned with faint praise with comments like 'good solid effort'. So what's the problem with Johnny The Fox? Apart from lacking the total killer anthem that made The Boys Are Back In Town such a time-in-a-bottle moment during 1976 and a slight tailing-off of quality towards the end of what was side two the simple answer is there isn't one. Had JTF preceded Jailbreak rather than followed it then many pundits would have seen it in a much more positive light. Whatever album followed Jailbreak would probably have been saddled with lame duck status so it was a no-win situation. The album itself is just part of that excellent cycle that started with Fighting and ended with Black Rose - surely it's a testament to Lizzy's industry and creativity during this period that this album could be so good despite being released so quickly in the wake of Jailbreak's success. There is a hint of the concept running through it but only because the character Johnny is featured on more than one song. As a whole, this is Lizzy near the top of their game - prime chunks of hard rock with a toothsome melodic sauce and a side-order of funkiness. During this period only Status Quo could match them for being the greatest blue-collar hard rock band around but, unlike Quo, Lizzy managed to keep the quality control relatively high into the 80s and stay the people's champions. If compiling a personal Lizzy comp from the Robbo/Moore studio output I'd easily find room for at least half of the tracks here: Johnny, Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed, Don't Believe A Word, Massacre etc - if one could include that many then surely that is a true litmus test of any worthy album?
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on 26 January 2015
I remember this album from way back when. Probably the last decent thing they did, in my opinion.
Sorry to say though that the opening track seems to suddenly cut out just a few seconds from the end
as the music is fading away, somewhat spoiling the enjoyment and excitement of that particular piece of music.
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