photo & text by nacrowe
i cant help but smile every time i hear a song off the JAILBREAK (MERCURY, 1976) album by THIN LIZZY on the radio.
to me that record is the very definition of bravado in rock music. this is no doubt largely due to the contributions of singer/basist/songwriter PHIL LYNOTT, who is a absolute legend and arguably the great IRISH frontman of all-time (sorry BONO). i carry an IRISH last name and he is the sort of dude (like SHANE MCGOWAN, OSCAR WILDE or JOHNNY MARR) that makes me proud of my ancestral heritage. which is funny because LYNOTT has little in the way of vocal range, but makes up for such immeasurably with an everyman, working-class swagger and attitude that makes you root for him implicitly, especially in celebrated songs like "WARRIORS," "THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN" and "JAILBREAK". that sense of audience connection is really what THIN LIZZY is about at their core.
thats not to say that their sound wasnt influential. the synchronized dual lead guitar work of BRIAN ROBERTSON and SCOTT GORMAN, especially on the epic "EMERALD" provided the template that was later adopted by NWOBHM bands like JUDAS PRIEST and later THRASH METAL bands like SLAYER, METALLICA and MEGADETH and their acolytes in MASTODON, AVENGED SEVENFOLD and beyond. the synchronized dual lead sound THIN LIZZY popularized is such a potent, powerful sound. to my ears it seems very reminiscent of CELTIC FOLK MUSIC, which often relies on the interplay of stringed instruments coming in and out of synchronicity, creating a complex, overpowering sonic texture to sing over. it also creates a sense of immediacy and emotional power, which makes sense given the IRISH lyrical traditions of celebration and mourning the best and worst life has to offer. again, its a sound that is very IRISH at its core.
a seminal record by a historically criminally underrated band from the 1970s. well worth revisiting and checking out again.
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