The Austin Chronicle

King's Ransom (discography)

January 20, 2006, Music

Thin Lizzy (1971)

Exhibit A in the original trio's Hendrix rap: funky, oft pummeling, burp gun blues ("Ray-Gun"), delivered in Lynott's thick, earthy yowl. CD adds succeeding New Day EP and first indelible, "Things Ain't Working Out Down on the Farm."

Shades of a Blue Orphanage (1972)

Off to the poor house for slumping sophomores bereft of material. Opener "The Rise and Dear Demise of the Funky Nomadic Tribes" and chanting "Buffalo Gal" can stay. Phil does Elvis: "I Don't Want to Forget How to Jive."

Vagabonds of the Western World (1973)

Guitarist Eric Bell's last stand, as epic and far out as the artwork by Lizzy loyalist Jim Fitzpatrick. The CD attaches two period singles, notably "Whisky in the Jar," though "Slow Blues, "The Rocker," and "Little Girl in Bloom" are tough acts to follow.

Nightlife (1974)

Classic lineup debuts softened blues ("Night Life"), straight-razor R&B ("Showdown"), and solid rawk ("Sha-La-La"), with a Gaelic nod to Ma Lynott ("Philomena").

Fighting (1975)

As Gorham/Robertson guitar tandem takes flight so goes Lizzy v2. Lynott's stiff production ("Rosalie") can't dampen the harnessed infighting ("Suicide"). "Whisky" follow-up "Wild One" should've hit.

Jailbreak (1976)

The literal breakthrough, and not just for classic rock tatts "The Boys Are Back in Town" and the title track. Lover ("Romeo and the Lonely Girl"), fighter ("Warriors"), Texan ("Cowboy Song"). Irishman ("Emerald"). Sir Philip Lynott, rock star.

Johnny the Fox (1976)

Quadrophenia to Jailbreak's Tommy, with all-time best opener – Lynott's pouncing alter-ego, "Johnny." Barroom lament "Borderline" and Western prospector "Fools Gold" would've welcomed the original arrangement of "Don't Believe a Word."

Bad Reputation (1977)

Superior songwriting throughout ("Dancing in the Moonlight"), produced by Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, but lacks the spark of a second guitarist despite Brian Robertson's late save. "Southbound" canters like suite outgrowth from the "Cowboy Song."

Live and Dangerous (1978)

Despite double-album sequencing (multiple start/stops) and generous overdubbing, London's Hammersmith Odeon, Toronto, and Philadelphia preserve Lizzy at its apotheosis. Coyote guitar harmonies on a soundchecking "Southbound" drift high, lonesome.

Black Rose: A Rock Legend (1979)

Pinnacle of the peak, starring Lynott's Skid Row bandmate from Belfast, Gary Moore. "Do Anything You Want To," "Waiting for an Alibi," "Got to Give It Up," and the emerald title track live up to the Legend.

Philip Lynott, Solo in Soho (1980)

Seedy mishmash of Euro synth-rock hiding behind Jamaican title track, "A Child's Lullabye," and Mark Knopfler's neon licks on Elvis memorial "King's Call." BBC jingle "Yellow Pearl" is mercifully neutralized by chuggernaut "Ode to a Black Man."

Chinatown (1980)

Even at Lizzy's most (lyrically) fallow, hooks and melodies infect Lynott's "Sugar Blues." Single "Killer on the Loose" sprung from the days' headlines via the Yorkshire Ripper. Buffalo stampede: "Genocide."

Renegade (1981)

Surviving China-town, Snowy White's Floydian axe gleams dark-horse bloody, particularly on his co-written title track, one of Lynott's most effective autobiographies. Swift, fierce, humane, same as metallurgist/producer/MVP Chris Tsangarides.

The Philip Lynott Album (1982)

Soho leftovers; outside Dublin lament "Old Town" and some dreamy Dire Straits ("Ode to Liberty"), more New Wave milking of "Yellow Pearl." "Cathleen," sister to "Sarah," isn't spared, filial ties notwithstanding.

Thunder and Lightning (1983)

Bigger than the sum of its parts, from the thrashing title track and John Sykes' machine-gun "Cold Sweat" to the atomic funk of topical centerpiece "Holy War." Too apropos: cowbell bucking "Bad Habits," auto elegy "The Sun Goes Down," and final fatality "Heart Attack."

Life-Live (1984)

Two-disc bookend to Live and Dangerous mining Lizzy's latter catalog to "Killer on the Loose" effect. Moore, Sykes, and Bell set fire to "Black Rose," "Still in Love With You," and "The Rocker" at the bitter end.

BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert (1992)

Sloppy, winded, at times breathless, but as one of the group's last live sets, Reading Festival 1983, the flames get fanned. "A Night in the Life of a Blues Singer," a three-alarm Black Rose outtake.

Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels (2001)

Desert island essential, with a near perfect 4-CD arc, skidding to a somewhat abrupt halt. Expertise and love: design, Ben Edmonds' Dumas-like liner notes, and glittering b-sides like Eire incantation "Sitamoia" and 1981 Eric Bell reunification "Song for Jimi."

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.