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Solo In Soho was concurrently recorded with Chinatown, so you can easily guess where the heaviest tracks were eventually included. You inquisitive metal kids better stay away, therefore. Although, despite its commercial edge, Lynott’s debut was satisfying and less-incongruent than expected, to some extent more musically comprehensive, as the sound moves into many different styles, from AOR, pop, funk to hard rock, even courting electro-pop manners, unlike Lizzy’s attempt. One deluxe personnel list was summoned for its recording, making it even more appealing: Supertramp’s Bob C.Benberg, Gary Moore, Brian Robertson, Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, Huey Lewis, Snowy White, ex-Rainbow’s Jimmy Bain and, obviously the ever-elusive Gorham and Downey accompanied Phil Lynott on his uncertain solo record affair.
“Dear Miss Lonely Hearts” and “King’s Call” (dedicated to Elvis) open the album with a pretty conventional Thin Lizzy-oriented, classic rock sound, feeling usually out-of-place among random Lizzy compilation set-lists (Greatest Hits, for instance), sounding rather recurrent, pin-down and unsurprising. Let’s face it, they do sound blatantly AOR, regardless of the metal-minded attitude of bassist Jimmy Bain, whose songwriting suggestions sound flatter and softer than ever. “Solo In Soho” on the contrary takes a suntanned, exotic reggae approach, in the vein of “Hey You”’s sporadic intro, punctuating the looseness and melodious-texture of those easy-licks, while “Girls” and “Yellow Pearl” (this one used as the theme for the legendary Top of the Pops program) prove Lynott’s influences to be eclectic and excessively- premeditated, determined to deny Lizzy’s trademark mindset at all cost. More spontaneously-designed tunes follow, “Ode To A Black Man”, “Jamaica Rum” and “Talk In ‘79” are where Lynott’s charisma and glamour shines brighter, breaking through the lyrics, his irresistible tone and singular sing/talk narrative verses charmingly, containing nods towards his favorite influences (Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Robert Johnson).
In conclusion, Solo In Soho might not be what the kids were waiting, not a masterwork by any means, but it was definitely a less-predictable effort, taking into consideration many adventitious styles, almost by track, which might be what makes Lynott’s solo stuff so unorthodox and adventurous, contrary to the Lizzy strict blues rock parameters. In the end, it sounds much more like Lynott taking some vacation from his band, rather than pursuing seriously a solo career. For fans only.