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About six years after the band’s first single release, a compilation of songs pops up between the Jailbreak and Johnny The Fox albums. They could have used this to gather all the b-sides onto one release, but instead they go halfway and stick us with songs from Vagabonds Of The Western World, too. Now that album isn’t bad, but was it really necessary to wait this long just to have them reappear, and during a time when Lizzy’s sound was at a point past the bluesy hard rock?
Giving praise where it’s due, the Vagabonds… songs – “A Song For While I’m Away”, “Little Girl In Bloom”, “Gonna Creep Up On You”, and especially “The Rocker” – are all decent or fantastic; they are light-to-passionate hard rock or folk, with Lynott crooning or wailing thickly. That’s fine, and then we have the songs that got tagged onto Vagabonds… later – “Black Boys On The Corner”, “Randolph’s Tango”, “Sitamoia” (a tribal-percussion-heavy overture kind of track that’s great), and “Whisky In The Jar” – which range from good to great. Then we get tracks from the debut – “Honesty Is No Excuse” (a folk song / frail rock) and “Remembering” (a mix of both hard rock and soft ballad material).
Production and style since the beginning was always proper: clear, a bit funky, definitely bluesy, gentle, harmless, and innocent. Stuff like “The Rocker” and “Whisky In The Jar” are the well-known tracks from this era, and both are probably the heaviest of what’s picked out of this bunch (“Gonna Creep Up On You” is blubbery, too). Lynott always has a groove, Bell is precise but less showy, and Downey never goes beyond consistent pace-drumming. This essentially sums of the years these three played in Thin Lizzy, with the oddball song here and there.
At this point in time whoever strung this together missed three albums worth of material they could have added. This release isn’t very long, but it isn’t very necessary, either. Anyone picking up a new copy of Vagabonds… already nabs over half of this album, and the debut isn’t that great of an album, anyway (sad to say), so you can just bypass this release.