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Lizzy had more than enough to release another compilation in a long line of compilations already before and after. This one appeared in 1981, when there already existed, well, two compilations. Two prior compilations don’t sound like a lot to complain about, but how necessary were they? The band had a lot of albums out by then, yes, but compared to some of the compilations that came out after this, it really puts those to shame. This one was the first of the 1980s to show up, and there would be a whole hell of a lot to follow.
Anyway, this compilation, while not containing a lot of my personal favorites of mine up to this point, does showcase variety. It skips a few albums (the earliest being “Whisky In The Jar” from Vagabonds…). From there up to Chinatown, they pull through with a few decent grabs. While I’d go for showing a newcomer one of the main full-lengths, I guess this compilation could barely pass with being a good introduction for a new fan. For casual ones or heavy listeners, then this is a needless cash-in. You get the big hits like “Jailbreak” and “The Boys Are Back In Town”, rusty rockers like “Wild One” and “Chinatown”, upbeat jingles like “Do Anything You Want To”, and others from ballads to pop tunes. Eleven tracks and it’s a decent round-up of Lizzy’s career that I can’t really call a disappointment.
I like all of these tracks on one level or another. Time-wise, the forty minute range is pretty good, with the longest track being the somber “Whisky In The Jar”, but none of these songs goes on longer than they should. All of these tracks contain Lizzy-esque production and nothing’s out of left-field like some oddball tracks from the single-releases. Warm production, clear instruments, blubbery bass, thick yelling / crooning / speaking from Lynott, and twin-leads on the heavier tracks by Lynott and… well, whoever else was playing guitar during the time periods of these tracks (or Bell by himself on “Whisky…”).
Anyway, this compilation is a throwaway for most, although if you happen to come across it, have no knowledge of Thin Lizzy, and have nothing else better to look for, then it’s not a terrible bargain. Just don’t press your hopes solely on this and figure if the band can’t write anything better than these, then they aren’t worth the time. I can assure you they have the capacity to blow your mind.