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When I’m looking for a compilation or best-of release, I’m expecting either tracks that I really, really like or songs that remain the most popular by a band. When it comes to Thin Lizzy, there are a bunch of compilations to choose from, and I doubt there are any that solely contain my utmost favorite tracks. So looking at this and seeing only a couple tracks and the obligatory “The Boys Are Back In Town”, I can say that I’m sorely disappointed that anyone would package this and sell it. Expecting someone to purchase this based on the given tracks isn’t a hard thing to imagine, but expecting me to go along with it is insane.
To be fair, there aren’t any bad songs on here, even by hard rock standards. Every one of these tracks I can enjoy on one level or another, and they all sound pretty distinct. The funky “Sha La La”, the cheery “The Pressure Will Blow”, the repetitive-but-popular “The Boys Are Back In Town”, the sympathetic “Got To Give It Up”, the harmonious “Emerald”… I can describe each of these tracks, but just understand that there are a lot of different sides to Lizzy featured on here. They screwed up though by leaving out tracks from key albums in the band’s career and instead they put some b-sides on here. They aren’t bad songs, but it makes me wonder why at such a time anyone would do something like that.
Anyway, all of these songs are straightforward, within the same length range, contain varying degrees of the same production, and have some sort of tone that separates them from each other. Although the riffs are one thing to notice, it’s Lynott’s delivery that unites and divides these songs, like all Lizzy songs. His voice, from dry to compassionate to soulful, jumps all around depending on the track, and there’s always a touch of vigor that was never impersonal. Phil knew how to sing and give it a touch that no studio producer could fake during mixing. Most of these songs hail from the twin lead days of Gorham and Robertson, but it’s the fat bass lines and tattering hits of Downey that stuck it out from the beginning.
If I were you, I’d skip right over this release. Not because these songs are garbage, but because this release is needless and these aren’t the best tracks to act collectively on one compilation. A couple recommendations for compilations from me would be the Greatest Hits (2004) or (even better) the Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels (2001) releases. Those are far more extensive and are worthy on their own as competent and efficient Thin Lizzy releases. Not like this, which is just a collection of songs some label slapped together.