Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2007
Of music that could be called “classic rock,” this is effectively my favorite classic rock record. Why? Because unlike most classic rock, it still sounds totally fresh. If I had been 15 when this came out, this would have been my jam. “Hey you, good lookin' female, c'mere.” AWESOME. I'm having a hard time writing this because I haven't heard it all the way through since the first trip to SXSW in 08 and I'm marvelling at how fucking good it is. Twin guitar assault at its finest! There's a new band that I'm really in love with called Free Energy, and listening to this I know why I'm so fond of them: Their first leaked track, “Dream City,” borrows the guitar pattern of “Running Back,” which itself is a fucking amazing, mid-tempo jam that finds Phil Lynott (perhaps the only black irish dude to front a rock band) inflecting a Sam Cooke croon on the record's most perfectly restrained tune. I'm still trying to figure out where this fits in the history of music that is just astoundingly good. It's not quite classic rock, though “The Boys are Back in Town” has become a staple of every “guys on the town” movie or TV show (surely “Entourage” has copped it) and is a massive hit that everyone knows, I think most people have no clue who recorded the song, and that the album it comes from has a handful of songs that are just a great. It's just amazing how underrated this record is, or underappreciated might be the better term. Lynott's got a sort of endless charisma that he manages to convey through these recorded songs, and dual lead guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson alternate between intense shredding and single chord strums with great success. I mean, seriously, can you argue against “The Boys are Back in Town”? No, you can't. It's the balance between hard rock/heavy metal and pop that makes Thin Lizzy great. Yes, they seem like total badasses but their songs are catchy as all hell. Where a lot of heavy bands suck at “bringing it down” for the midtempo jams or ballads, Thin Lizzy seem to have no problem. Lynott's voice is versatile enough that he can convey that sensitive lothario with soul on tunes like “Fight or Fall” and “Running Back” and that working class badboy thing on the singles. Mostly, right now I'm just sad that Thin Lizzy aren't as famous as KISS. There are some similarities, but goddamnit Thin Lizzy is just so much better than most of the shit that passed for popular music in the 70s. How was this not the coolest record on the planet?