2016 made it Forty years since Thin Lizzy released their career saving Sixth album, Jailbreak.
Their third with what most people consider their classic line up, Phil Lynott who was their Front Man, Figure Head, Chief Songwriter, Bass Guitarist, Lead Vocalist and Poet, Brian Robertson on Lead Guitar, Scott Gorham on Lead Guitar and Brian Downey on Drums. The Band’s record label Vertigo had given them one more album to get some record sales and after that the heavy hammer was coming down. So it was produce or bust. They produced in spades.
They convened in December 1975 to Ramport Studio’s with John Alcock at the Production desk and in just over two months they had this masterpiece clocking in at just over thirty six minutes and in the shops by late March. The album rose to Number Ten in the United Kingdom’s charts whilst gaining Gold Status and Number Eighteen in the U.S. Billboard.
The first single off the album (which almost did not make it to the album let alone being the lead off single) The Boys Are Back in Town reached Number Eight in the United Kingdom whilst reaching Number Twelve on the U.S. Billboard. The follow up single from the album, the Title track, also made the Top Forty on both side of the Atlantic.
So at last the Thin Lizzy had sprouted wings and flown. Opening with the title track, it’s immediately apparent that both Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson have been let loose on their lead axes often playing in perfect symphony giving the Band that classic dual lead guitar sound that they became famous for. With Phil Lynott’s lyrics, drawled Vocals, plus his almost funky bass lines and Brian Downey’s engine room drums, they were able to capitalize on most of the mid seventies markets. Phil Lynott was easily capable of writing pretty Love songs like Running Back, or catchy singles like The Boys are Back in Town with its instantly recognizable opening chords, or stadium hard rock songs like Warriors with its no nonsense guitars. The album ends with two timeless classics, The Cowboy Song which starts with its haunting chorus backed by harmonica about being alone out on the range before the band come crashing in for the second verse to drag the song along the trail kicking and screaming. The final track Emerald is an out and out rocker with its lyrics about Armies coming down from the Hills, looting and pillaging the towns and villages leaving nothing behind them in their wake. Lynott’s lyrics do not leave much to the imagination. In the mid section of the song Gorham and Robertson brandish their Axes and have their own personnel battle bringing the song and the album Jailbreak to a ferocious climax.
The Deluxe Edition of this album comes with a whole extra CD of unreleased and live material, for once on these Deluxe must have packages the extras are of extremely good quality and well worth more than just one cursory play through.
Sadly Thin Lizzy never really reached these peaks again. But when they were good, they were the best.
Angel From The Coast
Romeo and The Lonely Girl
The Boys are Back In Town
Fight or Fall
The Cowboys Song
Phil Lynott – Lead Vocals and Bass Guitar
Scott Gorham – Lead Guitar
Brian Robertson – Lead Guitar
Brian Downey – Drums
Written by Hells Bells and Mott The Dog
Photos by Harpic (Mistress of the Lens) Bryant of Breezeridge Photography