I experienced a minor setback the other morning when I went to listen to the next album on my personal list of the top 50 underappreciated hard rock albums. But here on Thanksgiving, I have the opportunity to crank up my Tailgater and blare out Thin Lizzy’s ‘Black Rose: A Rock Legend’.
There are SO MANY Thin Lizzy albums that I could have went with. I agonized over it for at least a month. I was listening and re-listening. Although it was working my brain, I enjoyed the hell out of it.
The albums that challenged for top 50 coverage:
‘Johnny The Fox’
‘Live And Dangerous’
So if you’re slightly curious, add those to your listening as well as ‘Black Rose’.
Here in America, Thin Lizzy just doesn’t get the accolades they deserve. They’re melodic while they can rock your face off. There is storytelling in just about every song that will create pictures in your mind.
“Do Anything You Want To Do” is a nice little ditty about self-empowerment that builds instead of preaching. And it seems as if KISS borrowed the opening riffs for the song “I”. Ironically, “I” is another song about self-empowerment. The dual leads of Gary Moore and Scott Gorham has that signature Lizzy sound with Phil Lynott on bass and Brian Downey providing solid drumming.
“Toughest Street in Town” has melodic hooks and a blistering solo from Gary Moore. Moore is one of those guitarists that American’s never really saw as a god. This song should be played loudly from a Camaro with the windows down while traveling just barely over the speed limit.
Flange is my favorite effect and Lynott’s bass is loaded with it in the song “S & M”. It’s a funky little number that tells a 50 shades kinda story.
“Waiting For An Alibi” should be playing on every classic rock radio station across the country. It’s a crime that it isn’t because it falls into the Camaro, windows-down category. The hooks, the dual guitars, the story, and catchy chorus has all the classic rock trappings for airplay. And yet the song continues to be ignored.
“Sarah” is a beautiful song that Lynott wrote about his daughter. As sappy as it seems, it works for a Thin Lizzy song. The added harmonica gives another layer to the Lizzy onion. And the guitar solos from Moore and Gorham do not lay back. There’s technique and flash, but it remains tasteful in order to fit the song.
“Got To Give It Up” is a song about alcohol and drug abuse. And without being too preachy, you will find yourself singing along with the chorus. There’s another blistering lead from Moore in this song.
Another song loaded with flange opens the tune “Get Out Of Here”. It’s a breakup song that sounds as happy as a kid at Chucky Cheese. And you could possibly find yourself singing along with the chorus no matter how happy your current relationship is.
The song “With Love” has the Thin Lizzy sound, but it’s just a little different. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s like Lynott turned his own song style upside down. It’s another breakup song like the previous track. At times, I feel that it’s “over produced” and then that feeling goes away. It’s an odd little tune that just gets better every time I listen to it.
“Roisin Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend” closes out the album. The song is based on an old Irish story. This song is the most Irish thing on the album besides Lynott. It makes me want to drink, punch, and get punched before we all gather for a hug filled sing-a-long of “Danny Boy”.
And there you have it. Thin Lizzy was an Irish folk band that played their stories with loud and distorted guitars. I did see them once before they changed their name to Blackstar Riders. But I never got to see Lynott perform. They just never made it around to my neck of the woods. And if they did, I was too young to know them. I didn’t really discover Thin Lizzy until the early 80s. I remember reading about them in magazines like ‘Guitar For The Practicing Musician’. Everyone raved about them. That’s how I got on that Thin Lizzy train. I even had a poster of Lynott on my bedroom wall.
It was a sad beginning to 1986 for me when I found out that Lynott died shortly after New Years.
If you’re an Iron Maiden fan, you can hear the influence in their tunes.
Read Tim's take on this album RIGHT HERE.
I will try to catch up as soon as I can. Stay tuned.