Thursday, 14 June 2018

Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (1976)

Down at Dino's bar and grill....


Released March 1976

Recorded at Ramport Studios, London

In many ways, this is Thin Lizzy's equivalent of Rod Stewart's "Atlantic Crossing". It was the one that broke them big in both the UK and, more importantly, in the USA. In doing so, however, it loses some of the heart, soul and appeal of the earlier albums.

There seem to have been endless disputes about the sound of the album, from its various members, over the years and similar to-ing and fro-ing from fans about what is the best remastering of it, and complaining about the 2010 "remastering" farce.  The 2010 "remastered edition" actually only remastered the bonus material. The original album is still the 1996 remastering. Why? Who knows? It is definitely not up to the standard of, say, "Vagabonds Of The Western World's" remastering. Not by a long way, but its ok. I can certainly still enjoy the album. To a certain extent it sounds better than the 1996 remastering, to my ears anyway! There is still a bit of a tinniness to it, however, which can be off-putting. Just imagine how great it would sound with a fuller bass sound. I fully understand people's gripes about it. The same mess-up occurred with the follow-up album, "Johnny The Fox". (Strangely, though, that album sounds better than this one). Five tracks from "Jailbreak" appear on the box set "Vagabonds, Kings, Warriors & Angels", though, and they appear to have a fuller more bassy sound.

At the time of the album's recording, and subsequently, guitarists Scott Gorham and particularly Brian Robertson stated they were not happy with its sound quality or the speed in which it was played, they felt it was slowed down too much, repressing their guitar parts.


1. Jailbreak
2. Angel From The Coast
3. Running Back
4. Romeo And The Lonely Girl
5. Warriors
6. The Boys Are Back In Town
7. Fight Or Fall
8. Cowboy Song
9. Emerald                                                          

The album is supposedly a concept album, loosely based around "warriors" in a futuristic city, but it doesn't ever really convince. Anyway, on to the tracks. The opener "Jailbreak" is powerful and you can sort of see the "slowed down" argument. Personally I have no problem with it, but I didn't play on it. "Angel From The Coast" is a solid, riffy rocker, with a fine trademark Lynott vocal, as indeed is the melodic "Romeo And The Lonely Girl". Lyrically, the latter is influenced by Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" album and some of his earlier material, I am sure. "Running Back" caused some rows within the band over the changing by Lynott of the sound and the hiring of a session keyboardist to play what became its distinct hook. By Lynott's admittance, it is influenced by Van Morrison. It does stick out a bit from the rest of the album's material. Lynott liked it but the others didn't, and it stayed on the album.

"Warriors" is an excellent rocker that would again benefit from a richer sound. Again, it sounds too tinny. Then there is the massive global hit single, the iconic "The Boys Are Back In Town". We've all heard it a million times, so there is not much need for too much comment from me, other than that, despite its familiarity, it is still one of the band's finest rockers, if not the finest.

"Fight Or Fall" is a laid-back slow rock number that would not have sounded out of place on 1974's "Night Life" album. "Cowboy Song" is a magnificent, atmospheric rocker expressing Lynott's Western fascination once again. Starting off with a slow, quiet vocal, it launches into a great, pulsating riff-driven rocker.  That introductory riff is addictive. The guitar on it is just superb throughout. One of my favourite Lizzy rockers. The whole Western imagery is quite convincing, although it doesn't fit in with the supposed "concept" in any way. "Emerald" is a growling, heavy rocker to finish off. A good album, but in need of a more bassy remastering.


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