This album was the first time I had heard of the band “Thin Lizzy”, (I was 13 at the time. It was our nation’s bicentennial!). It was also the album that made me want to learn guitar as a kid, and I knew exactly how I wanted to sound. LIKE THESE GUYS!!!! To me the look and sound of Thin Lizzy was the coolest. I never felt cheated with any of their STUDIO albums (even “Renegade” had some great moments on it), and I admire their courage to record songs that made Thin Lizzy a truly “singular” band. But not everyone was so taken with this band. Critically they were often slammed. Read what Robert Christgau wrote about Thin Lizzy, and the album “Jailbreak”……. (from Robert Christgau, Christgau’s Record Guide, 1981)….>>>The proof of how desperate people are for new Springsteen is that they’ll settle for this — even “The Boys Are Back in Town” is the sort of thing that ends up in Bruce’s wastebasket. If Irish teen traumas are as boring as Phil Lynott’s descriptions of them, it’s no wonder they have trouble maintaining their birthrate. And if Irish teen traumas are as secondhand as Scott Gorham’s guitar lines, the Irish will probably end up preferring Springsteen too. B- <<<<<I’m glad Thin Lizzy sound didn’t compare to the bombast of “everyman” and critical darling, Bruce Springsteen. And I’m glad that the band kept doing what IT wanted to musically, critics be damned. Thin Lizzy’s guitar work when Scott and Brian played together was brilliant, the song styles and subject matter varied, the song writing was at times subpar (being honest here), but usually excellent. They were never boring. There sound was exciting, and at times different and very challenging, unlike Springsteen (why people tried to compare the two is beyond me).When Thin Lizzy released these 4 studio albums consecutively….Jailbreak (1976) Johnny the Fox (1976) Bad Reputation (1977) Black Rose (1979)….it was rock nirvana for me. I can’t think of another band that influenced me in my youth the way these guys did, and I thank them for it. I would have given anything to play guitar like Scott and Brian, and be as cool as Phil.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Hopefully, you will see my name in the future sometime either in my field of study(Medical) or as just being maybe Thin Lizzy’s #1 fan. Most would credit those such as Elvis(obvious) , the Stones, Beatles, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, & Van Halen as being the best of all time. They may have been great, but I have news for the world in 2005! I, myself, obtained my first copy of Jailbreak at age 25(2001) & while I was brainwashed most of my life by just commercially known outfits, I was born again and saw the light with Thin Lizzy and the late(1/4/86), greatest Phil Lynott. We all know “The Boys Are Back In Town, but this is just the beginning. While Downey, Gorham, & Robertson fit the mold of the long haired, blonde stereotyped looking rock star, those of us who were born of a different ethinic background but raised in the US, or UK-Ireland at that, finally have, or have always had, an Irish-Brazilian dark & curly haired legend(Black Rose) to look up too. How ironic after all this time that this one was the best all this time*
I remember buying this in the summer of 1976 after hearing “The Boys Are back in Town” on the radio a few times. That song is one of the top 10 songs ever! When I bought it as an LP (remember those?), I was so excited and distracted that I put the wrong side on the turntable. Instead of that song, out of the speakers came the title track JAILBREAK. Another timeless classic. Needles to say, the entire record of 9 songs was fantastic and there truly isn’t a dud on here. Since then I have bought these songs on cassette, CD, and now the remastered version. Great story in the liner notes too. Buy it and read it for yourself. It is almost hard to believe the recorded output Lizzy put out in the years of 1975 through 1977. Quality too. Hell, “Johnny the Fox” also came out later that year in ‘76 and is every bit as good as this, unfortunately overlooked because of the lack of a hit. Personal favorites on here are “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”, “Emerald”, and “Warriors”. I love them all. If you want some great rock songs with excellent twin guitar breaks, this is for you. See where Maiden, Leppard, and The Darkness got it from in the first place! My only question on this reissue is why has Scott Gorham been eliminated on the Overlaord’s video screen on the cover? He is the only member from this group performing in the current Thin Lizzy lineup and for some reason, he is missing.
I have to admit I didn’t like Thin Lizzy at first, beyond The Boys Are Back In town. When I first bought this in 1989 I was heavily into a Black Sabbath phase, and somwehow Thin Lizzy didn’t sit quite right with me. I didn’t like the slow songs, I disliked the funky elements (here typified by Angel From The Coast) and they seemed too down to earth for my taste.
How things have changed! Twenty years later I mainly listen to classcial but Thin Lizzy are one of only a handful or rock bands I still listen to. Now, I can really appreciate this band. They had so much; songs with melody yet attitude, great musicianship, and if I may use a quote beloved of pretentious music critics, “resonance”. Incredibly though it took 6 albums in as many years for Thin Lizzy to gain widespread acclaim, although with Jailbreak it’s easy to understand why the public finally realised how good this band was. The songs are all finely crafted, catchy and the famous (and influential) twin guitar style was perfected here after some experimental attempts. The main attraction to Jailbreak is of course the song The Boys Are Back In Town, very nearly the perfect all out rock and roll song, neatly combining melancholy touches in the verse to the triumphant, rousing chrous.
I might point out too that I’ve come to appreciate Lizzy as musicians too. Of course Scott Gorham and Brian Roberstson are the easiest to spot here, but Brian Downey is a drummer that should get wider acclaim. He’s never overpowering in the way that some rock drummers are but complements the songs with an almost perfect beat and cymbal technique. He’s not trying to outshine the others, he know his job is to provide a solid base for the others to build on. Listen to Angel From The Coast for an example. Above all though I’ve come to regard Phil Lynott’s voice as one if the best in rock. He sings somewhat like Freddie Mercury, sharp, not flat, and there are vocal harmony overdubs that sound not dissimilar to some Queen.
Overall if you want hard rock that isn’t ashamed to be melodic then Thin Lizzy are a band you should like. Perhaps the best analogy I can make is to Queen. They share a similar ratio of rockers to slow songs, they use melodic yet aggressive guitar and use similar vocal techniques. Thin Lizzy are much more streetwise and earthy than the (intentional) theatrics of Queen though. (As an aside Thin Lizzy toured with Queen in 1977, what a show that must have been!)
Maybe the only problem I have with Jailbreak as an album is that it seems to outshine any other Thin LIzzy release in popularity. Ask the average rock fan about Thin Lizzy and they’ll name The Boys Are Back In Town. Some might be able to tell you that it’s from Jailbreak and mention either the title track or maybe Emerald. For 90% of rock fans though, the rest of Thin Lizzy’s catalog is a mystery. Which is a shame as they did so many good songs both previously and after their breakthrough with Jailbreak, and this album is just one aspect of their multi faceted career. Although this album, as a whole, is clearly one of Thin Lizzy’s high points, it is not the bands only great moment. If you want to experience Thin Lizzy though, then Jailbreak is the ideal start point.
It took far too long for Thin Lizzy to step up to the plate with a major performance like this. They had flirted with good albums for years, but everything finally came together. As far as the review saying this was typical 80’s metal, then this must be great, because it was the mid 70’s. Just goes to show they were a band well ahead of their time!The great lyrics, driving bass, Lynott’s crooning, the double edged guitar attack that would become a trademark, and the pounding rhythms of Brian Downey’s drums create a masterpiece! I can’t even begin to tell you there are any songs you’d have to wade through to get to something good. These are all Lizzy killers! My favorites are “Warriors” and “Emerald”, where the group shows they can play swords and sorcery with the best of them. The variety of most Lizzy albums is present even here with the slower “Romeo and the Lonely Girl” and “Running Back”. Strong rockers are the three everyone knows, “Jailbreak”, “the Cowboy Song”, and “the Boys Are Back In Town”.Maybe it’s just reliving great times from high school or one of the hottest tours I’ve seen with Robin Trower, but JAILBREAK is one of those lifetime achievements few bands, no matter how good, ever accomplish. Definitely a 100 all-time best CD!