Thin Lizzy’s 1974 release,”Night Life”(the first to feature the classic duel guitar lineup of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham) marks a drastic departure in sound and song quality from the band’s first three releases. A majority of the songs are dark numbers dealing with drugs, love, money and a host of unsavory characers such as Johnny Cool, Frankie Carroll, and Miss Lucy, just to name a few. The appeal of the album as a whole may not strike you upon first listen, but it’s one that gets under the skin, soon leaving you addicted to the funky, bluesy and sad grooves contained within. (Recommended for nighttime listening)
No Description AvailableTrack: 10: Dear Heart,Track: 1: She Knows,Track: 2: Night Life,Track: 3: It’s Only Money,Track: 4: Still In Love With You,Track: 5: Frankie Carroll,Track: 6: Showdown,Track: 7: Banshee,Track: 8: Philomena,Track: 9: Sha-La-LaMedia Type: CDArtist: THIN LIZZYTitle: NIGHT LIFEStreet Release Date: 03/20/1990<Domestic or Import: ImportGenre: ROCK/POP
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I consider Thin Lizzy to have had 4 phases in their career. First, the Eric Bell Era made up of the first three albums. Second, the trademark twin guitar era which they are best known for which includes Jailbreak and covers the albums from Fighting to Chinatown. Third, their more pure metal albums of Renegade and Thunder & Lightning. Buried in there is one lone album that doesn’t fit in any of these categories, Night Life. This isn’t a bad album its just different than what you would expect from them. There are some great songs including Still in Love With You, She Knows and Philomena (Phil’s ode to his mother). I have some friends that don’t like Showdown and Frankie Carroll however I enjoy both. The reason I only give it 3 stars is because while you do see glimpses of the guitar work that would later make Thin Lizzy famous, this is different and many people don’t like that. I enjoy this album with all it’s slower tempo songs and if you are a Thin Lizzy fan you will too. If you are simply looking to buy one or two Thin Lizzy albums, you will be best off going with Jailbreak, Bad Reputation or Live & Dangerous. Until you read my next Thin Lizzy review, Later.
Thin Lizzy went through their first major personnel upheaval at the end of 1973 and times seemed dark for the band. Brief salvation came in the form of Gary Moore, legendary Irish blues guitarist and off again on again running mate of Philip Lynott. As one single was owed to Decca, Gary played on “Little Darlin’”, a fantastic yet rare song that only became available on compliations. Moore also contributed to “Still in Love with You” which would later become the centerpiece for Lizzy’s Vertigo debut ‘Nightlife’, released in October 1974. As Gary proved only a temporary fit, Philip and Brian recruited not one but two guitarists to broaden out the sound and make the band even more unique than they already were. Eighteen year old Scotsman Brian Robertson and Santa Monica native Scott Gorham came to complete THE classic lineup of Thin Lizzy and ‘Nightlife’ was THIS band’s first. Curiously the record is not indicative of future Robertson/Gorham classics (very little of their trademark harmonies) and therefore is not up to the standard of their future efforts. The album is also one of Lizzy’s most stylistically diverse as funk, R&B, folk and hard rock come together as if Philip wanted to expand people’s opinions of what this new band could do. My favorites are of course the rock numbers including the opener “She Knows”, which seems to be the self-confession of a heroin addict who needs help from “Mother Mary”. “Sha-La-La” which features Brian Downey flexing his muscles, later became a concert staple for that very reason, but it also allows the new boys to let it rip in dueling solos. “Philomena” I have always loved, Phil’s tribute to his mom and how he misses her while he’s on the road. “It’s Only Money” rocks very convincingly as well with Phil being the tough guy again. “Still in Love” is great but I think the studio version is overrated. “Night Life” is kind cool as is “Showdown”, two examples of the R&B influences that Philip put in his writing. Worth it for the Lizzy fan but others may want to buy their later classics as ‘Nightlife’ may not contain as much rock for the heavy rock fans.
Although this album is rarely mentioned among the classic Lizzy albums, I think it is a very good album. This is the first Thin Lizzy album to feature the twin/harmony Les Paul + Marshall sound of guitar aces Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. Brian Robertson felt (in an interview I saw) that it was too varied — although I think the variety makes for an interesting experience. Lizzy always managed to produce distinct songs in the early years, Fighting is a great album in this regard, as is Live and Dangerous.Although a couple of songs appear on Live and Dangerous (Still in Love with you, Sha la la la) there is little overlap with other albums (unlike Jailbreak) – so worth getting. Thin Lizzy’s classic soaring, slow blues “Still in Love with you” appears here but features Gary Moore, rather than Brian Robertson on guitar (a secret revealed in the aforementioned interview). The sublime version of this song (comparable in perfection to Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven) appears on Live and Dangerous though; Brian Robertson made this song his own with incredibly soulful and tasteful playing. Scott Gorham was incredibly good on this too of course — the pair complemented each other wonderfully, pity they broke up . [An interesting alternative version of the song appears on one of Gary Moore's solo albums and feature Phil Lynott on vocals -- it sounds quite different]
Apparently the band hated this album when it came out, guitarist Scott Gorham complaining that the producer made them sound like a cheesey cocktail lounge act. But as we know sometimes a band’s worst critic is the band themselves, and in this case they were somewhat off the mark. Yes, it is a far cry from the harder rocking Lizzy lps that were to follow, but “NightLife” has a great variety of songs, from the jazz-influenced title track, to the plaintive and sad “Frankie Carroll”, to the funky “Showdown”. Phil Lynnott’s song-writing is melodic and lyrical; few other writers could bring a story to life through music as well as he could. Even though it was the first Lizzy lp to feature Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on guitar, the famous trademark Lizzy twin guitar sound did not really emerge until the next lp, Fighting. If anything, “Nightlife” has more in common with Phil Lynnott’s later solo albums, if that’s any help.