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Vagabonds of the Western World

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(14 Reviews)

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  • Boasting both the definitive Jim Fitzpatrick cover and a diverse lineup of outstanding compositions, “Vagabonds” is easily one of Thin Lizzy’s three finest studio albums (“Black Rose” and “Bad Reputation” fill out that triumvirate for this listener). Suffering at times from spare production values, the album still offers a testament to the band’s instrumental virtuosity: under-appreciated guitarist Eric Bell is a particular standout, displaying a range running from Beck-like eruptions on “Black Boys…” and “The Rocker,” to gritty, authentic blues breaks on “Slow Blues” and “Broken Dreams,” to an astonishing pseudo-flamenco feature on “Randolph’s Tango.” He was also the only credible slide player in Lizzy’s axeman pantheon, as “Mama Nature Said” illustrates. “Vagabonds” also displays, to fine advantage, Philip Lynott’s uncanny way with a lyric. Lynott also came into his own as a vocalist on this album, after his occasionally dodgy performances on the band’s first two platters. The title track and “Gonna Creep Up On You” beg to be covered by a contemporary act (Metallica recently released a cover of the Lizzy-fied “Whisky in the Jar”). “Vagabonds,” paired with “Black Rose,” offers a forthright homage to Lizzy’s Irish origins. Fans of later Lizzy sometimes find the offerings of proto-Lizzy to be sketchy and diffuse. However, any fan who likes the 1981 album “Renegade” should give “Vagabonds” a listen. The earlier disc displays the same diversity of approach as the latter, and the band’s musical vision is much more successful (in my opinion) on “Vagabonds.”

    Posted on March 12, 2010