THIN LIZZY – UK Tour 75 (2008 Major League Productions)
This album was recorded 21 November 1975, in Derby, England. Why it was recorded, for what purpose, and how it came to be released in 2008 are a mystery to me. But this good sounding live album has liner notes provided by drummer and original member Brian Downey, so that makes it seem official-ish enough for me!
In 1975, Thin Lizzy (consisting also of Phil Lynott, Brian Robertson, and Scott Gorham) had yet to release Jailbreak. This live album serves as an interesting reminder of a time when Thin Lizzy had yet to break out with some serious success. They were on the verge and you can hear the confident, competent band ready to take on all comers.
Thin Lizzy sails from classic to classic, effortlessly, and these songs are indeed classics. “The Rocker” sounds as great as ever, a song that will never get old. (I remember seeing a four-piece called The Meligrove Band cover this one in Kitchener, Ontario in the early 2000’s.) Lizzy were turning the corner from their earlier folksy beginnings and had galvanized themselves into a solid hard rock band.
“Fighting My Way Back” has always been one of my favourite Lizzy songs, and they open with this energetic number. “It’s Only Money” grooves like it never did on the Nightlife album. Downey plays a thundering tribal solo during a ferocious “Sha La La”. “Derby Blues”, also released on the recent Jailbreak deluxe edition, is an early take of “Cowboy Song”.
My favourite track is “Little Darling”. According to Brian, they dropped this song from the set forever shortly after this recording. It was an early non-album single from the Eric Bell era, accompanied by horns in its studio guise. Live, it’s explosive. (You can get the studio version on the Vagabonds of the Western World deluxe now.)
The packaging is decent. It comes in a sleeve-style case with a nice booklet inside. I don’t feel ripped off by the packaging the way I have with other semi-official official live albums in the past.