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Live and Dangerous
Thin Lizzy

Warner 3213
Released: July 1978
Chart Peak: #84
Weeks Charted: 12

Phil Lynott.gifLive and Dangerous is Thin Lizzy's first album for Warner Bros. While it effectively documents the boys-with-blazing guitars style of the five previous Mercury discs from which most of these songs were taken, it's also clearly meant to be the breakout, double-LP sampler from a group that failed to consolidate the front-line success of their 1976 single, "The Boys Are Back in Town." Though such a package is ideal for those who passed on the earlier records, it's still a baby step by a band that needs a giant leap.

The attractions are the same: the twin guitars of Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham combine the power-chord dynamics of British blast with the single-line harmonics common to Southern and California rock, as the smooth segue from Bob Seger's pile-driving "Rosalie" to "Cowgirls' Song" deftly illustrates. Singer Phil Lynott, captured in his characteristic daddy-longlegs pose on the cover, is in fine form, though like the group's arrangements, he rarely adds new color or direction to material we've already heard. But that's okay, because the band thankfully has erased most of the excess that crippled their live shows after the release of Jailbreak. The songs here are lean and tough, with lethal firecrackers like "Don't Believe a Word" performed with breathtaking brevity.

Live and Dangerous works as a cogent commercial vehicle by avoiding filler, not because anything significant has been added. But the holding pattern that Thin Lizzy established with Jailbreak is indicative of the stylistic problems inherent in many solid but unarguably derivative rock groups. These guys have their roots down cold, and have embroidered them with a neat, guitar-toting street-gang image. But so far, they've yet to give us an album upon which future rockers will build.

- John Milward, Rolling Stone, 9/21/78.

Bonus Reviews!

This double live set, cut at a London venue, captures the essence of Thin Lizzy's style -- powerful, frenzied rock'n'roll. In all there are 19 cuts, and in the foreground there is always the unique, raspy talk/sing vocals of Phil Lynott, one of rock's most identifiable since "The Boys Are Back In Town." The pace is mostly feverish and highlighted by choleric rock guitar and drum interplay that slows down only occasionally for a ballad-like tune. The sound quality from the mobile recording equipment is also top notch. Best cuts: "Jailbreak," "Southbound," "Dancing In The Moonlight," "Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed," "The Boys Are Back In Town," "Are You Ready," "Suicide," "The Rocker."

- Billboard, 1978.

Some prefer the 1983 set Life (and it's very good), but I like this (albeit studio-enhanced) live record, which has as strong a selection of Lizzy fare in one place as one is likely to find. Along with the live standards ("Boys," "Cowboy Song," "Jailbreak," and "Dancing in the Moonlight"), there are some great semi-obscurities (Bob Seger's "Rosalie" and the macho "The Rocker"). Loud, proud and chock full of dazzling guitar solos, this is a hard rock dream come true. Proof positive that in the arena rock sweepstakes, few bands were better onstage than Thin Lizzy. * * * *

- John Dougan, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review:

Album Review:
Johnny the Fox

Thin Lizzy Lyrics

Thin Lizzy Videos

Live and Dangerous is a bare-knuckled tour de force that's arguably the best showcase for Thin Lizzy's power. Swirling guitars, Phil Lynott's thick delivery and a tight rhythm section illuminate even the obscure tunes. * * * *

- Allan Orksi, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

As Israel pulled out of Lebanon in June 1978, Thin Lizzy pulled out the stops with one of music's greatest live albums. Its airbrushed quality caused critical murmurs; manager Chris O'Donnell claimed the recording was "75 per cent live," with overdubs correcting Phil Lynott's overdriven bass and backing vocals from guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. Producer Tony Visconti, told BBC Radio 1, "We erased everything except the drums...even the audience was done again in a very devious way...'Southbound' was recorded at a sound check, and I added a tape loop of an audience."

Fans were not bothered. The result is magical, and Vertigo's fears for a full-price double album were unfounded -- it shipped 600,000 in the UK. Nominally recorded in London and Toronto, it is really a best of.

Full-throttle melodic rockers boast some of rock's most memorable riffs and choruses, tempered by moments of poignancy. The opening barrage hurtles from "Jailbreak," through the fiery "Emerald," singalong "Southbound" and definitive "Rosalie," to the delightful "Dancing In The Moonlight."

"Still In Love With You" has lighters swaying; "Cowboy Song" is a fantastic cascading romp, and "Suicide" a glorious story song. Then there are the anthems: "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "The Rocker."

As New Musical Express marveled, "It's a near perfect statement of intent by the best hard rock band in the world."

- Tim Jones, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.

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