1000 Albums Project


Live and Dangerous, by Thin Lizzy
Suggested by Matt Smith

Phil Lynott, the frontman / bassist from Thin Lizzy, died in 1986 at the age of 36, of pneumonia and heart failure due to septicaemia. At the time of his death, he was heavily dependant on alcohol and heroin.

It’s sad, when someone dies before their time. It’s particularly sad when someone dies in their pomp, at the mercy of a destructive addiction. It’s sad for the family, and sad for the fans, and heart-breaking for the two young daughters left behind to grieve their fallen father.

Thin Lizzy are a band with an eternal pedigree. They are pioneers of 70’s rock, and credited with being instrumental in the burgeoning metal scene. They claim influence on a host of hard bands, from Iron Maiden and Def Leppard to Metallica, Alice in Chains and more.

Phil Lynott is a certified icon. Quite what makes an icon is up for debate, but the penning a couple of timeless classics doesn’t hurt. Personally, I think you can’t be truly iconic unless you have an identifiable silhouette, like Mickey Mouse or Freddie Mercury. Phil’s hair does the business in that regard.

Aside from the obvious classics, I’m unfamiliar with Thin Lizzy’s work. I drink Whiskey from the Jar whenever the Boys are Back in Town, of course, but who doesn’t? And if I’m honest, the thoughts of powering through a live double-album as my first foray into the form doesn’t exactly pop my pimple.

I’m not against live music, I just think that the recordings of live events do nothing to capture the white light of the moment. I don’t care how musically tight and well-practiced your band might be, it’s still a one-and-done recording format that rarely captures perfection. And then there’s the excruciating banter between songs, something of which this album is guilty. Oh, and when I said I’m not against live music, I was lying. Live music is ghastly. Give me a comfy chair, a pack of hobnobs and CD every (early) night of the week.

The claim that Thin Lizzy are an inspiration to immortal metalliers of my youth is something I’ve never really believed, from my rudimentary experience. It was surprising, then, to discover a couple of strong contenders to back up this claim. My favourite of which, and indeed my favourite song on the album, is the bludgeoning Massacre. Loud and proud, to fuel a fresh genre.

Unfortunately, for every decent song there’s a pair of rudimentary rock-blues numbers that are standard at best. And sure, Phil Lynott has a great voice, but great voices are everywhere, if you can be bothered to seek them out.

In the end, it’s a pretty simple equation. Live and Dangerous has a classic track, a few decent ones, and a host of fillers. I mark it down for the live factor, but mark it up as the Boys Are Back In Town, and it all adds up to a mediocre 6/10. This album is certainly Live, but it’s hardly Dangerous.

(And thus ends this Randomised Trifecta of Deceased Artists. October 12th, 2020… the Official 1000 Albums Day of the Dead.)

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