Category: Thin Lizzy

Thin Lizzy – Shades of a Blue Orphanage

ARTIST: Thin Lizzy                          220px-Thin_Lizzy_-_Shades_of_a_Blue_Orphanage

TITLE: Shades of a Blue Orphanage




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not here, but the first bonus track put them on the map.

LINEUP: Phil Lynott, Eric Bell, Brian Downey. Clodagh Simonds plays keyboards.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The second album repeats many of the same problem their first album had – though it is more of a rocker than a folker.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When your second album starts out with “Rise and Dear Demise of the Funky Nomatic Tribes” you just wonder what the hell you’re getting yourself into – and to boot the track starts with a drum solo. Starts…with a drum solo. Then the riff kicks in and all seems to be well. At least for that track.

Thin Lizzy was still definitely a work in progress in 1972. They weren’t totally convincing as rockers, and didn’t quite have the focus in storytelling, either. What they had was glimpses of good stuff in and around the full tracks. Still, there are a couple of cringy clunkers that make you wonder. The production is flat and all mid-range – it’s like Brian Downey’s cymbals don’t exist.

Struggling to find an audience, Thin Lizzy’s next move was to release a traditional folk song as a single. You know it…”Whiskey in the Jar”.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The name of the album was taken from the bands the group was in before forming Thin Lizzy, Shades of Blue and Orphanage.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with the A/B of “Whiskey in the Jar” (#6 UK) and BBC tracks. 

GRADE: C: It’s safe to say that single saved their career (at least in the UK).


Thin Lizzy – Thin Lizzy

ARTIST: Thin Lizzy 220px-Thin_Lizzy_-_Thin_Lizzy
TITLE: Thin Lizzy
SINGLES: None taken from the album – bonus tracks are the singles
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nothing really got airplay anywhere either…
LINEUP: Phil Lynott, Eric Bell, Brian Downey
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A mellow-ish folky debut from the Irish band sees them split towards a bass-heavy folkie band and a bass-heavy power trio.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The debut issue for Thin Lizzy finds Phil Lynott straddling two worlds. He wants to rock out, you can tell, but also wants to tell stories, thus the folky ballads. What hurts him is that Eric Bell, the guitarist, is OK but not the type of guitarist that can sustain a power trio. He tended to meander a bit and not give a lot of power to the proceedings.

The production is also muddled and bass heavy (maybe because of that guitar issue). Also, while Lynott was adept at telling stories, he was inconsistent. It sounds like a work-in-progress at times, especially on the opening cut “The Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle”. You can hear Lynott’s predilection for epics in “Diddy Levine”, though; it’s a shame the execution wasn’t better.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their first single, “The Farmer”, was released in 1970 and sold an astounding 283 copies! (That song isn’t included in the streaming copy of the album I have).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. What I have streaming has cuts from a single and R-2689137-1296660919.jpeg their New Day EP and there’s another deluxe edition out and about, if you really need everything they’ve done.

GRADE: C : I’m a Thin Lizzy completist, so I’ll keep it, but just be warned it’s mellow-ish and at times unfocused.