The beginning of a great adventure
Most people know Philip Lynott and Thin Lizzy as the swashbuckling rock ‘n’ rollers who produced hard rock classics like ‘The Rocker’, ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and ‘Don’t Believe A Word’. But there were other fascinating forces at work in Ireland at the end of the ‘60s, with poetry and folk music both influencing the rock scene hugely. Philip Lynott was at the heart of that development – a charismatic star in the making with a deep romantic streak and an innate lyricism that separated him from the crowd. Now, these qualities have been captured, as never before, on a remarkable CD, released for the first time, free with HotPress. Read on...
Colm O Hare, 21 Aug 2006
For over 35 years, Trend Studios boss John D’Ardis has kept a reel of one-inch tape under lock and key, not allowing anyone but his closest associates access to it.
Containing five songs, recorded by Thin Lizzy in the original Trend Studios in Dublin sometime between late 1969 and early 1970, these tracks were eagerly sought after by academics and fans alike, who got wind on the music industry grapevine of the treasure trove that D’Ardis guarded. But he was not to be drawn: the aficionados could wait. The tapes stayed in the drawer. Until now, that is.
The recordings are among the earliest by Thin Lizzy. They feature classic vintage songs by the band’s mainman, singer and songwriter Philip Lynott, considered by many to be the ultimate Irish rock star – and one of the most charismatic frontmen to emerge in the 1970s.
Unreleased at the time, they reflect a very different aspect to the musical personality of Philip Lynott. Largely acoustic and featuring at times intricate piano work, these Lost Recordings include fascinating early versions of ‘The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle’, ‘Saga Of The Ageing Orphan’, ‘Dublin’, and, most remarkably, two otherwise unrecorded songs – ‘It’s Really Worthwhile’ and ‘Mama And Papa’.
“I’ve been very careful not to let these recordings out of my sight over the years,” D’Ardis says of his prize possessions. “You have to be especially wary with the way the internet is these days. But I ran into Phil’s mother, Philomena, a few years ago and casually mentioned that I had these tapes. She asked to hear them so I obliged – and it was only when she said that she really liked the songs that we decided to do something with them.”
The release of previously unheard Thin Lizzy recordings is a remarkable enough event in itself and is sure to arouse huge interest among fans worldwide – in truth, Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy's popularity has shown little sign of waning in the 20 years since his death. Indeed, if anything, the band have achieved a wider popular acceptance now than at the height of their fame.
But these historically important early recordings are extraordinary for several reasons. They display the fledgling Thin Lizzy in the first phase of their existence, playing original songs, working out arrangements and generally finding their sound. And while the performances themselves are raw, they exhibit a confidence in the material and in the musicianship that even today would be unusual in a young band. They also hint strongly at what might have been – at the different musical direction Thin Lizzy could have taken if the stars had been aligned differently or if events had tilted them down a slightly different route.