THIN LIZZY – Johnny The Fox [Rock Candy remastered / Japan Edition 2xSHM-CD]
Continuing with THIN LIZZY‘s discography – requested by many of you regarding which we consider the best sound quality CD pressings – here’s the Irish wonders seventh studio album “Johnny The Fox”
Many of the recent THIN LIZZY reissue / remasters were handled by Rock Candy Records and ”Johnny The Fox” is one of them, a deluxe edition including an extra disc of worthwhile bonuses, some of them remixed by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott (a huge Lizzy fan).
The remaster by resident Andy Pearce (assisted by Matt Wortham for the 24-bit cut) is excellent, even more enjoyable in this Japanese edition on SHM-CD.
While rarely mentioned as fan favorite, ”Johnny The Fox” is another very good Thin Lizzy LP despite some critics weren’t favorable with it. But I think it’s because was the follower of ‘Jailbreak’, released the same year. It’s hard to surpase such masterpiece.
But ‘Johnny…’ features the classic lineup of Lynott, Downey, Gorham and Robertson and has some of the best lesser-known Lizzy album cuts.
“Massacre” is a proto Maiden-eque stomp through some bloody history (Maiden covered it later). “Fools Gold” is some fantastic mid-tempo storytelling. I absolutely love this song, emotional and strong. My favourite, “Borderline”, is a ballad with a slight twang and Phil hitting all the right notes with a beautiful bassline.
This is just a very well rounded rock album, with lots of great songs like “Johnny” and “Boogie Woogie Dance” that just jump out at you.
And let’s not forget “Don’t Believe A Word”, one of the best known Lizzy classics. Awesome song, absolutely timeless. Not to be outshone are classics such as the tough “Rocky” and the cool funk of “Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed”.
You can’t find a weak song on ‘Johnny The Fox’. “Old Flame” is a semi-ballad with the dual guitar thing going on, a ballad as only Lizzy could make.
The bonus disc starts off with two Joe Elliot remixes (“Don’t Believe A Word” and “Johnny”). Once again, Elliot has beefed up the sound while maintaining the integrity of the track. I know that they took great pains to fix every out of tune note, but you honestly don’t really detect it. I’m sure you could if you tried, but just enjoying the tracks, it doesn’t sound too messed with.
There are some good BBC Sessions up next, all very tight and sounding not too dissimilar for the album tracks. Unfortunately by now you have heard “Don’t Believe A Word” and “Johnny” three times each. You’re also about to hear “Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed” a third time, this one a lo-fi instrumental take.
There are four of these instrumental rehearsals in total, and honestly they’re extraneous. This kind of stuff, while interesting to listen to on an analytical level, were never meant for public consumption. Fortunately, this disc ends with a neat rough demo called “Scott’s Tune” that is a previously unknown musical idea by Scott Gorham. Nice find.
This album was Thin Lizzy at their peak, the classic line-up, and a record equally as powerful as the better known ‘Jailbreak’. The remaster is great, also the extras.
SHM-CD 1 – Johnny The Fox [remastered]
01 – Johnny
02 – Rocky
03 – Borderline
04 – Don’t Believe A Word
05 – Fools Gold
06 – Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed
07 – Old Flame
08 – Massacre
09 – Sweet Marie
10 – Boogie Woogie Dance
SHM-CD 2 – Bonus Tracks
01 – Don’t Believe A Word [Joe Elliott’s Remix]
02 – Johnny [Joe Elliott’s Remix]
03 – Don’t Believe A Word [BBC Sessions]
04 – Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed [BBC Sessions]
05 – Fools Gold [BBC Sessions]
06 – Johnny [BBC Sessions]
07 – Fools Gold [Instrumental Run Through]
08 – Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed [Instrumental Extended]
09 – Rocky [Instrumental Run Through]
10 – Massacre [Instrumental Take]
11 – Scott’s Tune [Unreleased Scott Gorham Composition]
Phil Lynott – bass guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar
Scott Gorham – lead and rhythm guitar
Brian Robertson – lead and rhythm guitar
Brian Downey – drums, percussion
Fiachra Trench – brass and string arrangements
Phil Collins – percussion
Kim Beacon – backing vocals
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