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Chinatown (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

While Thin Lizzy's previous release, Black Rose, was a focused, inspired hard rock masterwork, its follow-up, 1980's Chinatown, was a letdown. Guitarist Gary Moore was a major reason for the predecessor's success, but he quit during the subsequent tour (eventually replaced by ex-Pink Floyd touring guitarist Snowy White). Also, leader Phil Lynott and guitarist Scott Gorham were indulging heavily in hard drugs by this point, which was obviously taking its toll. And since producer Tony Visconti was not on board again, the lively production that played such a prominent part in the success of their past few releases was noticeably absent. The first side contains the best material: the anthemic "We Will Be Strong," the pop perfection of "Sweetheart," the obviously autobiographical drug tale of "Sugar Blues," plus the British hit singles "Killer on the Loose" and the title track. The second side, however, is comprised almost entirely of bland filler, such as "Having a Good Time," "Didn't I," and "Hey You." While it's not their worst album (that "honor" would go to their next studio album, 1981's Renegade), Chinatown should have been a lot better, especially coming off such a stellar release as Black Rose. [The 2012 Deluxe Edition of the album adds a second disc jammed with extras including seven songs (including a version of early hit "Whiskey in the Jar") recorded live during the band's 1980 tour, five tracks recorded during soundcheck, single edits of "Chinatown" and "We Will Be Strong," and "Don't Play Around," the B-side of "Killer on the Loose." The liner notes feature extensive interviews with the album's co-producer Kit Woolven and drummer Brian Downey.]


Formed: 1970 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Despite a huge hit single in the mid-'70s ("The Boys Are Back in Town") and becoming a popular act with hard rock/heavy metal fans, Thin Lizzy are still, in the pantheon of '70s rock bands, underappreciated. Formed in the late '60s by Irish singer/songwriter/bassist Phil Lynott, Lizzy, though not the first band to do so, combined romanticized working-class sentiments with their ferocious, twin-lead guitar attack. As the band's creative force, Lynott was a more insightful and intelligent writer than...
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