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Bad Reputation (Expanded Edition)

Thin Lizzy

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Album Review

If Thin Lizzy got a bit too grand and florid on Johnny the Fox, they quickly corrected themselves on its 1977 follow-up, Bad Reputation. Teaming up with legendary producer Tony Visconti, Thin Lizzy managed to pull off a nifty trick of sounding leaner and tougher than they did on Johnny, yet they also had a broader sonic palette. Much of this is due, of course, to Visconti, who always had a flair for subtle dramatics that never called attention to themselves, and he puts this to use in dramatic effect here, to the extent that Lizzy sound stripped down to their bare bones, even when they have horns pushing them forward on "Dancing in the Moonlight" or when overdubbed vocals pile up on the title track. Of course, they were stripped down to a trio on this record, lacking guitarist Brian Robertson, but Scott Gorham's double duty makes his absence unnoticeable. Plus, this is pure visceral rock & roll, the hardest and heaviest that Thin Lizzy ever made, living up to the promise of the title track. And, as always, a lot of this has to do with Phil Lynott's writing, which is in top form whether he's romanticizing "Soldiers of Fortune" or heading down the "Opium Trail." It adds up to an album that rivals Jailbreak as their best studio album. [The 2011 reissue of the album sports remastered sound and a handful of bonus tracks made up of versions of album tracks recorded for BBC Sessions and a soundcheck recording of "Me and the Boys."]

Biography

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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