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Live Tonite... Plus!

Eric Bell

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Album Review

Thin Lizzy's forgotten guitar hero returns in a bare-bones blues trio format, taped before an appreciative crowd. Curiously, the venue isn't listed, although the album's Swedish-only release in 1996 most likely points there. Angel Air's reissue sweetens the pot with three tracks not on the original release. Straight-ahead blues is the game here. The gig opens with a rampage through "The Stumble," whose 1966 recording featured Eric Clapton on guitar. Bell's style is scrappier, but no less spirited, as he demonstrates on brisk strides through standards like "Baby Please Don't Go," "Oh Pretty Woman," and "Things I Used to Do." Being an Irishman also enables Bell to explore his own roots, as evidenced by a show-stopping slow burn through Van Morrison's epic ballad, "Madame George." Naturally, Bell revisits his Thin Lizzy days with a fiery demolition of the late Phil Lynott's swaggering macho anthem "The Rocker." Bell makes room for Lizzy's rearrangement of the traditional "Whiskey in the Jar" — a song so radical it didn't include a bass part, yet still graced the U.K. Top Ten in 1973, and soars just as highly here. The real surprise is why Bell includes just three originals, including the lovelorn lament of "Two Ships" and "Just to Get By," a world-weary tally of life's ups and downs. That neither track made the original cut is amazing. But that's a minor point, especially since the music here is so crisp. Bell's guitar is succinct and to the point, while bassist Tony Wooton and drummer Romek Parol lend appropriately unobtrusive support. (The Bell-written anecdotes, "Just a Belfast Boy," are also delightful.) Pure blues fans and Lizzy devotees should find plenty to satisfy them here.

Biography

Born: 03 September 1947 in Belfast, Ireland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Eric Bell may not have been present for Thin Lizzy's best-known and most successful era (the mid- to late '70s), but he was there for the group's formation as a founding member. Born on September 3, 1947 in Belfast, Ireland, Bell played guitar throughout the '60s for several local bands (including Them, and John Farrell & the Dreams), but paid the bills by working as a street gas lamp lighter, and in both pickle and shirt factories. One night in 1969, Bell caught a gig by another local Irish...
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Live Tonite... Plus!, Eric Bell
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