Tag Archives: Dublin

Rocks In The Attic #515: Thin Lizzy – ‘Jailbreak’ (1976)

RITA#515I’ve been blasting Lizzy a lot recently. Their Wild One compilation, the CD that turned me onto them, is a favourite on my iPod. There’s nothing like a quick blast of Jailbreak to decompress on my drive home from work.

I saw the fantastic film Sing Street recently. Directed by John Carney, formerly of Irish band the Frames, it’s set in Dublin like his awesome 2007 film Once. That earlier film had a lovely moment when the film’s protagonists try to enlist the services of a couple of Grafton Street buskers to back him on a recording of his songs. They immediately ask him if they’ll be recording ‘any Lizzy’; the subtext implying that the city’s struggling musicians haven’t moved on from the successes of its black rocker son.

Everybody’s heard The Boys Are Back In Town. Advertisers love it, and it commonly adorns film soundtracks. The title-track Jailbreak is something else though. Its white-hot, guttural guitar riff is too vulgar to be a mainstream hit. It shouldn’t work; it’s too simple. Brian Downey’s drums turn it into something else though. In the hands of a lesser drummer, it would be a dirge, but Downey’s syncopation – man, those opening high-hats! – breathes life into the arrangement.

Jailbreak is the sixth studio album by the band, and proved to be the one that broke them in the U.S.; and with good reason. It’s the perfect mix of melodic heavy rock and Phil Lynnot’s soulful, romantic lyrics. The twin-guitar of American Scott Gorham and Scot Brian Robertson also feels much more natural here than it does on earlier albums. If anything, the guitars feel fat where on the last couple of Lizzy records, they lacked that ballsy sound.

This might be the most successful Lizzy album, their biggest seller, but I prefer its follow-up Johnny The Fox, released just seven months later. They’re both so good though – the Rubber Soul / Revolver of the band.

Hit: The Boys Are Back In Town

Hidden Gem: Running Back

Rocks In The Attic #304: John Barry – ‘Goldfinger (O.S.T.)’ (1964)

RITA#301One of the things that will forever be associated with Bond is a thundering brass score on the soundtrack. This soundtrack for the series’ third film is where John Barry really hits his stride and forever links Bond with the sound of brass. From now on, the music was just as important as the moving image.

Goldfinger also represents Shirley Bassey’s debut performance as a singer of a Bond song – she would go on to provide the vocals to 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever and 1979’s Moonraker. At Glastonbury in 2007 I saw Bassey do a medley of her Bond songs – something I was glad to see, being a huge Bond fan, despite the medley sounding like it was crowbarred together by a musical arranger with epilepsy. I also saw Chris Cornell perform You Know My Name a few days later in Dublin – four Bond themes sung by their original artists in four days!

Goldfinger is far from being my favourite Bond film, but I can understand why it’s a popular favourite. It’s the archetypal Bond film that set the template for pretty much every Bond film, until 2006’s Casino Royale reset the clock.

Hit: Main Title (Goldfinger) – Shirley Bassey

Hidden Gem: Alpine Drive – Auric’s Factory