• Robert Scovill

Thin Lizzy "Live and Dangerous"

This record still creates controversy decades after it's release

"This record though has lived with considerable controversy over the years. Producer Tony Visconti claimed that the record was about 75% overdubbed ... But this claim is highly contested by the band members..."

November 27th, It’s straight up Two-fer-Tuesday here on Live Vinyl Lovefest and you all know what means! I feature a double live album where you get twice the fun at half the price. Today’s selection is Thin Lizzy’s “Live And Dangerous” It’s certainly fair to say that Thin Lizzy is a legendary band of our rock history past. Lead by Phil Lynott on vocals and bass they were a true powerhouse band to be reckoned with. While the mid-70s was the era where Lynyrd Skynyrd kind of shattered the single guitar player and soloist concept, Thin Lizzy took the two guitar player model to a whole new level. Two players playing as one in rhythm using harmony and more often than not doubling up on solos as well. Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson’s guitar sounds literally exploded out of your speakers. Their arrival just sounded so fresh.

This record though has lived with considerable controversy over the years. Producer Tony Visconti claimed that the record was about 75% overdubbed, which would leave approximately the drums and the audience as the only authentic parts of the original recordings. But this claim is highly contested by the band members; especially guitarist Brian Robertson who claimed that Visconti’s ratio was way off the mark, but they do concede the existence of overdubs on the final product.

Now, it’s important to keep the role of the live album in context to that period in the record business. At that point live albums were regularly used as “contract fillers” enabling a band to fulfill their multi-album commitment with a label before renegotiating their contract or search out a new label. So there was a different set of values for this type of recording. Authenticity was not the critical value at the time. And the crazy success of Frampton Comes Alive just two years earlier set the bar VERY high for live records that would follow. Solid, sellable performances and production was the value add of the day. And if overdubs and sweetening with canned audience was the means to that end, then so be it. And so it was the case with this album as Tony Visconti is also on record as saying the band simply did not have enough calendar days remaining on their contract to complete a studio album in order to fulfill their agreement. So, let the polishing begin.

If authenticity is your quest, then I suggest you check out “Still Dangerous” which was released not all that long ago — 2009 I think? It is 100% live without overdubs. It's on my shopping list.

All that said, these performances are notable. And the record continues to place very high on best album category lists. The captured shows on this record are spread across two tours and a number of venues around the world with the recording services coming from a number of reputable houses including Maison Rouge Mobile, Record Plant Mobile and Des Dames Studio.

A double album of two great guitar players in one band … now THAT is what “Two-fer-Tuesday is all about!

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