38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2002
It took far too long for Thin Lizzy to step up to the plate with a major performance like this. They had flirted with good albums for years, but everything finally came together. As far as the review saying this was typical 80's metal, then this must be great, because it was the mid 70's. Just goes to show they were a band well ahead of their time!
The great lyrics, driving bass, Lynott's crooning, the double edged guitar attack that would become a trademark, and the pounding rhythms of Brian Downey's drums create a masterpiece! I can't even begin to tell you there are any songs you'd have to wade through to get to something good. These are all Lizzy killers! My favorites are "Warriors" and "Emerald", where the group shows they can play swords and sorcery with the best of them. The variety of most Lizzy albums is present even here with the slower "Romeo and the Lonely Girl" and "Running Back". Strong rockers are the three everyone knows, "Jailbreak", "the Cowboy Song", and "the Boys Are Back In Town".
Maybe it's just reliving great times from high school or one of the hottest tours I've seen with Robin Trower, but JAILBREAK is one of those lifetime achievements few bands, no matter how good, ever accomplish. Definitely a 100 all-time best CD!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2005
I remember buying this in the summer of 1976 after hearing "The Boys Are back in Town" on the radio a few times. That song is one of the top 10 songs ever! When I bought it as an LP (remember those?), I was so excited and distracted that I put the wrong side on the turntable. Instead of that song, out of the speakers came the title track JAILBREAK. Another timeless classic. Needles to say, the entire record of 9 songs was fantastic and there truly isn't a dud on here. Since then I have bought these songs on cassette, CD, and now the remastered version. Great story in the liner notes too. Buy it and read it for yourself. It is almost hard to believe the recorded output Lizzy put out in the years of 1975 through 1977. Quality too. Hell, "Johnny the Fox" also came out later that year in '76 and is every bit as good as this, unfortunately overlooked because of the lack of a hit. Personal favorites on here are "Romeo and the Lonely Girl", "Emerald", and "Warriors". I love them all. If you want some great rock songs with excellent twin guitar breaks, this is for you. See where Maiden, Leppard, and The Darkness got it from in the first place! My only question on this reissue is why has Scott Gorham been eliminated on the Overlaord's video screen on the cover? He is the only member from this group performing in the current Thin Lizzy lineup and for some reason, he is missing.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2004
Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. Has there ever been a better twin lead guitar record ever recorded? After listening to a spine-tingling jamfest like "Emerald", it would be tough to find anything better than Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak".
Gorham and Robertson are astounding on this tremendous effort from 1976. This record has it all; legendary frontman Phil Lynott providing solid bass work along with his sly "ghetto" vocal, the incessant rhythmic rolling of drummer Brian Downey, a range of song styles that is rare for any artist from any decade, and of course.....there's Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson with guitar acrobatics throughout. A truly amazing record through and through.
Most people know the two big hits from the record, "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back In Town", as they are in constant rotation on your local Classic Rock stations; but it's the rest of the record that is really electrifying. With songs such as "Romeo And The Lonely Girl", "Warriors", and "Cowboy Song" rounding out the album, my jaw drops every time I listen. From the initial explosion of the very first note of the title track to kick things off, to the most amazing dual lead guitar solos ever recorded on "Emerald", this is a record that has so much to offer in every facet of the "classic rock formula". With the jumpy, jangling guitar work that shuffles through "Angel From The Coast" and "Romeo And The Lonely Girl", and the free and easy pop cadence of "Running Back", this is not only a record with a lot of muscle, but a record with loads of eloquence also. Check out the ultra-cool and mellow mood of "Fight Or Fall", which reminds this writer of 70's African-American cultural nuances such as the "afro" and Cooley High". This is an artful record with phenomenal musicianship. It's difficult to talk about anyone else with those two overwhelming guitarists doing the job, but let's not forget an amazing drum performance by Brian Downey. Numerous times I have listened to some records and just wind up wishing for a crash cymbal to sound at that perfect place, or a drum fill that never comes. Downey never disappoints here. With constant drum fills rolling through almost every track, and great explosiveness with precise timing, he matches the guitar intensity extremely well. Check out the six measure drum solo in "Warriors", ...great stuff.
I keep returning to it though. Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. Wow.
This may be the only record that the guitars have more "lyrics" than the singer. I believe, that the sign of great guitar soloing is when the listener can almost "sing" what's been played. When I think about this record, and find it buzzing in my head at the dinner table, it is the finely crafted guitar solos that I find to be the hooks here! This is an amazing thing!! I cannot think of more than 5 records that have solos that stick anywhere near this heavy. The guitar parts of this record are songs within themselves. They take on personality and character, and they ultimately become entities. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
If you are a fan of great guitar playing, and you have not heard this entire record....PLEASE, find it - hear it - end up "singing" the greatest solos ever recorded.
For more Dr. Music reviews, visit DrMusic.new-sounds.com
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2004
This album was the first time I had heard of the band "Thin Lizzy", (I was 13 at the time. It was our nation's bicentennial!). It was also the album that made me want to learn guitar as a kid, and I knew exactly how I wanted to sound. LIKE THESE GUYS!!!!
To me the look and sound of Thin Lizzy was the coolest. I never felt cheated with any of their STUDIO albums (even "Renegade" had some great moments on it), and I admire their courage to record songs that made Thin Lizzy a truly "singular" band.
But not everyone was so taken with this band. Critically they were often slammed. Read what Robert Christgau wrote about Thin Lizzy, and the album "Jailbreak"....... (from Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981)....
>>>The proof of how desperate people are for new Springsteen is that they'll settle for this -- even "The Boys Are Back in Town" is the sort of thing that ends up in Bruce's wastebasket. If Irish teen traumas are as boring as Phil Lynott's descriptions of them, it's no wonder they have trouble maintaining their birthrate. And if Irish teen traumas are as secondhand as Scott Gorham's guitar lines, the Irish will probably end up preferring Springsteen too. B- <<<<<
I'm glad Thin Lizzy sound didn't compare to the bombast of "everyman" and critical darling, Bruce Springsteen. And I'm glad that the band kept doing what IT wanted to musically, critics be damned. Thin Lizzy's guitar work when Scott and Brian played together was brilliant, the song styles and subject matter varied, the song writing was at times subpar (being honest here), but usually excellent. They were never boring. There sound was exciting, and at times different and very challenging, unlike Springsteen (why people tried to compare the two is beyond me).
When Thin Lizzy released these 4 studio albums consecutively....Jailbreak (1976) Johnny the Fox (1976) Bad Reputation (1977) Black Rose (1979)....it was rock nirvana for me. I can't think of another band that influenced me in my youth the way these guys did, and I thank them for it. I would have given anything to play guitar like Scott and Brian, and be as cool as Phil.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2007
While this is certainly a great album by Thin Lizzy, containing perhaps their 3 best songs ("Jailbreak", "The Boys Are Back in Town" and "Cowboy Song"), I don't agree with most of the other reviews that this is their best album. Don't get me wrong. This is a superb hard rock album without any filler, just good songs start to finish. But, the album that preceded this one, "Fighting", is the one I would consider their absolute best album. I owned both vinyl copies and they both got worn out on my turntable. But, it was "Fighting" that first turned me on to Thin Lizzy. If you like "Jailbreak", you have to do yourself a favor and purchase "Fighting" also. Two great albums by one of the best rock bands of the 70's.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2002
This album's greatness makes me realize that Thin Lizzy never really got its due, or at least it sure doesn't get it now. Everybody knows (and overplays) The Boys are Back in Town, but the title track is even better, in my opinion. The carefree, rebellious attitude is what rock is all about, and the simple lyrics help get that across. Also, the eruption of rock on The Cowboy Song makes it my second favorite on the album. If you're looking for another classic rock album to add to your collection, this one is a good choice.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2005
I know we all know, Zeppelin ,sabbath, Deep purple, but what about Thin Lizzy.
If "Fighting" made Lizzy sound like a real great hard rock band, "Jaikbreak" had made them eternal.
Perfectly mixing melodic riffs with heavy tones, Jailbreak is outstanding.
Like all the albuns from this era, the most distinctable thing are the guitar duets between Gorham and Robertson (don't ask me which one is better)
Check out "The boys..." "jailbreak" and "Angel from the coast"
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2005
Most would credit those such as Elvis(obvious), the Stones, Beatles, & Van Halen as being the best of all time. They may have been great, but I have news for the world in 2005! I, myself, obtained my first copy of Jailbreak at age 25(2001) & while I was brainwashed most of my life by just commercially known outfits, I was born again and saw the light with Thin Lizzy and the late(1/4/86), greatest Phil Lynott. We all know "The Boys Are Back In Town, but this is just the beginning. While Downey, Gorham, & Robertson fit the mold of the long haired, blonde stereotyped looking rock star, Philip Parris Lynott of Irish-Brazilian dark & curly haired decent was a legend & (Black Rose) to look up too. How ironic after all this time that this one was the best all this time*
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2008
All Thin Lizzy is worth delving into. Lynott was one of those rare individuals. The fact that all you ever hear is the boys are back in town is just downright criminal. They have such an impressive catalog. Great dual guitar sound, great drummer, great songwriting. Faves are this album, Live & Dangerous, and Johnny The Fox.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2013
With that opening blast riff of Jailbreak, no one in 1976 was prepared for that song. It's gotta be one of the greatest rock n roll songs of all time. That killer riff and those smoking little lead bits before the 2nd and 3rd verse. That chorus with that multi tracked backing vocals, Lynott's cool swagger in the vocal delivery. The chorus itself's main hook is the rhythm guitar belting out that power chord, with the lead phrase overtop of it. There's really nothing like it. Sadly Phil could never write anything as grand as this song on a commercial scale but if you're a Lizzy fan you've learned to live with that and most likely love everything else they've done. Angel From The Coast is a fun rocker, it carries the momentum from the classic title song very well. Featuring some awesome galloping drum/lead guitar sections. Running Back is another of those mid paced "light rockers". It has a nice little riff, some slight background organ work and really nice vocal/guitar hook in the chorus. Romeo And The Lonely Girl is a minor highlight. It goes for that formula established on the previous year's Fighting album of multi-tracking acoustic and electric riffs together to create a rocking but retrained sound. The chorus is a little weak on this song, it features Phil crying out "oh poor Romeo, sitting all on his own-eo". But, still a nice tune and it does have another inspired guitar solo.
Warriors starts out slow, but erupts into a tough rocker, it would go on to be one of the bands live staples. It has another killer punchy riff and some explosive twin lead lines. Fight Or Fall is the albums ballad, and much like The Wild One, it has a some delicate guitar lines and vocal melodies that are really very pretty. It's been said before and will be said again, the heartfelt working class rock ballad's undisputed king was undoubtedly Phil Lynott. Few rock bands could do ballads in general as well as Lizzy did. The Cowboy Song is of course one of the bands most well known songs. A live staple from here on out. It starts out with a pretty nostalgic slow opening that really does evoke the imagery of the old west before morphing into a fun brash rocker with another great set of vocal/guitar melodies and some great hooky leads that you'll never forget. Then there's...The Boys Are Back In Town. What can you say about it that hasn't already been? The song is a rock n roll masterpiece much like Jailbreak, oddly the only 2 Phil ever wrote. The song came at just the right time. 1976, a year before Springsteen had become a huge star with Born To Run. And you also had Tom Petty's debut record hitting the same year. Yeah Tom didn't experience breakthrough success in the US with it but the overall notion of the "nostalgic songwriting musings set to epic poetry style" was breaking in at the time. And the song evokes it to a T. Bar fights, Dino's bar and grill, jukebox, summer nights, it's all there. Street level romanticism's that most US audiences would identify with. And the music...the main riff is simple but it's the later half of the song's twin lead lines that are just majestic. Some of the finest twin leads ever committed to tape. The song embodies rock n roll as an art form. The album wraps up with Emerald. A bombastic rocker filled with Irish imagery. It contains one of the heaviest Gorham/Robertson riffs ever, and a breakdown twin lead riff that is purely epic.
Jailbreak doesn't exactly feature the best set of Lizzy songs, there are some amazing gems on their other records for sure but in a way it is lightning in a bottle almost. The overall feel of the album catches something truly special. Phil Lynott wrote some awesome songs on the bands following albums but for some reason none of them became big hits like Jailbreak or the Boys. Because of that the 2 songs themselves became culture landmarks of the 1970's. Jailbreak WAS the perfect song for the mid 70s, it has that wild rambunctious juvenile feel and the cover art itself IS Thin Lizzy. The band here is depicted in comic book form much like Kiss was the same year with their breakthrough Destroyer album. So it captured that youthful pop culture fascination kids had with rock and it's general mystique. Phil spent the rest of his career chasing that success again but never had it, still, Jailbreak is a milestone hard rock/heavy metal album. Is it Lizzy's best? It's debatable but in a way it probably is because even though they made further masterpiece hard rockers like Bad Reputation, Roisin Dubh, Holy War, Cold Sweat and Waiting For An Alibi, the Jailbreak album has the band at their hungriest and that certainly is always the most important era of any great band.