Regularly cited as one of the greatest pure rock stars of all time, Philip Lynott had already guided hard rock heroes Thin Lizzy for over a decade and nine studio albums before embarking on his first solo effort, Solo in Soho, in 1980. Always the life of any party, Lynott would hold court in the studio, preaching an open-house policy which led to collaborations with countless fellow musicians and party animals (Huey Lewis, Gary Moore, Ultravox's Midge Ure, etc.) and which led to a star-studded solo debut. Recorded by the regular band without any outside guests, opener "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts" is the great, lost Thin Lizzy track -- a Lynott masterpiece -- from its immaculate songwriting, to its innocently romantic tell-tale lyrics. "King's Call" is slightly less inspired, but benefits from a laid-back vibe and typically fluid guitar solo from Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler. From here on out, Lynott introduces a wild assortment of new sounds and styles, including the gorgeous string overkill of "A Child's Lullaby"; the saxophone- and synthesizer-led pop of "Tattoo" and "Girls," respectively; the reggae swing of the title track (a shameless re-write of Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives"); the Spanish guitar of "Jamaican Run"; and even the full-on electronic dance music of "Yellow Pearl." The darker "Ode to a Black Man" revisits more familiar hard rock turf (and even shares some lyrics with "Didn't I" from Lizzy's Chinatown album of the same year), while "Talk in 79" brings the album to a close with a muscular bassline, topped with Lynott's husky voice delivering free-form poetry. An album that serious Thin Lizzy fans will have to own.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia