The Man and His Music, Vol. 1: The Early Years

Phil Lynott

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The Man and His Music, Vol. 1: The Early Years Review

by Greg Prato

There have always been an abundance of rare Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott tunes circulating over the years -- whether it be obscure b-sides, BBC Sessions, or demos that were never planned for public consumption in the first place. And while the 2001 box set, Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels, collected quite a few of these gems, many a stone was left unturned. For those still in search of the uncommon, then the multi-volume bootleg from 1994, Man and His Music is highly recommended. While the discs are credited solely to 'Philip,' the majority of the material is indeed Thin Lizzy. And while many bootlegs' sound quality widely varies, the majority of the Man and His Music series is sonically up to snuff. Volume one of the set goes by the title of 'The Early Years,' which collects tracks from 1969 through 1973 (although the opening selection, a Lynott poem titled "Dublin," is from 1980). A rarely heard track from Lynott's pre-Lizzy band, Skid Row, titled "New Places, Old Faces," kicks things off -- which sees Lynott uncharacteristically croon along with a flute (!). Also interesting is Lizzy's first-ever single, "The Farmer," which sounds as if the group is trying to be the Band. An early BBC session showcases a few tracks that would later become Lizzy standards, including "The Rocker" and "Suicide" (with the latter containing completely different lyrics than the version which would later appear on Fighting). But probably the best track on this inaugural volume is a one-off reunion in 1980 of Lizzy's original lineup (Phil Lynott-Brian Downey-Eric Bell), for a tribute to Jimi Hendrix titled "A Song for Jimi." If Thin Lizzy's earlier bluesy direction (sans twin guitar melodies), is your favorite era, then there are more than just a few highlights here.