Review: Phil Lynott - "The Philip Lynott Album"

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Phil Lynott

The Philip Lynott Album

By Rick Friel

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“That this was no ordinary man”

Look at you and me. All of us imperfect. Trying to be perfect when we know we can’t be. I’ve learned I have perfect moments. I struggle sometimes but I love the whole journey. I’m in a better place to do so. Phil Lynott knew all about this struggle. He sang about it with Thin Lizzy and on his own. He let it all hang out. All his hangups, his joys, his anger. He’d tell you: I’m a fool. I’m a failure. I got to give up heroin. I’m trying. The business is tough. I love my kids. I’m a hypocrite. It was honesty wrapped up in melody.

Listening to Thin Lizzy in my bedroom as a kid on a cheap stereo with those big headphones with the curly cord, I learned how to write songs and got a new person to admire in Phil Lynott, but I didn’t get how much he bared his soul. Living alone in a studio in my 30s I spent many nights listening to him on a boombox with small Sony headphones on and I got it. How remarkable he was. Is.

This album is really cool. I got it back in 1982 but didn’t listen to it much. It didn’t rock. It took me about 20 years to really get into the vibe.

“Fatalistic Attitude” is about all of us wanting to be loved and feeling like no one cares. Facing the reality that we are alone without love. I get that now 30 years later. Better late than never! “The Man’s A Fool” asks “Do you think we can still trust?” I say we must. I have to try.

My favorite song on here is “Old Town”. Such a wonderful tune. Oh the feelings you have after a hard break up. Going over what went wrong. The romance is over. Knowing you’ll recover eventually but you miss the other person so much.

“This boy is cracking up. This boy has broken down.” The way his words tumble over each other is really something. He sounds cheery as he sings a sad song. I shake my head and smile. I can so relate! In any sadness I keep my smile, my humor. “Together” is his post-post break up song where he realizes what he had but knows its no longer a reality. And again the song has such joy in the beats and his ever-present bass pumping. Man he is such an underrated bass player. Can we talk about that? His tone. His style. One of my biggest influences for sure. I know how good he was. He sings so tenderly to his daughters in “Cathleen” and “Growing Up” showing his Irish pride and just telling how much he loves them. It is so touching.

We’re all here for such a short while, we better love. On “Ode To Liberty” he wishes he could see what the future holds for all of us. If it got better. If it didn’t, he’d try again. That shows heart. Phil was following his muse. I hear it in “Yellow Pearl” and I hear it in “Gino." Going this way and that; all kinds of musical directions and sounds. That’s what I have always done too. People like Phil encouraged me. I never stayed just one way. It’s all music. Sometimes I think I should have, but I have to follow my muse and see where it goes. It’s my path. Phil was on his.

In “Don’t Talk About Me Baby,” he tells the person he loves that he wants to tell them his dreams, so have his back when he’s not around. I have my wife’s back. She’s got mine.

Speaking of wives, in “Little Bit Of Water” he uses water as a metaphor for true love. How his wife changed his life with love. Love replenishes us all. I know all about that - it’s true.

As long as you’re making art that is you and comes from the heart then it’s worth putting out. It doesn’t matter if anyone likes it. What matters that is you felt something while doing it. It’s coming from a deep place. Our hearts. Phil had heart. Now in our home in my late 40s, I’m listening to him with earbuds on my iPhone. I need a reminder from Phil to always have heart in whatever I do. I’m inspired. Again. Put it on shuffle.

As he sings in “The Man’s A Fool,” “this was no ordinary man.” I agree.

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