Lynott, the band's de facto leader, was composer or co-composer of almost all of the band's songs, and the first black Irishman to achieve commercial success in the field of hard rock music. They boasted some of the most critically acclaimed guitarists throughout their history, with Downey and Lynott as the rhythm section, on the drums and bass guitar. As well as being multiracial, the band drew their members not only from both sides of the Irish border but also from both the Catholic and Protestant communities during The Troubles.
The band played their final UK concert before their break-up at the Reading Festival on 28 August 1983, which was eventually released in 1992 as their BBC Radio One Live in Concert album. The last concert came in Nuremberg on 4 September, at the Monsters of Rock festival, after which the band members went their separate ways..
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Today's mystery album is the seventh studio album by today's Irish mystery band, released 16 October 1976. This album was written and recorded while bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott was recovering from a bout of hepatitis that put him off the road halfway through the previous Jailbreak tour. Once Lynott had returned to the UK from the aborted US tour in June 1976, he spent time in hospital in Manchester recovering from hepatitis. He had an acoustic guitar with him and wrote the songs for today's mystery album during June and July. After his release from hospital, Lynott joined the other members of the band and travelled to Munich in August to record the album at Musicland Studios with producer John Alcock.
Early in the recording process, it became clear that neither the band nor the production team were happy with the studios or the recording process, and they experienced particular trouble obtaining a satisfactory drum sound. On 6 August, they abandoned the sessions and returned to Ramport Studios in Battersea (where the previous Jailbreak album had been recorded), and Olympic Studios in Barnes, London. Guitarist Brian Robertson has said that there was plenty of material from which to choose for the album, up to eight or nine tracks apart from the ten that appeared on the final album. However, Alcock claims that the album suffered because Lynott needed more time to finish the songs, and that some tracks, like "Boogie Woogie Dance", were not strong enough to make the album.
It proved to be the last album on which Robertson featured as a full member of the band, as the personality clashes between him and Lynott resulted in Robertson being sacked, reinstated, and later sacked again.
The mystery album reached No.11 in the UK charts, sold enough for that golddisc The single "Don't Believe a Word" reached No.12 in the UK and No.2 in Ireland.
Thin Lizzy used their usual cover artist, Jim Fitzpatrick, to design the sleeve for Johnny the Fox, but he was asked to provide the finished design before the album was given a title. When Lynott asked him for something Celtic, but not the usual kind of Celtic rock design, Fitzpatrick drew a complicated neo-gothic Celtic border with a disc in the centre, left blank for the title and central design. When the deadline was approaching and he grew desperate to finish it, he asked Lynott for any idea of a title to inspire him. An earlier Fitzpatrick design had the same border with the figure of a warrior in the centre, but both Lynott and Fitzpatrick felt that the fox represented a sort of "outsider" character, much like the panther on the cover of their 1974 album, Nightlife.
On 24 January 2011, a new remastered and expanded of today's mystery album was released. This new edition is a 2-CD set, with the original album on disc one, and bonus material on disc two. It should be noted that only the bonus material on disc two has been remastered in 2010 (despite what it says on the back of the CD booklet). Disc one uses the same remaster as the 1996 edition. New remasters were made, but scrapped at the last minute before the release, for reasons unknown. Well it's up for grabs here...N'Joy
Goldy Rhox 209 (flac 468mb)
Goldy Rhox 209 (ogg 165mb)
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