Musings on music, old, new, popular and obscure. Post punk, metal, hip-hop, funk, and rock in general. A music fan with a desire to lose boundaries on what should and should not be listened to writes about experience in music from a listener's perspective, hopefully unhindered by prior expectation.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guess Who Just Got Back Today? -- Thin Lizzy

Around high school and college, I had a habit of trying to avoid limiting myself to singles and familiar tracks from any given artist as a means of making sure I didn't unintentionally and unknowingly find myself without some lesser-known but glorious music. It also helped to know where to start with artists who never really had a "Greatest Hits" due to their relative new-ness or because it simply hadn't happened in any reasonably available fashion. Of course, the fact that albums are some of the more commonly discussed in circles surrounding music history encouraged this as well, nevermind the affinity shown by musicians toward making "albums" as a cohesive unit of music starting sometime in the late 1960's, which is the beginning of when I find most music interesting.¹

As a result, I spent a lot of time in those days with complete (though simple) discographies from artists who caught my ear, thinking it would be rather peculiar for anyone to write a number of songs that I liked and only that handful--or, really, even a single song. I suppose the logic ran that if the band or artist was still known and discussed ten, twenty, thirty years on, there must have been enough of value in all their work to maintain a fanbase after their initial charms might have worn off. I've mentioned that XTC pushed me to eventually pursue more complete (sometimes excessively so) discographies, but that came from pushing through album after album, getting scattered first by things like well-regarded EPs from modern artists.

Still, for quite some time, many artists from the 1970s and 1980s in particular were available primarily only via their album-styled works or greatest hits compilations, rarities being not-oft discussed, let alone easily found. Heck, I didn't realize how often bands would even bother with them in the major label, popular-mainstream of things until stumbling into things like The Cars' Just What I Needed anthology, or The Police's Message in a Box set (which actually isn't a box, for the record).

One of the bands I picked up in those days, alongside less traditional (though possibly more loved) artists like Tom Waits--leading, incidentally, to my fascination with his lesser-regarded earlier works--was Thin Lizzy. Of course, most people think of them from that 1976 smash hit (assuming they even know what band was behind it) "The Boys Are Back in Town," and I was not much of an exception. Now, to spare you just a bit, let's drop that song in, to give those unfamiliar a simple hook to start from, via that very song:

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