Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher packages bring hope for the future and proof that there is a god (for fans of Irish rock)

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By Steve Newton

With the COVID-19 epidemic causing death and economic destruction worldwide, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about in the last six months.

But that all changed this week when a new double-disc collection by Rory Gallagher and a massive box set from Thin Lizzy were announced.

Let’s hear it for the life-affirming, uplifting power of guitar-driven Irish rock!

First off came word from Universal Music that the one-and-only Rory Gallagher would be represented by the release on October 9 of The Best of Rory Gallagher. The collection–a welcome followup to last year’s Check Shirt Wizard: Live in ’77–will be available in 15-track versions on black or clear vinyl, but if you opt for the two-CD version you get 30 tracks, including four from Gallagher’s Taste days and an outtake from Jerry Lee Lewis’s 1973 London Sessions featuring Rory singing and playing on the Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.

Let’s hope a copy of The Best of Rory Gallagher somehow finds its way into the hands of the dim bulbs who run the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so they might finally realize that the Irish stringbender’s absence from their hallowed institution has been a disgrace and do something about it.

As if the Gallagher news weren’t enough, Universal announced today–on what would have been Phil Lynott’s 71st birthday–the release of Rock Legends, a super-deluxe box set featuring 99 Thin Lizzy tracks, 74 of them previously unreleased. The six-CD, one-DVD package was compiled from a collection of newly discovered tapes and boasts numerous demos, radio sessions, live recordings, and rare single edits.

The set also includes the hour-long BBC documentary Bad Reputation, tour programs bound into a hard-backed book, Phil Lynott’s poetry, four prints by Lizzy cover artist Jim Fitzpatrick, and quotes from such notable Lizzy fans as Slash, Lemmy, Joe Elliott, Geddy Lee, James Hetfield, and Ian Gillan. I wasn’t asked to contribute, but you can discover my most precious Thin Lizzy memory right here.

Unbelievably, like Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy has also been denied entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, despite being eligible for years. Somebody should send Jan Wenner a copy of Rock Legends, or just hit him upside the head with it.

Thin Lizzy – Rock Legends Tracklist

CD ONE – The Singles:
01 “Whiskey In The Jar” – 7″ Edit
02 “Randolph’s Tango” – Radio Edit*
03 “The Rocker” – 7″ Edit
04 “Little Darling” – 7″ Single
05 “Philomena” – 7″ Single
06 “Rosalie” – 7″ Mix*
07 “Wild One” – 7″ Single
08 “The Boys Are Back In Town” – 7” Edit*
09 “Jailbreak” – 7” Edit*
10 “Don’t Believe A Word” – 7″ Single
11 “Dancing In The Moonlight” – 7″ Single
12 “Rosalie / Cowgirl’s Song” – 7″ Single
13 “Waiting For An Alibi” – Extra Verse
14 “Do Anything You Want To” – 7″ Single
15 “Sarah” – 7″ Single
16 “Chinatown” – 7” DJ/Radio Edit*
17 “Killer On The Loose” – 7″ Single
18 “Trouble Boys” – 7″ Single
19 “Hollywood (Down On Your Luck)” – 7” Edit*
20 “Cold Sweat” – 7″ Single
21 “Thunder And Lightning” – 7” Edit*
22 “The Sun Goes Down” – 7” Remix*

CD TWO – Decca Rarities:

01 “The Farmer” – Debut 7″ single
02 “I Need You” – Debut 7″ single B-side*
03 “Whiskey In The Jar” – Extended Version Rough Mix*
04 “Black Boys On The Corner” – Rough Mix*
05 “Little Girl In Bloom” – US Single Promo Edit*
06 “Gonna Creep Up On You” – Acetate*
07 “Baby’s Been Messin’” – Acetate*
08 “1969 Rock + Intro” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 16 January 1973*
09 “Buffalo Gal + Intro” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 16 January 1973*
10 “Suicide + Intro” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 16 January 1973*
11 “Broken Dreams + Intro” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 16 January 1973*
12 “Eddie’s Blues/Blue Shadows + Intro” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 16 January 1973*
13 “Dublin + Intro” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 16 January 1973*
14 “Ghetto Woman” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 04 January 1974*
15 “Things Ain’t Working Out Down At The Farm” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 04 January 1974*
16 “Going Down” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 04 January 1974*
17 “Slow Blues” – RTE Radio Eireann Session 04 January 1974*

CD THREE – Mercury Rarities:

01 “Rock And Roll With You” – Instrumental Demo*
02 “Banshee” – Demo*
03 “Dear Heart” – Demo*
04 “Nightlife” – Demo*
05 “Philomena” – Demo*
06 “Cadillac” – Instrumental Demo*
07 “For Those Who Love To Live” – Demo*
08 “Freedom Song” – Demo*
09 “Suicide” – Demo*
10 “Silver Dollar” – Demo*
11 “Jesse’s Song” – Instrumental Demo
12 “Kings Vengeance” – Demo*
13 “Jailbreak” – Demo*
14 “Cowboy Song” – Demo*

CD FOUR – Mercury Rarities:

01 “The Boys Are Back In Town” – Demo*
02 “Angel From The Coast” – Demo*
03 “Running Back” – Demo*
04 “Romeo And The Lonely Girl” – Demo*
05 “Warriors” – Demo*
06 “Emerald” – Demo*
07 “Fool’s Gold” – Demo*
08 “Weasel Rhapsody” – Demo*
09 “Borderline” – Demo*
10 “Johnny” – Demo*
11 “Sweet Marie” – Demo*
12 “Requiem For A Puffer (AKA Rocky)” – Alternate Vocal, “Rocky He’s A Roller”*
13 “Killer Without A Cause” – Demo*
14 “Are You Ready” – Demo*
15 “Blackmail” – Demo*
16 “Hate” – Demo*

CD FIVE – Mercury Rarities:

01 “S & M” – Demo*
02 “Waiting For An Alibi” – Demo*
03 “Got To Give It Up” – Demo*
04 “Get Out Of Here” – Demo*
05 “Roisin Dubh (Black Rose) A Rock Legend” – Demo*
06 “Part One: Shenandoah”*
07 “Part Two: Will You Go Lassie Go”*
08 “Part Three: Danny Boy”*
09 “Part Four: The Mason’s Apron”*
10 “We Will Be Strong” – Demo*
11 “Sweetheart” – Demo*
12 “Sugar Blues” – Demo*
13 “Having A Good Time” – Demo*
14 “It’s Going Wrong” – Demo*
15 “I’m Gonna Leave This Town” – Demo*
16 “Kill” – Demo*
17 “In The Delta” – Demo*
18 “Don’t Let Him Slip Away” – Demo*
19 “The Sun Goes Down” – Demo*

CD SIX – Chinatown Tour 1980:

01 “Are You Ready?” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980) *
02 “Hey You” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980)*
03 “Waiting For An Alibi” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980) *
04 “Jailbreak” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980)*
05 “Do Anything You Want To Do” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980)*
06 “Don’t Believe A Word” – Tralee (12/04/1980) *
07 “Dear Miss Lonely Hearts” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980)*
08 “Got To Give It Up” – Hammersmith Day 3 (30/05/1980)*
09 “Still In Love With You” – Hammersmith Day 3 (30/05/1980)*
10 “Chinatown” – Hammersmith Day 3 (30/05/1980)*
11 “The Boys Are Back In Town” – Hammersmith Day 3 (30/05/1980)*
12 “Suicide” -Hammersmith Day 3 (30/05/1980)*
13 “Sha La La” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980)*
14 “Rosalie” – Hammersmith Day 2 (29/05/1980)*
15 “Whiskey In The Jar” – Hammersmith Day 3 (30/05/1980)*

* = previously unreleased

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