Reviews & Spotlights
Phil Lynott's Grand Slam: Slam Anthems
Phil Lynott was the unforgettable frontman for the Irish rockers THIN LIZZY. But most don't remember that he formed another band after leaving the "boys" and before his untimely passing in 1986 called GRAND SLAM. But, now a 6CD treasure trove of recordings from that era called Phil Lynott's Grand Slam - Slam Anthems goes a long way in rectifying this productive yet lost or mostly overlooked chapter of the Lynott legacy.
Phil's death in 1986 was and is one of the great tragic losses of music history. A mere 36 years of age when he passed, Lynott founded and fronted one of the best rock bands of the '70s, Thin Lizzy, and was certainly the most popular rock singer to emerge from Dublin (prior to the Bono Era). Although his struggles with substance abuse would profoundly shape his latter career, his artistic talent continued to shine through in his post-Thin Lizzy projects including the fledgling rock group that seemed to have the potential to overtake the great Lizzy, Grand Slam!
Lynott started working with Magnum keyboardist Mark Stanway as part of Lynott's live solo band in 1983 and by 1984 would eventually solidify a line-up that included guitarist Laurence Archer, rhythm guitarist Doish Nagle and drummer Robbie Brennan and change their name to Grand Slam. Although the group never issued an official studio album, they played numerous shows around Europe and cut a series of demos that proved Lynott still had incredible songs in him and a brilliant career ahead. Grand Slam songs such as "Sisters Of Mercy" and "Nineteen" were so good they eventually ended up on some posthumous Thin Lizzy albums!
Now those songs and those live performances have been remastered to their absolute best sonic quality and packaged in a deluxe 6CD box set to be released on June 9. Slam Anthems is a true treasure trove of superb new mixes of Grand Slam songs as well as killer full concert recordings that feature songs from throughout Lynott's stellar career. Each disc comes packaged in its own wallet with rare band photos and the whole box features a 20-page full-color booklet filled with informative liner notes from music historian Dave Thompson.
Disc 1 uncovers and dusts off some gems like the redemptive "Sisters Of Mercy" and the driving and thoughtful "I Still Think Of You". A short incendiary live set from London in 1984 featured on Disc 4 reveals how Grand Slam was becoming a potent act in concert. The 15 tracks on Disc 6: Demos are the most insightful and show what was to come especially on the mashup cover of "Whiter Shade Of Pale / Like A Rolling Stone" that captures Lynott's charisma still burning bright on a early take of a well-produced number. Many of the songs rock hard in that classic 70's style while "Gay Boys" most recalls the patented and beloved Lizzy sound and structure with a spoken call and response reminiscent of E Street or Eddie Money.
So, spread the word around - guess who's back in town? Even though he has been gone for almost 40 years now the powerful presence of the great Phil Lynott lives on this collection of rarities that sometimes does hit it out of the park.
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Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch |
Phil Lynott's Grand Slam - Slam Anthems