Pink Floyd. Led Zeppelin. Thin Lizzy.
That’s right: It’s time for a proper introduction to one of the greatest rock bands of all time. On July 10, Light in the Attic Records will reissue Thin Lizzy’s eponymous first album. If you like music even a little, you’re advised to pay attention.
The reissue is three years in the making. Kevin “Sipreano” Howes, a Vancouver-dwelling journalist, DJ and general musical encyclopedia has long championed Thin Lizzy to Light in the Attic, the Seattle label renowned for its painstakingly produced reissues and compilations of forgotten pop-music treasures. (Since 2004, Howes has produced critically lauded collections of music by the Monks, Rodriguez, Shin Joong Hyun, Jackie Mittoo and a dozen more). Simply put, Thin Lizzy is one of Howes’ favorite records. He felt compelled to give it its due.
“To create something so powerful and at the same time so sensitive is quite an accomplishment,” Howes says of the album. “Not many bands can muster such range.”
Especially in their earliest work. Emerging from the fertile rock scene of early-‘60s Dublin and helmed by bass-playing singer Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy would eventually register worldwide hits with “Whiskey in the Jar” and “The Boys Are Back in Town.” The band’s hard-charging, twin lead guitars significantly influenced later bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Smashing Pumpkins. But before that, their 1971 debut as a trio on Ireland’s Decca Records registered a different sort of soul-folk sound that many later fans never heard.
“They had a hardcore fan base in Ireland but it took years for them to hit their stride commercially,” Howes says.
Light in the Attic head Matt Sullivan says Thin Lizzy’s current label, Universal Records, didn’t jump at the idea of a reissue. “It was a hard release in some ways. Universal is nice to work with but they’re a large corporation, so they get so many requests for things. We wanted to add liners and interview original members. It took time to put the pieces together.”
Light in the Attic’s reissue of Thin Lizzy is remastered from original tapes and comes on 180-gram vinyl, packaged with reproductions of original album art, liner notes by Howes (which include interview material with founding Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell), and a reprint of a vintage promotional poster. It’ll retail for around $15, far less than the $100 the original Decca pressing fetches on eBay.
“It’s goosebump sort of material on the album,” Howes says. “Even just now talking to you, the hair on my arms is standing up.”