Regularly cited as one of the greatest pure rock stars of all time, Philip Lynott had already guided hard rock heroes Thin Lizzy for over a decade and nine studio albums before embarking on his first solo effort, Solo in Soho, in 1980. Always the life of any party, Lynott would hold court in the studio, preaching an open-house policy which led to collaborations with countless fellow musicians and party animals (Huey Lewis, Gary Moore, Ultravox's Midge Ure, etc.) and which led to a star-studded solo debut. Recorded by the regular band without any outside guests, opener "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts" is the great, lost Thin Lizzy track -- a Lynott masterpiece -- from its immaculate songwriting, to its innocently romantic tell-tale lyrics. "King's Call" is slightly less inspired, but benefits from a laid-back vibe and typically fluid guitar solo from Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler. From here on out, Lynott introduces a wild assortment of new sounds and styles, including the gorgeous string overkill of "A Child's Lullaby"; the saxophone- and synthesizer-led pop of "Tattoo" and "Girls," respectively; the reggae swing of the title track (a shameless re-write of Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives"); the Spanish guitar of "Jamaican Run"; and even the full-on electronic dance music of "Yellow Pearl." The darker "Ode to a Black Man" revisits more familiar hard rock turf (and even shares some lyrics with "Didn't I" from Lizzy's Chinatown album of the same year), while "Talk in 79" brings the album to a close with a muscular bassline, topped with Lynott's husky voice delivering free-form poetry. An album that serious Thin Lizzy fans will have to own.
bit of a poppy solo album from Phil, with mostly shorter songs. Does have
Mark Knopfler playing lead and backing vocals on King's Call, a song about
the death of Elvis.
The first seven songs work very well, but starting with Ode to a Blackman, the album kinds of fades away, more like filler songs. Talk in 79, is interesting but the lyrics are simply terrible "The Clash were headed for a head on collision"..."Nina Hagen, she was a German maiden" hmmm
Highlights: First Seven songs all are enjoyable.
that I played this album with no sleeve and I was thinking how pathetic
parts of this album was trying to sound like other artists eg :- Truly
Dire Straits to find Knopfler polluted this album. Lyrically the album is
mostly awful too .. with "Talk in 79" where he just quotes names
of other bands in a desperate attempt to sound hip rather than old wave
and "King's Call" where the theme basically.. is 'The King died
so I got drunk'. "Solo in Soho" is embarassing but none
more so than "Jamaican Rum" a ludicrous attempt at calypso.
The only songs of note here are "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts" and his Ultravox take off "Yellow Pearl"
Paris Lynott, the main driving force and the man in command of Thin Lizzy,
initiated his solo career with Solo
in Soho, while
Lizzy was still alive 'n' kickin'. Throughout Lynott's recording career,
the bassist/vocalist was a larger than life figure, who excelled at
telling stories with his clever lyrics.
Philip went beyond the traditional hard rock approach of Lizzy on his first solo effort, experimenting and laying down ideas he held closely for several years. Surrounding himself with a variety of tight friends/experienced musicians, Solo in Soho is a case study of a man branching out and punctuating his mark. The 1980 albm of ten tracks opens with the melodic "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts", and includes a tribute to the Elvis via "Kings' Call", "Yellow Pearl", the sobering "Ode to a Blackman", and the title track.
Philip Paris Lynott... the man... the myth... the legend. Gone but never forgotten, as his work will carry on forever.
a 'little' help from his friends Gary Moore, Mark Knopfler, Huey Lewis,
Midge Ure, Billy Currie, Snowy White, Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Jimmy
Bain, Mark Nauseef, Bob C. Benberg and others, Thin Lizzy leader Phil
Lynott recorded a so-called solo album, that is still nice to listen to
from time to time.
Highlights: "King's Call", "Solo in Soho". But also two real bummers here: "Tattoo (Giving It All Up For Love"), a cheap disco track, and "Jamaican Rum", a kind of schmaltzy Caribean beach song. Embarrassing.
Great lyrics for "Talk in '79", ending the album with the very true words 'This broadcast was brought to you in 1979 / I'm just talking to you over these waves / Not just about another time and another place / And before we knew it / The old wave was gone and controlled'
Interesting mix of styles on this, Phil Lynott's solo debut. The opener "Dear Miss Lonely Hearts" is a great start. Hard guitars, and the typical Phil Lynott mastery of lyrics are abundant. The other highlights in my opinion are "solo in Soho" which has a very laid back reggae/synth vibe and yes, more excellent lyrical play from the master himself. "Girls", probably my favorite song on the album has, for me, a sentimental quality. The lyrics ring true foe anyone who has been lonely, maybe lost someone special to them...the moog synth is the star of the song, as it sets a tone which is truly unique. the riff dosent go where you thing it's going to. Add a very cool bridge where several girls have speaking parts and you have a very heartfelt, emotionally complex song. I think one of Phil's finest songs. The rest of the album oscillates between styles which are hit and miss, " A child's lullaby" is heavy on strings and a very good song, but missteps include "Tatoo" and "Talk in '79" both just didnt seem to fit in with the rest of the album. Look for guest appearances from Mark Knopfler, Midge Ure, and Huey Lewis.
mix of new wave, Caribbean/reggae, dance, blues and pop cover the contents of Philip Parris Lynott's debut solo outing. It's a good album which contains guest spots from many including Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits, Bob C Benberg from Supertramp, Midge Ure and Huey Lewis among others including all members of Thin Lizzy including Sleepy White, who is such a twat feels he "should have been payed as a session musician" for his minor contribution. With Lizzy pouring out rock classics till they were blue in the face, I guess Philo wanted to try his hand at other things, some he was successful with including the dark and seedy reggae inspired title track, which tells of a dirty tale of a down and out prostitute another of Lynott's points of conversation in song, or the bass and synth led "Talk in '79" which is another highlight. It does contain the seminal rocker in "Ode to a Black Man" which has a driving riff and lyrically is a homage to Phil's black heritage, and it is very aggressive and purposeful in its approach. Other highlights include "Girls", though a bit poppy has a good solid melody and drive and looked liked a deadringer for a hit. "Kings Call", another single release, is Phil's homage to his late hero Elvis Presley as Phil tells of despair and his comfort in getting drunk when the King died. Overall its a very personal lp maybe Phil was exercising some ghosts, or just laying bare the vagabond to us all, there are a couple of candid and poignant songs that he wrote for his kids too, laced with sentiment. His singing throughout is very convincing with the melodic nature of most of the tracks forcing Lynott to sing in a different register. Solo In Soho did not have the desired success Lynott thought it would have, it is a for the most part a departure from Thin Lizzy but that's the point in doing a solo album in first place.
Phil puts a 'gone to lunch' sign up on the shop door, takes a few hours extra, and voilΰ, it's 'Solo in Soho' time baby. It's the better of his two solo works as well, a little more confident than the 'The Philip Lynott Album', 'Girls' especially grasping at that New Romantic sound he could have blown most of its pretenders away with given a little more time. The Elvis lament 'King's Call' and Thin Lizzy track in all but name 'Dear Miss Lonely Hearts' are the two hit singles, 'Solo in Soho' is a journey to neon lights glistening off black patent knee-lenght boot clad brunettes, like much else here, its a hint of gloom and sleaze that gives Phil his hunger back. Shame other pursuits were starting to eat away at him too.
In 1979 he recorded a Christmas single, 'A Merry Jingle', under the name "The Greedies" (shortened from "The Greedy Bastards"). This featured other Lizzy members, along with Steve Jones and Paul Cook fo the 'Sex Pistols'.
The early 1980s saw Phil produce two widely acclaimed solo albums, 'Solo In Soho' and 'The Philip Lynott Album' and when the band eventually broke up in 1983, Phil started up 'Grand Slam' with Laurence Archer on guitars, Robbie Brennan on drums, Doish Nagle on rhythm guitar and Mark Stanway on keyboards. Debuting in London in June 1984, the band was well-received and continued to gig throughout that year ending with a show at the Marquee in London on December 4th.
Phil also worked with Gary Moore on Moore's tracks, 'Parisienne Walkways' which went to number 8 in 1979 and 'Out In The Fields' which reached number 5 on release in May 1985.
Although he had begun work on a new album, Phil finally succumbed to the excesses of his lifestyle and died on 4th January 1986. He left behind a legacy of work that continues to inspire and captivate audiences old and new, and carved out his well-deserved place among the greats of 20th century musicians.
where "Solo in Soho" fits into the Lynott/Lizzy collected works
won't be apparent till they've finished their own drive to '81. Certainly
this isn't an indulgent album of loose skeleton tunes from the lowest
drawer in the cupboard, as Philip Lynott eschews past empassioned tactics
to show that he too can be a cool craftsman. Often it works, sometimes it
leaves you puzzling over the missing ingredient. It's definitely a poser!
This solo album has been threatened for three years now. There's often been the hint that Lynott's musical personality couldn't be limited within the confines of Lizzy, one of the saddest but earliest examples being "Randolph's Tango", the brilliantly constructed but tragically dismissed follow-up to 'Whiskey In The Jar'. And if Lizzy have been meeting increasing fire for the conservatism of their stage set, a key document to understanding both Lynott's impatience with the critics and "Solo in Soho" may be a Melody Maker interview of last year wherein the man confided about his experimentation with synthesizers in association with Midge Ure. "Solo in Soho" is anything but a guitar album and thereby Lynott is requesting his fans keep their wits about them.
Smoky, indeed often murky, in its atmosphere- think pink and grey- it's one from Mr.Bassman, the same four-string principles sometimes connecting to the synths. "Solo in Soho" also finds Lynott exploring other black rhythms be it disco, reggae, r n' b, Motown and even calypso. And talking of rhythm machines, tip the hat to Brian Downey, who on six of the ten tracks displays, without qualification, his ability to deal from any pack.
With Lizzy, Lynott was the cool centre of the thunderstorm, the sleepy lion, sometimes purring, sometimes growling but always likely to bite and roar. But now he's gambled by dispensing with the counterpoint of flashing lightning guitars. When "Solo in Soho" is unsatisfying, it's when he hasn't found a substitute. "Solo in Soho" is a venturesome sound worth due respect; it's the sense that sometimes doesn't match it. The lyrics are often too casual to give the album the extra substance it requires.
(And don't instantly put 'A Child's Lullaby' into that category. It may not be deep but it's a heartfelt ballad to his daughter and if you can't allow yourself such endearments to young charms on a solo album, what's the opportunity worth?)
Sound and sense match perfectly on "Ode To A Black Man". True, in its redecorated rhythm n' blues it may be the closest song to Lizzy, but the song will be automatically and unanimously accepted into the canon as Lynott cuts across with his conviction that black music, both American and Jamaican, has fallen prey to complacency. This is a brown-eyed black-skinned boy talking from the heart and the track needn't boil since a simmering bass-driven groove suffices to leave the listener defenceless. It isn't just a matter of belief- Lynott presumably must believe the rest of his lyrics- rather that the lyrics are so forcefully direct and specific as to leave nobody with any doubt about his sentiments. I'd love to (kiss of death!) see it be an American hit.
"King's Call" with Mark Knopfler in attendance is equally specific, this time about fallen heroes- in this case Elvis Presley- and also revises traditional forms with Knopfler's guitar submerged to relocate the habitual D.S. groove. Again it vindicates the Downey- Lynott versatility.
"Tattoo" also will surprise, Lynott, Downey and Gorham amalgamating with the harp of Huey Lewis and Fiachra Trench's brass and string arrangements to threaten the Jackson 5's turf with a cute song.
That trio of songs easily merit inclusion but it's with 'Girls' and 'Yellow Perils' atop side two that "Solo in Soho" is most experimental. The latter is obviously about 'Things Japanese' and some sort of threat- but with its opaque lyrics, it's hard to espy exactly what. However you can forget such incidentals, as Lynott and Ure's take-off of the Yellow Magic Orchestra works playfully on mood. A Lynott disco track? Yes- and do not be distressed!
'Girls' is a more complex and adventurous combination of pop and moderne principles. It starts gloriously- something like Randy Newman's 'Jolly Coppers On Parade' meeting the Beach Boys where Brian Wilson should be- moves on to a girls talk-over but somewhere along the line it gets over-excited. More rigorously contained it could have been a classic, but as it goes on the girls over-adorning talk starts to cloy.
That leaves 'Jamaican Rum', a friendly calypso, but one that's effectively a refreshing aperitif to the main course on offer; 'Dear Miss Lonely Hearts' the single that suffers from the same over-extension as 'Girls' but lacks its stylish ideas and two further enigmas, the title track and 'Talk in '79'.
"Solo in Soho" aspires to emulate reggae and dub and the musical foundation is admirable but somehow Lynott's vocals get misplaced in the mix and don't convince. As for 'Talk In '79', it's Lynott's own pedestrian report on the conflicts of the New Wave- and again it's a missed opportunity since his cliches don't match the genuinely imaginative idea of using but a retouched rhythm track of himself and drummer Mark Nauseef.
"Solo in Soho" is simultaneously satisfying and frustrating. Strong on sound presence and performance, it shows Lynott's capacity to cope with forms outside the usual Lizzy format and is also the blackest, most groovalistic work he's ever done. But too often the lyrics are lax, being neither specific or glacially obscure and symbolic enough for the various tasks in hand. He's too often trapped within his own charisma, his own ideal of himself as a Romeo.
Where "Solo in Soho" will lead Lizzy and Lynott, we'll all have to find out. It certainly could fall victim to disturbing the band's more conservative fans whilst being over-speedily dismissed by the trendsmiths. Uneasy as "Solo in Soho" sometimes is, the album deserves neither fate. Will its new directions be further refined? I hope so- whatever the context. Philip Lynott definitely should not be put back in his box.