Picks and Pans Review: Solo in Soho
File this one under "Surprises: Pleasant." Lynott's voice was always the best thing about the Irish hard-rock band Thin Lizzy, but that of course isn't saying much. (The band peaked in the U.S. with the 1976 single The Boys Are Back in Town.) Freed of Lizzy's thunka-thunka beat and guitar flamboyance, Lynott's singing is impressive. So is his songwriting, which before now rarely showed the melodic skill and range he demonstrates here. Dear Miss Lonely Hearts is a marvelous chugging kickoff to the album. King's Call makes clear the special reverence musicians feel for Elvis Presley, and describes how one of them responded to his death. (Guitarist Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits guests on this cut.) Lynott sometimes emphasizes the smoothness in his deep voice, sometimes the huskiness. He can be plaintive (as on the title track), sexily playful (on Giving It All Up for Love) or gossipy (about the British New Wave scene in Talk in 79). To top it all off, he also plays very agile bass.