Thin Lizzy Liners Pt. 3 | Vagabonds Of The Western World

vagabonds

Our favorite bits from Kevin ‘Sipreano’ Howes’ liners for Thin Lizzy’s third album Vagabonds Of The Western World:

  • “Perhaps it was the weed, perhaps it was the Guinness, but Thin Lizzy had somewhat unrealistic expectations after their recent commercial success.” The label was expecting “Whiskey In The Jar Pt. 2,” but the band wanted to reinforce that they were a serious band. They released “Randolph’s Tango,” expecting a huge hit.

“When we were on the road,” Eric Bell recalls, “we would stop at service stations, and Phillip would buy all of the music papers. The first page he’d turn to was the chart. ‘Where is it?’ he’d say. ‘It’s fucking nowhere.’ And this went on week after week. I think we got one mention.” – Bell

  • Philip was … heavily into being Irish, even though he was a black man. He loved Ireland and he loved the Celtic mythology and the drawings and the Book of Kells type of artwork. Philip was steeped in that. He read quite a bit about that, and it was one of his best subjects in school. He was genuinely into that mythology of Ireland, so he started using it in his own work, you know.” – Bell

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  • The album cover was designed by Phil’s friend, Dublin-based artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who was also known internationally for his iconic and often reproduced two-tone 1968 portrait of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara. He also specialized in Celtic art and science fiction illustrations. He’s still making art in Ireland, and the above is a piece of his.

  • On the Vagabonds cover you can find: Phil, Bell and Downey, a futuristic aircraft, Celtic engraved stone tablets, a floating city, and there’s even a little red mouse running across the bottom left corner.

Batman #232 - Page 10

(Image via BareBonesEZ.Blogspot)

  • “As kids, we all used to read Batman and The Green Lantern, but Philip had retained that. Touring England, we’d be driving down the motorway and would occasionally stop at a service station to get a cup of coffee or use the toilet. Philip would often come out with about six Marvel or DC Comics under his arm, [The Incredible] Hulk, whatever was out in those days. I remember him pointing to these little squares, and inside the square, about the size of a postage stamp, would be a drawing of Silver Surfer standing on top of a hill or Batman standing at the top of  a building. All of their poses would be very dramatic, and Philip used to point these out to me and say, ‘Hey Eric, look at the way he’s standing there.’ He took that on. He started trying out these dramatic poses that these heroes would have. Very strong, static, balanced sort of poses.” – Bell

  • Radio Luxembourg DJ David ‘Kid’ Jensen was a huge Lizzy supporter since day one, yet band had never met him. Finally, Phil’s mother Philomena said to the boys, ‘Well, what you’re going to do now is, I’m going to get you a big magnum of champagne, the best that you can get, and you’re going to fly over and meet this man and thank him very much.’ And so they did. Kid interviewed them live on air. Bell and Downey got smashed on the champagne and spent the whole interview giggling in the corner while Phil tried to keep it together.

  • David ‘Kid’ Jensen is the voice that opens ‘The Hero and the Madman.’