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Grand Slam: Twilight's Last Gleaming

After disbanding the legendary Thin Lizzy in the early 1980's after the Cold Sweat album, bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott formed Grand Slam, a group that held more than a few stylistic similarities to his former band. Comprised of Lynott, guitarists Doishe Nagle & Laurence Archer (a 21 year old phenom at the time), drummer Robbie Brennan, and Magnum keyboard player Mark Stanway, Grand Slam's music is melodic hard rock fueled by rampaging riffs and hot dual guitar work. Unfortunately the band never officially released any studio material, but now, thanks to Stanway, some of the studio and live material is seeing the light of day. This 2 CD collection contains the final live recordings of the band before they disbanded, mostly taped from the Marquee Club in London on December 4th, 1984. For the most part, the quality is bootleg, and average bootleg at that, with lots of crowd noises, levels jumping up and down, and Stanway's keyboards much of the time getting buried in the mix. However, it is easy to look past the sub-par sound quality, as the performances of the band are red hot.

"Sister's Of Mercy" is a killer hard rocker, with more than a slight resemblance to the Thin Lizzy classic 'Emerald", and "Yellow Pearl" also has that Lizzy sound, with dual harmony guitar leads, and a hot shot solo from Archer, who sounds like a mix of Gary Moore, John Sykes, and a young Vivian Campbell. There's a few melodic ballad's, like "Harlem" and "Nineteen", as well as covers of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat" (with Archer doing his best Sykes imitation) and "Parisienne Walkways."

It's a shame that on catchy rockers like "Breakdown" and "Can't Get Away" the sound is so poor that you can only hear Lynott's muffled voice and either all guitar, or all keyboards. In fact the quality jumps all over the place on many of the songs, as on "Dedication", a song written by Lynott & Archer that has great hooks, the sound is pretty good, as it is on the Springsteen meets Bob Marley "Gay Boys." Fans will be disappointed to here the rampaging "Military Man" sounding so muffled on Disc 1, but there's a version on Disc 2 that is much better. "Crime Rate" is the only non-repeated song on Disc 2, and it is a moody number that has some progressive tendencies, thanks the the symphonic keys of Stanway and the intricate lyrics of Lynott.

Despite the bootleg quality here, this is prime Phil Lynott leading a band that might have been just as lethal as Thin Lizzy, had drugs not taken over and aiding in ending his life way too early. Also available now is a CD titled Studio Sessions which contains all the unreleased studio recordings that the band was working on before they disbanded, so if you are interested in hearing better sounding studio versions of many of the tracks listed here you may want to start with that CD first. Just remember, both are pricey imports...

Track Listing
Disc 1
1) Yellow Pearl
2) Nineteen
3) Sister's of Mercy
4) Harlem
5) Breakdown
6) Here We Go
7) Cold Sweat
8) Gay Boys
9) Can't Get Away
10) Dedication
11) Parisienne Walkways
12) Military Man

Disc 2
1) Crime Rate
2) Military Man
3) Dedication

Added: July 27th 2004
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Majestic Rock Records
Hits: 4377
Language: english

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