Thin Lizzy is another of those ’70s bands that should have been bigger. They had the stuff, the songs and the charismatic frontman Phil Lynott. Maybe it was the timing or the changing line-up. Or, as a documentary, Songs for the time I’m gone, implying it may have been Lynott himself who stood in the way of his band achieving more. Watching the film one gets the sense that there have been a number of unfortunate situations and circumstances. In the end, despite the tragedies, Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy left an indelible mark. Songs for the time I’m gone paired together with the live The Boys Are Back In Town Live at the Sydney Opera House October 1978available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, both go to great lengths to amplify that impact.
Songs for the time I’m gone wants to chronicle the life and music of Phil Lynott, but the film’s non-linear, surreal approach reveals a man of many complexities. As we learn, living as a black man in Ireland in the 50’s and 60’s presented a number of challenges for Lynott in his formative years. It was only when he turned to art, poetry and music that his unique perspective on the world took hold shape. Once he forms Thin Lizzy with drummer Brian Downey and guitarist Eric Bell, the focus is on the group’s rise to stardom.
To keep the story going, Bell, guitarist Scott Gorham, guitarist Midge Ure and keyboardist Darren Wharton – who have all been a part of Thin Lizzy sooner or later – each provide their input and perspectives. Other members of Thin Lizzy, namely Downey, guitarist Brian Robertson and guitarist Snowy White are not included. Friends and admirers such as U2 bassist Adam Clayton, vocalist Huey Lewis Metlalica, lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield (Metallica), as well as Lynott’s wife Caroline Taraskevics and daughters Sarah and Cathleen all offer their perspectives. Sadly, Lynott’s mother Philomena, an author who advocated for her son during and after his life, passed away in 2019 and did not attend.
Songs for the time I’m gone also includes archive footage, interview snippets from Lynott himself, and many songs from Thin Lizzy and Lynott’s solo efforts. Packed with the foil is The Boys Are Back In Town Live at the Sydney Opera House October 1978. Previously released on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD, this reissue includes upgrades in video and audio, as well as five additional songs that were never officially released. The featured line-up of Lynott, Gorham, guitarist Gary Moore and drummer Mark Nauseef (replacing Downey on this tour) runs through the standards of the time – “Jailbreak”, “The Boys Are Back In Town”, “Bad Reputation” and “Me and Them”. Guys.” Along with an additional CD of Sydney Opera House Show, this three disc set is a must have for any Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott fan.
~ Shawn Perry