Thin Lizzy - ‘Jailbreak’ + 6-Pack Miller High Life Tallboys
Ingredients: Miller High Life 16oz
Mixing Instructions: don’t, unless it’s by accident, while fishing out a cheese curd.
Notes: When the Vinyl + Cocktails dudes asked me to write one of their signature pairings in a quid pro quo exchange for a post they wrote for my blog, I could think of only one album to write about. It’s the album I play when I am anywhere from 1/7 to 15/7 drunk. It’s the album with three of the Top 5 songs to hear when you are drinking (this list is indisputable). It’s arguably the most American album ever recorded—it even came out during the bicentennial— even though it was recorded by a bunch of Irishmen. That album is Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak.
Recorded by the band when they were on top of their powers in the mid-‘70s, Jailbreak is a 9-track tour de force that has probably the best ode to male bonding ever recorded: “The Boys are Back in Town.” It’s easy to write that song off, since it’s become such a commercial placement staple, but its lyrics are a showcase for lead singer Phil Lynott, who peppers the song with small details about specific friends and bars, and women they met along the way, like everyone would understand the inside references. You don’t, but Lynott is busy making the personal universal, which is something very few songwriters are able to do effectively.
I feel like this is one of two or three albums that I could ever write one of those 33 1/3 books about. I could give you an essay right here on the interplay of the guitars on “Cowboy Song.” I could write a chapter on how Robert Christgau’s bitchy two-sentence review of this is maybe one of his biggest whiffs on a record. I could write 2,000 words on “the breakout” section of “Jailbreak.” If I had to give an album to an alien to understand what it was like to be in America, to hang with your friends, to feel wistful for the American west, I’d give them Jailbreak.
But now comes the hard part, right. Pairing it with a cocktail. This is Vinyl + Cocktails after all. I am from Wisconsin, a place that has a fair share of cocktail bars, but I’d be lying if I’ve been to 1 percent of them. I come from a place where we are practically weaned on Miller products, so I’d be doing my home state an injustice if I chose an Old Fashioned or a Hangman’s Blood. So, sorry Cameron and Levi, but I’ve gotta recommend that you pair this album with a cold six pack of High Life tall boys. Thin Lizzy make albums for hot days next to a grill and an American flag, and the best beer to drink when you are thinking about going out and getting wrecked with your friends is a High Life.
purchase vinyl: Amazon