Eric Bell: Exile

Thin Lizzy veteran’s first album in six years.

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These days resident in West Cork, Bell’s past disaffection with recording reaches a happy rapprochement with this album.

An all-rounder who’s learned well from past legendary associations, Bell’s at his most expansive on the jazzy lyricism of Gotta Say Bye Bye. The gentle rolling thunder of Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac and Van Morrison/Phil Lynott-style spoken-word blues unite in Song For Gary, a beautiful ode to his late, great homeboy, fellow six-string warrior Gary Moore. With as dramatic and blisteringly heartfelt a solo as Bell’s ever produced, it’s a sweet cherry on the top of a fine set.

From the angry fuzz tone powering the politico skewering Vote For Me to the skittish, speedy but playful Cliff Gallup licks firing his take on Little Richard’s Rip It Up, Bell’s eloquent directness and inspirational passion carries all before him. An excellent return.

Gavin Martin

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.