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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brian Robertson – Diamonds and Dirt album review

Brian Robertson – Diamonds and Dirt album review
Released on: SPV Steamhammer. Release date: Available now

The playing style of Brian ‘Robbo’ Robertson, has always appealed to me, since the old Thin Lizzy days in the 70’s - Wow, yes! That long ago! - and on other projects he'd worked on too.

When he left Lizzy or was pushed, soon after he formed Wild Horses with former Rainbow bassist, Jimmy Bain and initially Jimmy McCulloch (Ex-Wings, Stone the Crows) and Kenney Jones (Small Faces), but that was at the start and didn’t last long.
Soon after, Jones and McCulloch were gone and a couple of unknowns – At the time – in Neil Carter (Guitars / Keyboards / Vocals) and Clive Edwards on drums joined the band and they recorded ‘The First Album,’ produced by Trevor Rabin.
It really wasn’t bad, in my books and I caught the band when they toured the UK with Ted Nugent, on his ‘Scream Dream’ tour.
Another album ‘Stand Your Ground’ with John Lockton replacing Carter who had joined UFO and then a live album and it all seemed to dwindle away.

Robertson stunned many, when he decided to join Motorhead, which still dumbfounds me, to this day.

He did release a five track E.P., under the name ‘The Clan’ titled ‘That’s All’ a few years back, with the guys from Limehouse Lizzy (UK top Thin Lizzy tribute act.) helping him out and in fact, three of the tracks from that show up again here.

A few guest appearances here and there happened thereafter until the last time I saw him, was playing at Gary Moore’s (RIP) ‘One Night In Dublin, A Tribute to Phillip Lynott.’

So here he is, with a very impressive entourage playing alongside him. Check out Europe’s Ian Haugland (Drums), a couple of lead vocalists in Leif Sundin (Ex-MSG) and Rob Lamothe (The Riverdogs), the very talented Liny Wood on B/Vocals, piano from Chris Antblad, bass from Nalley Påhlsson (Treat) and more ...
He’s also got a couple of Lizzy numbers redone here too, but don’t be expecting a Lizzy like album, it’s not.

The album opens with the almost Wild Horses like title track, ‘Diamonds and Dirt,’ which I really like and the music and vocals all have a really nice balance and Liny Wood’s presence is felt here well and I think it’s Leif Sundin. Robbo applies some fine licks here too, I like it!

‘Passion’ next again is kind of reminiscent of Wild Horses, but also has a bluesy groove too. I really like the way the vocal harmonizing throughout is applied too, nice! Nice guitar work again from the main man to prove he’s not lost his touch.

OK, this is the second time I’ve heard ‘It’s Only Money’ redone over the past twelve months, as John Norum did a great version of it too on his last album and this is equally impressive.
Really like the addition of the harmonics in there too!

Can’t help being reminded of ‘I Can’t Explain’ with ‘Mail Box’ next, which has a catchy groove to it, as a steady rocker.

OK, Lizzy fans, calm down here, as Robbo decides to give ‘Running Back’ – From 'Jailbreak' – the Status Quo twelve bar touch!
It’s funny though, because it actually works alright. Some nice honky tonk piano from Chris Antblad too!

Part of really helps me enjoy this, is that I’m reminded of that certain familiar guitar tone from Robbo and ‘Texas Wind’ sounds great as an up tempo, hooky rocker and again he shines well with his guitar work. A little like ‘Stand Your Ground’ (Wild Horses) at times though.

‘Devil In My Soul,’ is a slow grooving bluesy number, with the guitar accented by some tasteful Hammond organ.

Next we have the three tracks back to back, that Robbo did with The Clan on his E.P., the first being chug along rocker, ‘Do It ‘til We Drop,’ then it’s the Lynott / Robertson co-write, ‘Blues Boy’ that is really exactly as it sounds, a lengthy blues rocker.
Some nice touches though without doubt.

The hard, yet steady rocking ‘That’s All’ is next and it’s without doubt a fuller sound than on the original E.P.
Kind of reminds me a little like Bad Company at times.

With an almost Lou Reed type vocal, '10 Miles To Go, On A 9 Mile Road,’ is an interesting addition. Still not sure what to make of this one, I think it’s meant to be tongue in cheek …, but I could be wrong?!

OK, ‘Running Back’ here for the second time, only this time the twelve bar groove has been slowed down. ‘Nuff said!

The Frankie Miller written, ‘I Ain’t Got No Money’ is next and close the album nicely, it’s got a great blues groove that still rocks at a steady pace.

So this album … To me, it’s a fairly easy going affair, pretty pleasant stuff, some steady rock ‘n’ roll, nothing too crazy, nothing too heavy, just a good steady album that’s a pleasure to listen to.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5



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