"Diamonds and Dirt"

By Colonel Angus

 Well, well, well, look who finally decided to release some music.  For someone who possesses quite a talent for guitar playing, Brian Robertson has been silent way too long.  Sure he was in Motorhead for one album and tour (and a great album it was) and he surfaced in The Clan but really he has not done much since leaving Thin Lizzy in the late 70s.  I have always been a fan of his playing and thought that he was the perfect foil for Scott Gorham.  Together, they created a sound that has been imitated by many acts that followed.  Robbo’s problem is that he really needs someone to help him with direction and songwriting.  Diamonds and Dirt is really a mixed bag of material.  As the story goes, Robbo gave his friend a bunch of cassettes with demos on them and he told him that he should release them as an album.  Now that would be sound advice if it weren’t for the fact that there is no real cohesion within all of the songs.  There are a number of styles present.  Openers “Diamonds and Dirt” and “Passion” sound like 80s melodic rock tunes that would not sound out of place on a Joe Lynn Turner record.  Elsewhere there are country-ish elements like on “That’s All” and “Texas Wind”.  Then there are just some 70s sounding rock tunes which happen to be cover versions like “It’s Only Money” from Thin Lizzy’s Nightlife and “Ain’t Got No Money” from Frankie Miller’s The Rock record.  We even get 2 versions of Thin Lizzy’s “Running Back” which to my mind makes no sense, although I do like the slower bluesier version towards the end better. Best of the bunch is a Lynott/Robertson tune called “Blues Boy”.  This just proves my point that Robertson needs someone to help him focus his musical thoughts.

 Steamhammer/SPV is releasing Diamonds and Dirt and although it is a mixed bag of material, there is a quality to it all.  As long as you realize that this is a bunch of disjointed tunes that were picked from old cassettes, then you can enjoy the tracks for what they are.  I found myself not listening to the whole record from start to finish after the initial plays.  It seems that this works best if you want to catch a few tunes at a time.  I also have to mention that much of the vocals are courtesy of Leif Sundin.  If the name does not sound familiar, then check your Michael Schenker and John Norum CDs.  Sundin has the perfect voice for Roberson’s compositions and really helps make this a better release.  I know that it seems that I have been harsh towards Diamonds and Dirt but I was expecting something that was a little bit more “put together”.   I would recommend Diamonds and Dirt not only because it contains some great guitar playing by Brian Robertson but it also has some good tunes.  Just don’t expect the record to flow like most releases.