Label: SPV/Steamhammer 2011
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Former Thin Lizzy and Motörhead guitarist Brian Robertson with his first solo project featuring an all-Swedish backup band. Indeed, Leif Sundin (MSG, John Norum, Great King Rat) sings his heart out on this platter and there's also a very impressive rhythm section consisting of Europe's drummer Ian Haugland and TREAT's Nalle Påhlsson (bassguitar). Appearantly, the idea of "Diamonds and Dirt" started when ol'Robbo found demo tapes filled with material co-written by Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott (R.I.P.) as well as other previously unreleased compositions. The result is an album at the interface of hardrock with definite blues elements and gritty mainstream rock.
You'll also find a updated 2011 version of "It's Only Money" (from the 1974 Thin Lizzy recording 'Nightlife') and a slow version of "Running Back" (from 1976's 'Jailbreak'). It's yet another Chris Laney produced album and it's a crystal clear yet gritty enough to perfectly fit the compositions. There's three Frankie Miller numbers (Mail Box, Do It Til We Drop, Ain't Got No Money) and former Riverdogs frontman, Rob Lamothe sings the latter (all other songs are sung by Sundin).
I must confess not being too impressed at first (well, the opening title track was darn catchy from day one). However, "Diamonds and Dirt" is a real grower and you need to spin this over again for a week or so to get the full blast and picture. The blues-laden riffs reeks of an almost ridiculous amount of class and enthusiasm, making for one fine blues/hardrock record and honestly I can't recall the last time Robbo sounded this good in the studio. Special kudos to Liny Wood for the smashing backup vocals. Recommended! PS. Don't expect a lot of Robertson/Lynott compositions though and "10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road" is a shocking poor tune if ever.