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Brian Robertson - "Diamonds And Dirt" (CD)

Brian Robertson - "Diamonds And Dirt" CD cover image

"Diamonds And Dirt" track listing:

1. Diamonds And Dirt
2. Passion
3. It's Only Money
4. Mail Box
5. Running Back
6. Texas Wind
7. Devil In My Soul
8. Do It Til We Drop
9. Blues Boy
10. That's All!
11. 10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road
12. Running Back - Slow Version
13. Ain't Got No Money (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on April 28, 2011

"'Diamonds And Dirt' is more dirt than diamonds. Robertson's solos are as great as ever, but the dated and overly polished sound make this one for only the most dedicated fans of the guitar great."

With stints in both Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, guitarist Brian Robertson has more than earned his place in heavy metal history. That's what makes "Diamonds And Dirt," the ax-slinger's solo debut, so disappointing. The new material he offers up is full of featherweight early-'80s rock riffs that make Foreigner look like Pantera by comparison. Worse still is his need to go back and polish up Thin Lizzy tracks, removing much of the grit that made them classics.

I'll give this much to Robertson, though — the guy can still solo like nobody's business. Sure, "Texas Wind" is a bland early-'80s-style rocker, but when Robertson cuts loose at about two-and-a-half minutes in, it's with a burst of speed that recalls a similar solo on Motorhead's "One Track Mind."

Of the Lizzy-related tracks on "Diamonds And Dirt," the one that's likely to be of the most interest to listeners is "Blues Boy," which was previously unreleased. It's a generic blues song that will remind some of AC/DC's "The Jack," but I have no doubt that Phil Lynott would've rocked it well. As it stands, it's the best song on the disc, with Robertson's lead guitar helping accentuate the lyrics pleading for the titular "Blues Boy" to play a tune. It's also the least glossy of the tunes, which helps quite a bit.

"It's Only Money" and "Running Back," on the other hand, are overly glossy, and the vocals don't come close to Lynott's. A slower version of "Running Back" at the tail end of the album improves things a bit, but it's still not anything that holds a candle to the original.

The band is competent enough, though, quite honestly, the vocals are so bland that a first-time listener likely won't be able to differentiate between Robertson and fellow vocalist Leif Sundin. Rob Lamothe adds some welcome vocal sandpaper to the bonus track "Ain't Got No Money," though.

"Diamonds And Dirt" is more dirt than diamonds. Robertson's solos are as great as ever, but the dated and overly polished sound make this one for only the most dedicated fans of the guitar great.

Highs: "Blues Boy," the slow version of "Running Back."

Lows: Over-glossy sound and featherweight riffs predominate.

Bottom line: Only the most dedicated fans of the ex-Thin Lizzy and Motorhead ax-slinger need apply.

Rated 2.0 out of 5 skulls
2.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)