Released: 2011, SPV/Steamhammer
2011 is shaping up to be the year of the geezer, as Vicious Rumors, Motorhead and now Brian Robertson are releasing albums, each with over 30 years in the business of music (for Lemmy and Robertson, it is more like 40). For older fans, Robertson needs no introduction, having served as a member of Thin Lizzy’s guitar tandem during their classic era, which included the now legendary JAILBREAK album. Robertson also had a temporary stint with Motorhead on 1983’s somewhat overlooked ANOTHER PERFECT DAY, an album that proved to be a bit of a departure for Motorhead and Robertson was ousted as a result. One day, Robertson stumbled upon a bag of cassettes, which goes a long way towards revealing how old some of the material on them was. He gave the bag to his Swedish friend Soren Lindberg, and after Lindberg listened to the tapes he felt the songs merited an album, and thus DIAMONDS AND DIRT was born.
The album contains 13 songs and includes five original tracks written by Robertson, of which “Devil In My Soul” contains Robertson’s most fiery axe work. “Diamonds and Dirt”, another original, leads the album off and is an AOR tune that sounds like the return of 80s era John Waite, right down to Leif Sundin’s vocals. There are two reworked Thin Lizzy songs, “Its Only Money”, and “Running Back” of which the former it truer to the original, while the latter is actually featured twice with a slower version near the end of the album. Perhaps of most interest to long time fans, is the previously unreleased Phil Lynott/Brian Robertson penned track, “Blues Boy”, a respectable but fairly non-descript track.
Respectable but non-descript is an apt assessment of the entire album actually. Professionally assembled, produced with polish, and the vehicle for some tasteful solo work by Robertson, there is in sum, nothing notably gripping. Perhaps because some of the material is old, this comes across as incredibly dated, but there is no escaping the relative lack of fire and inspiration on the album. Generic and content with its average-ness, DIAMONDS AND DIRT might well be worth it for Thin Lizzy fans, just to hear Roberts guitar playing again if for nothing else. Sure there are some good moments on here, but most fans can probably skip this one.