Wednesday, 6 April 2011

BRIAN ROBERTSON - Diamonds And Dirt (CD)

Some things you don’t believe until you see them. Former Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson, or “Robbo”, have had a rumour about himself working on a solo album for the last ten years, but nothing has really come out of it. So, it seems hell has finally frozen over and pigs started to fly (or if it was vice versa…). It’s finally here! I guess all kudos should go to Sören Lindberg, the manager that finally made it happen. In all honesty, Robbo did put out some type of solo release in 1995 under the moniker The Clan. There was however a bit more to be desired concerning this one however. So, to my great joy I find he has revived, re-recorded and revitalised some of the songs off this rare release. The revitalisation is foremost courtesy of a way better mix and of course the new people surrounding Brian, singer Leif Sundin (Great King Rat, John Norum, MSG etc), bass player Nalle Påhlsson (Treat, Therion etc), drummer Ian Haugland (Europe) and guest singer Liny Wood (aka Linnea Helge), his new clan. The same treatment has also been given to Thin Lizzy’s old Running Back from Jailbreak, which actually has been recorded in two different versions on the album. His new rendition of It’s Only Money ain’t half bad either (one of my favourite Lizzy tunes). Robbo was actually supposed to guest on John Norum’s cover of that song, which, coincidently is also sung by Sundin, where I’m afraid Norum’s version wins by the tip of a nose. Where this album however really shines is in Robbo’s own songs, such as the album title opener, the driving Texas Wind and the cool Devil In My Soul, with it’s really nice guitar arrangements. It features both acoustic and electrice slide guitar, smooth country style licks mixed with really heavy riffing. Robbo used to collaborate with Irish rocker Frankie Miller and he has here paid homage to him by interpreting three of his songs, one of them being the groovy Do It Until We Drop (Drop It!!). Another one is closing track Ain’t Got No Money, sung by one of my all-time favourite singers Rob Lamothe. Among the new recordings of the tracks from The Clan period you’ll find the Robertson/Lynott composition Blues Boy and the almost folkish bluesy That’s All…. One track that definitely sticks out is the cover of Jim White’s 10 Miles To Go On A 9 Mile Road, where Robbo himself handles the vocal bits, which brought Lou Reed in his most narrative mode to mind. A very different, but pretty cool track. Robbo has previously done some guest spots on albums by bands like Lotus, Five Fifteen etc, but in all honesty I haven’t heard Robbo play this good since the Lizzy days. Balnced, cool bluesy, contained, great tone and great feel. It feels like, yes, I can say it without exaggerating – Robbo is back! He’s definitely found his right musical context and the perfect band to work with. A high quality, easy listening cool record that is hard to pop out of the CD player. Mostly diamonds, but also some well placed dirt. Janne Stark
Label: SPV

Year: 2011

Country: UK/Sweden

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