Diamond REO are the Pittsburgh band that have been talked about quite often over the years at this site.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Diamond REO
ALBUM: Diamond REO
LABEL: Big Tree Records
SERIAL: BT 89507
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Frank Czuri – lead vocals, keyboards * Norman Nardini – bass, backing vocals * Bob McKeag – guitars, bagpipes, backing vocals * Rob Johns – drums, backing vocals
Additional Musicians: Al Mossburg – acoustic guitar (#8) * Ed Jonnet – alto sax, sopranino sax, tenor sax (#9, 10) * Van Crozier – alto sax, baritone sax (9, 10) * Chris Patarini – tenor sax (#9, 10)
TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock And Roll Till I Die * 02 I Want You * 03 Work Hard Labor * 04 Thing For You * 05 Nowhere To Run * 06 Ain’t That Peculiar * 07 Lover In The Sky * 08 It’s Gonna Be Alright * 09 Sittin’ On Top Of The Blues * 10 I’m Movin’ On
Diamond REO are the Pittsburgh band that have been talked about quite often over the years at this site. Unfortunately I am not able to fold the various snippets of dialog and comments from our past iterations of the GDM website into the new one, but the old database is still intact and has numerous nuggets of gold contained within, suffice to say I might find a way to resurrect them.
Anyway, on to the band at hand: Diamond REO, a Pittsburgh band that came out of the rust belt at the same time as Donnie Iris and The Jaggerz. Though formed as far back as 1964, they released an album in 1975 on Wooden Nickel called ‘Come Again’. The connection to Diamond REO was keyboardist Frank Czuri, who moved on from the The Jaggerz to hook on with the Diamond Boys, hence this record also released in 1975.
Diamond REO the album is a good mixture of the prevailing musical styles of the era including proto hard rock, funk, and a touch of R and B. I’ve given this record a repeated listen over the last week or so and enjoyed the 70’s throwback immensely. Signed to Big Tree Records, this label only had a couple of US artists/bands signed to their roster including LeBlanc And Carr, Detroit’s Brownsville Station and England Dan and John Ford Coley. Most of the Big Tree roster was made up of Canadian acts.
Gotta love the bluesy vocal on ‘Rock And Roll Till I Die’, the overall song soaked in fuzz guitar and a backbone of organ, piano and stacked backing vocals. The handclap thing adds to the occasion. Even at this early stage you can hear how the 60’s influence shines through, but that fuzzy distorted guitar updates it by a decade or so, as evidenced on ‘I Want You’. ‘Work Hard Labor’ is the first point of difference as it’s a quasi funk/disco affair. I quite liked it though even if it runs against the grain.
‘Thing For You’ features a load of bluesy guitar licks steeped in southern rock. Perhaps close to something that Ramjam would achieve in later years. ‘Nowhere To Run’ is the first cover song on board, the original written for Motown act Martha Reeves and the Vandellas back in 1965. Sounding nothing like the original, but good to hear a hard rock/R and B interpretation of it. ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’ is a rehash of another 1965 hit, this time from Marvin Gaye and also given a hard rock spruce up job inclusive of a vocoder solo by the Diamond Boys.
‘Lover In The Sky’ is a bouncy straight ahead rocker, perhaps not as high up the pecking order compared to what we’ve heard earlier. ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’ changes direction to a pleasant breezy pop oriented sound. Quite different but certainly not unwelcome. Diamond REO lift it a notch for the last two tracks ‘Sittin’ On Top Of The Blues’ and ‘I’m Movin’ On’, both containing a wealth of saxophone work giving them a barroom boogie woogie vibe.
After this release, Diamond REO swapped over to the Kama Sutra label for the acclaimed 1976 set ‘Dirty Diamonds’ (reviewed elsewhere on GDM, click the Diamond REO tag below) and remained active until about 1980 according to Discogs. There’s a few more associated chapters to be read about this band which we may still get to in time.
It’s Gonna Be Alright
Work Hard Labor
Ain’t That Peculiar