The true spirit of unabashed 70’s hard rock was captured by many a great band during the decade, including Pittsburgh outfit Diamond REO.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Diamond REO
ALBUM: Dirty Diamonds
SERIAL: 940 549
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Frank Czuri – lead vocals, keyboards * Norman Nardini – bass, backing vocals * Warren King – guitars * Rob Johns – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 All Over You * 02 It Ain’t What You Say, It’s What You Do * 03 Scratch My Back * 04 Mamma Let My Love * 05 It’s A Jungle Out There * 06 Lover Boy * 07 Power * 08 Bad News * 09 Boys Will Be Boys * 10 Helter Skelter
The true spirit of unabashed 70’s hard rock was captured by many a great band during the decade, but how many people ever stopped to consider this particular slab of vinyl in the high stakes game of 70’s rarities? Well Diamond REO’s ‘Dirty Diamonds’ isn’t rare by any means, but it is overlooked as a sonically advanced piece of late 70’s hard rock mayhem.
Led by the semi legendary Nardini, Diamond REO rose out of the steel town of Pittsburgh in the early 70’s to sign a deal with Atlantic/Big Tree, resulting in 1975’s self titled debut and lucrative tours with luminaries such as Kiss, Rush and Ted Nugent.
Legend has it that Diamond REO were a tad too excessive with their off stage antics and dropped by their label and manager Al Nalli, the man behind Axe and Blackfoot. The band wasn’t done however, and returned with this remarkable crushing set of pure US hard rock that is leagues ahead of more than a few contemporaries of the time.
Nothing soft or laid back to be found here, just an endless stream of heavy riffing and rock and roll with aggressive guitar work found at every turn. The only misnomer is a cover of The Beatles ‘Helter Skelter’, which doesn’t matter in the onslaught of the nine originals which come before.
Right off the bat is the raunch of ‘All Over You’, with Frank Czuri causing a storm with his vocals amidst the first barrage of riffs that make Jimmy Page look small by comparison.
The undisputed classic here is the rapid fire ‘It Ain’t What You Say, It’s What You Do’. Those who think of Starz or Aerosmith as late 70’s US rock gods may want to catch a snippet of this, it blows them away and is on par with anything by AC/DC for mayhem circa 1976. Mind blowing to say the least, and the melody levels are equal to the wall of noise.
‘Bad News’ isn’t far off either and this is the sound Gus And The New Breed adopted on that 1983 special ‘On The Verge’, nothing fancy, no frills rock. ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is 1980’s party metal before it existed, and this is so far ahead of its time that it might be 1987! Listen to that hook, that’s what rock is supposed to represent, defiance and FUN. Nothing else can be faulted of the remaining tracks, and if you can get to grips with how heavy this really is, then the rewards are worth the effort.
Nardini has been pegged as the perennial artist who never made it and quite how Diamond REO slipped away is sad and a pathetic statement of the music industry. Nardini went solo and formed Norman Nardini And The Tigers, signing to CBS releasing a pair of albums in the early 80’s with the help of Jon Bon Jovi and David Bryan amongst others.
With titles like ‘Heat Of The Night’ I think it’s safe to say Nardini went AOR which means those albums would be worth tracking down. Nardini continues to rock away to this day, now regarded as a legend in his parts, and the wild atmosphere of ‘Dirty Diamonds’ sums this guy up. Isn’t it amazing people once considered punk to be the hip antidote to the supposedly limp late 70’s? Compared to this, punk has no balls, then, now and forever. This is the ultimate rock experience.