There have undoubtedly been many high points (and a few lows) in Legs Diamond’s decades old existence, but for me the absolute pinnacle was their 1977 debut.
Written by: RichardB
ARTIST: Legs Diamond
ALBUM: Legs Diamond
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Rick Sanford – lead vocals, flute, percussion * Roger Romeo – lead guitars, vocals * Michael Prince – keyboards, rhythm guitars, vocals * Michael Diamond – bass * Jeff Poole – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 It’s Not The Music * 02 Stage Fright * 03 Satin Peacock * 04 Rock And Roll Man * 05 Deadly Dancer * 06 Rat Race * 07 Can’t Find Love * 08 Come With Me
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Regarded as something as an institution amongst the melodic rock community, Legs Diamond have survived against the odds much like the infamous New York gangster from which they derived their moniker – he was shot down four times and survived.
They are often cited as the US equivalent of Deep Purple, in the beginning no doubt because they shared the same producer – Derek Lawrence. Though in addition Mike Prince did lift more than one or two keyboard licks from the Jon Lord song-book.
He was certainly given more of a free rein on the debut than on subsequent albums. Of the trio of albums they released in the 1970’s, the debut epitomised their musical approach which in their own words was ‘mean as hell with a touch of class, hard hitting but stylish.’
‘Anthemic’ is certainly an over-used expression but it is an apt description for rousing opener ‘It’s Not The Music’. Mike Prince’s strident Hammond organ is a joy to behold even if the lyrics are a tad pretentious. For example: ‘The wild wind blows across the sea. Songs of time through the centuries..’ Come off it guys, who are you trying to kid? Most fans will recall the ahem, less than subtle lyricism on ‘I Think I Got It’ – we all know what THAT song was about.
Messrs Prince and Romeo’s rock solid guitars continue precedings with live favourite and classic ‘Stage Fright’ and its killer hook. Vocalist Rick Sanford wraps his larynx around the lyrics with real gusto, somehow you can’t imagine the likes of Bono, David Lee Roth, Ted Nugent et al delivering the lyrics with the same conviction.
‘Satin Peacock’ is decidedly tacky but hugely enjoyable nonetheless, whereas side one closer ‘Rock and Roll Man’ (musically at least) is more tasteful archetypical mid-1970’s hard rock with Sanford whipping his flute out for a workout midsection (sorry this tackiness is infectious..).
The punchy ‘Deadly Dancer’, an ode to their namesake no less, preludes the grandiose intro to ‘Rat Race’ where Mike Prince’s keyboards are given an extensive workout, his grinding organ Jon Lord-like, providing solid support to Roger Romeo’s lolloping guitar riff. The whole affair reaches a glorious crescendo in a flurry of Hammond Keys and guitar power chords.
The piece de resistance is the album closer.. The slow burning ‘Can’t Find Love’. This song appeals to my pomp sensibilities, the lengthy keyboard intro being one which Angel‘s Greg Guiffria or Zon‘s Howard Helm would be proud of. Though let’s be frank, Roger Romeo’s mean guitar ensures that Legs Diamond remain firmly rooted in hard rock territory.
There have undoubtedly been many high points (and a few lows) in Legs Diamond’s 30 year existence, but for me the absolute pinnacle was their 1977 debut. Certainly it contains a brace of classic tunes, which continue to be staples of the band’s live set.
This album should be considered an essential part of any serious fan of US hard rock and is readily available on CD with the added bonus of the original (superior) version of ‘Come With Me’ which resurfaced later on the ‘Firepower’ album.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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