Rock Candy Records [Release date 04.12.20]
Legs Diamond has ceased trading and then later reopened for business several times since its inception in 1975, and is still gigging to this day. Enterprising UK label, Rock Candy Records remastered and reissued the band’s 3 seventies albums in 2018, all fully loaded with bonus tracks. And now the 3 eighties’ albums have had the same cosmetic, pumped up RC treatment.
On the first of these, Out On Bail (1984), nothing really ignites but almost everything smoulders satisfyingly. Rick Sanford’s wailing musical tones breathe fiery life into the glowing embers of AOR gems ‘Walkaway’ and ‘Find It Out The hard Way’, then combine gloriously with guitarist, Roger Romeo and keyboardist, Michael Prince on the lightly metallised hard rock of ‘Doomsday Flight’ and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ . . . each sparking off the other. Some tightly choreographed proggy moments develop through the back half of the album.
The remastering breathes further life into an already lively recording… like a series of colour photos compared to the original’s monochrome snapshots.
The album was acclaimed by fans and critics alike.
Land Of The Gun (1986) capitalised on that success. Lyrically, love found/love lost and the travails of the working man remained the tried and tested rock’n'roll tropes, but musically, the band had found their metier.
They brought with them the city levelling sonic boom of their seventies hard rock beginnings, adding the scope and ambition of the sleek, synthesised eighties.
‘My Own Game’ and ‘Turn To Stone’ (their only ever single release) are coated in stylish eighties’ gloss, with faint synth-rock glimpses showing through, and the sharp power chords and pummelling rhythms of ‘Waiting For The Night’ and ‘Rock Doktor’ show the band still tracking in that Deep Purple/Uriah Heep groove.
The band’s songwriting, and consequently its identity, was stronger on the band’s 1990 album, Town Bad Girl. The lyrics are much darker, and adult themes – from do not resuscitate decisions to abusive father/daughter relationships – showed a willingness to explore subjects not often examined in the world of rock and metal.
Musically, it’s a meaner, leaner album than their other eighties’ albums. ‘City Streets’ and ‘World On Fire’ are much more sophisticated pieces of melodic hard rock, both of them doing a persuasive job of matching style with substance. The disarmingly honest ‘Stage Fright’ and the aching ‘Never Enough Time’ follow through, proving you don’t need to trowel on sentimentality to make an emotional connection.
As with the label’s previous Legs Diamond reissues, there is a generous helping of bonus tracks sprinkled across the 3 recordings. 10 in all. And as with Out On Bail, the sonically sound remastering on Land Of The Gun and Town Bad Girl adds punch and clarity to the music.
Review by Brian McGowan
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