Jim Diamond: City Of Soul (Camino Records)
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UK release date 03.10.2011
ThereĂ˘€™s something comforting about Jim DiamondĂ˘€™s vocal. It has the grit of a Scottish city about it, with the class of a veteran who has been there, done that and bought the tee shirt. I once sat next to the man at a poncey London hotel in the 80s, at a Childwatch charity lunch. A surreal moment with Rolf Harris, Esther Rantzen, Jim and the mother of one of Brady and HindleyĂ˘€™s victims close by. Jim was a very nice bloke and clearly has a big heart, and a love of children. His latest recording venture is an album to raise funds for Sir Tom HunterĂ˘€™s Cash For Kids charity.
Jim is backed by the cream of ScotlandĂ˘€™s musicians on this 12 track soul fest. Songs he used to bash out in the pubs and clubs of Glasgow as a youngster. The album is not only a tribute to the soul songs of his youth, but also the city he loves so much. Rehearsed and recorded in 14 days, all tracks are live takes. Just like it used to be. Horns and backing vocals the only overdubs. No auto-tune or Pro Tools skulduggery required here folks. Sheer talent, sheer soul and fun, fun, fun. If music can smile, this is broadly grinning for a dozen lovely songs.
Wet Wet WetĂ˘€™s drummer Tommy Cunningham, Hue And CryĂ˘€™s Greg Kane on keys, ProclaimerĂ˘€™s bassist Garry John Kane, Brian McFie on guitar from Marianne FaithfulĂ˘€™s bandĂ˘€Â¦.the list is endless. Scottish stars a plenty.
A fine version of Ă˘€śOne Two Three.Ă˘€ť ArethaĂ˘€™s wonderful Ă˘€śDonĂ˘€™t Play That Song For Me.Ă˘€ť Ă˘€śMockingbird.Ă˘€ť Ă˘€śIĂ˘€™m Your Puppet,Ă˘€ť the great Purify brothers song. Ă˘€śChain gang.Ă˘€ť Ă˘€śStand By Me.Ă˘€ť Spanish Harlem.Ă˘€ť And moreĂ˘€Â¦.A jukebox of soul greats we all know and love. It is not revolutionary. It is not going to get national airplay. It will sell steadily, with the charity aspect helping boost sales. There are some tracks stronger than others. But itĂ˘€™s heart is in the right place and is a pretty smooth listen. Solid production, and all the better for having the timeless jewel in the crown of ScotlandĂ˘€™s musical heritage, Mr Diamond, shining bright on all 12 tracks.
Words SIMON REDLEY