ROUGH DIAMOND - Rough Diamond (1977)
After being dismissed from Uriah Heep in June 1976, vocalist David Byron quickly rebounded by co-founding Rough Diamond with drummer Geoff Britton (Wings). Guitarist Clem Clempson and keyboardist Damon Butcher were brought aboard after they toured with The Steve Marriott All-Stars, while bassist Willie Bath earned the final roster spot after a number of auditions. Recorded from December 1976 though January 1977, the album was released in Spring 1977 with a push from Island Records that included radio ads in major markets and club dates which coincided with supporting Peter Frampton on his United States tour. The nine songs are highlighted by Byron's tale surrounding his break with Uriah Heep ("Rock 'N' Roll) and a cool trifecta that snugly flows into nearly 14 minutes that cover a gamut of emotions; love lost and regained ("Hobo"), with an expressive musical interlude penned by Butcher ("The Link") that leads to the powerful finale, "End Of The Line": Talk is cheap, and words can be unkind / But a twisted tongue's your only friend at the end of the line. Byron seemingly opens a book on his life ("Lookin' For You", "Lock & Key", "Seasong", "By The Horn", "Scared") on the remaining cuts, which tears away at the rock star lifestyle made (in)famous from wild, racing demons on the road. The album peaked at No. 103 on the Billboard 200 in 1977.
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