America was no fit place for young, hard rock bands trying to make a name for themselves during the second half of the '70s -- what with the general populace being hopelessly spellbound to the strobe lights reflecting off of disco's dazzling mirror ball. Sure, established groups like Kiss and Aerosmith were still making do (or shamelessly selling out to the enemy), but the going was tough for up-and-comers on both coasts -- e.g. New York's Starz and Riot, and California's Y&T, Quiet Riot, and the soon-to-break-out Van Halen. Often forgotten alongside this left coast bunch was Los Angeles' own Legs Diamond, who were fittingly described, years later, as "the best undiscovered band in America," but nevertheless managed to eke out a deal with Mercury Records in 1976, and delivered this eponymous debut early the next year. Right away, one can tell why Legs Diamond stood slightly apart from their loud, brash, groupie-devouring Sunset Strip colleagues, as their own songs were comparatively sleek, restrained, and marked by a penchant for '70s progressive rock, to boot (of course groupies were still quite welcome). The latter certainly explains the surprisingly sedate stroll and proggy organs draped across album opener "It's Not the Music," which duly gives right of way to the comparatively unadorned "Stage Fright" to step things up a notch with its blend of Starz toughness and Mott the Hoople-style glam-boogie. But it's the album's even more urgent third cut, "Satin Peacock" (think early Riot), that really struts the band's hardest-rocking tendencies, which are later revisited with almost as much gusto on "Deadly Dancer" and "Come with Me." Amid these tracks, though, Legs Diamond continue to indulge their progressive rock streak with oftentimes confusing musical hybrids; and yet guilty parties like "Rock and Roll Man," "Rat Race" (which sounds like Montrose colliding with Yes), and "Can't Find Love" generally still justify their various caprices...well, maybe not the flute heard on the former. If nothing else, all of this stylistic variety was rarely boring, and even though Legs Diamond's songwriting still needed some work if it was going to grab listeners by the throat instead of tickle their brains, this eponymous debut represented a pretty respectable start for the group.
Legs Diamond Review
by Eduardo Rivadavia