JIM DIAMOND: Soul City (Camino Records)


Growing up in Glasgow, Jim Diamond became a soul fan –lapping up the music of Motown, Stax, Atlantic and Chess. In the 80s he enjoyed a run of pop hits but each one had a soul undercurrent and it’s soul that he continues to perform – and this new 12 tracker is the man’s take on a dozen bona fide soul standards. Special enough, I guess – but even more special when we learn that all the proceeds from the sale of the LP will go to one of Scotland’s leading children’s charities – Cash For Kids.

The charity was founded by leading businessman Sir Tom Hunter and when he asked Jim to get involved, the singer was delighted and offered this album as his contribution. Good enough reason to investigate and hopefully buy… but forget the sentiment: is it actually any good, I hear you ask. Well the answer is yes… it is good, bloody good. You get 12 great songs performed by a unique vocalist who’s supported by a great cast of musicians, including a big brass section which manages to give a new twist to some very familiar material.

Case in point is the version of the Temptations’ ‘Since I Lost My Baby’. I’d never say it’s better than the original, but it does have real gusto and attack and like the rest of the album it offers a “real”, live, authentic sound. Other goodies include takes on ‘One Two Three’, ‘Don’t Play That Song’ and ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’ but in truth old soulies will find lots to like hear. Jim’s not tried to break new ground or do anything radical. He’s just enjoying himself – and you can hear it in every song. Some might remember Tower Of Power’s ‘Great American Soulbook’ album from a few years ago; if you do, then that’s the flavour of this set…. though with more of a Glaswegian twist than an Oakland flavour- and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially since it’s helping a great cause.

(BB) 4/5