Album Review by Annabel Bayross
Country music takes on a simple form. Most of the melodies are plain and basic, allowing for a variation of different styles to come through. Diamond Doug Brookings would most probably come under the genre of gospel country pop. At the age of 19 he embarked on his career with a folk ensemble called ‘The New Christy Minstrels’ strings of groups later he then left the music business to return to a small town in New Jersey. Now 30 years on Doug has returned to his roots.
The main themes within this album are quite clear – love and faith. It would seem that our Diamond Doug has known love; the woes of love and the joys of love. The very catchy HIDING BEHIND YOUR HEART sings and serenades a woman called Marie, ‘my heart is the heart of Marie’, Doug tells us. The instrumental sound of this song almost hints at a Maruichi-like style of music. TUSCON ARIZONA & THE QUEEN OF TENNESSEE is your archetypal country classic. Delivered in a story-like manner, we hear of the love he has for his ‘Memphis belle’ who was the ‘prettiest little gal’ he ever saw. YOU GOT AWAY WITH LOVE is another catchy little number. Good use is made of the mandolin and the piano in this love ditty – although Doug seems to have acquired an embryonic yodel in verse 2, that, and a cheesy ‘yeah’ unashamedly rounds off the song. EGG DANCIN’ TIME is a rather bizarre number. The lyrics describe him being falsely accused of ‘messin’ around with another woman, ‘Leave one eyed Rita alone or else you’ll find you’ll be hangin’ by the neck on a lamp post by the bar’, very strange…
The second half of the album becomes a more mellow and earthly offering. YOU’RE THE ONE is a little too corny for my liking, ‘Two hearts beating as one, gives light to the rising sun’. Doug sings with a staccato pause between each word and this becomes rather irritating. To round off the album THAT’S WHAT YOU DO, YOU DO is a funky gospel song advising us to take control away from the Devil ‘Stand in the light, in the light of day, and the Devil will be confused. That’s what you do, you do my Lord, just to chase away the blues.’ The harmonica aptly played by Terry ‘wheezy’ Smith gives a bluesy, rhythmic feel to the song with backing vocals and piano adding a touch of the honky-tonk.
If country music rocks your chair, then this ain’t a bad offering.