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Phil Manzanera

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Phil Manzanera Diamond Head album cover
4.07 | 88 ratings | 7 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Frontera (4:04)
2. Diamond Head (4:28)
3. Big Day (3:45)
4. The Flex (3:34)
5. Same Time Next Week (4:48)
6. Miss Shapiro (6:28)
7. East of Echo (5:47)
8. Lagrima (2:36)
9. Alma (6:48)

Total Time 42:18

Bonus track on 1999 & 2008 CD releases:
10. Car Rhumba (4:48)

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Manzanera / acoustic, fuzz, synthesizer, electric 6- & 12-string guitars, tiple (3,9), organ (6,9), piano (6), bass (6), fuzz bass (9), string synthesizer (9), producer

- Doreen Chanter / lead vocals (5)
- Robert Wyatt / lead & backing vocals (1), timbales & cabassa (1)
- Brian Eno / lead (3,6) & backing (1) vocals, guitar treatments (2,7), rhythm guitar & piano (6)
- Eddie Jobson / strings (2), Fender Rhodes (2), electric clavinet (4), synthesizer (9)
- Dave Jarrett / keyboards (7)
- Ian McDonald / bagpipes (7)
- Andy MacKay / soprano & alto saxophones (4,5), oboe (8)
- John Wetton / bass, lead vocals (5), Mellotron (5)
- Bill MacCormick / fuzz bass themes (7), vocals (9)
- Brian Turrington / bass (3,6)
- Paul Thompson / drums
- Sonny Akpan / congas (4,5,10), bongos, big gong, maracas
- Charles Hayward / percussion (5,7)
- Chyke Madu / percussion, drums (10)
- Danny Heibs / percussion, bass (10)
- Mongezi Feza / trumpet (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Union Pacific Railroad Los Angeles (photo)

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9315 (1975, UK)

CD Virgin Japan ‎- VJD-28055 (1988, Japan)
CD EG ‎- EGCD 19 (1990,US)
CD Virgin ‎- EXVP 14 CD (1999, Europe) With a bonus track
CD Arcāngelo ‎- ARC-7288 (2008, Japan) Remastered by Souichirou Nakamura with a bonus track

Thanks to fishy for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy PHIL MANZANERA Diamond Head Music

PHIL MANZANERA Diamond Head ratings distribution

(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PHIL MANZANERA Diamond Head reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Fishy
4 stars Most progressive albums are heavy weights, this album is a pleasant exception to the rule. This was the first proper solo album from the well known Roxy Music guitarist. Diamond Head is an album that's easy to listen to and doesn't bore the listener after repeated spins. The reason for this lies in the variety of musical influences. Hidden in the pop/rock songs you'll find elements from Latin music, psychedelic music, fusion and prog. One of the reasons for this is probably the extensive credit list. The entire line-up of both Roxy Music and Quiet Sun are collaborating with Phil, helping him to create one of the best records he ever did. Too bad he didn't maintain the quality level on the next couple of solo albums..

Let's take a look at some of the tracks :

Surprisingly, the splendid opening track "Frontera" is sung in Spanish by Robert Wyatt. This catchy song includes Latin influences and very nice acoustic guitar chords. There's an exotic feel to it by the exotic percussion. The instrumental title track is a slower song. There's some excellent tunes on a bed of moody strings provided by Eddy Jobson. "Same time next week" is written in collaboration with John Wetton who's one of the lead singers in the duet. His female counterpart is Doreen Chanter who sings quite passionate, too bad her voice is hidden too much in the background. This melodic pop track has a highly enjoyable tune. Same thing goes for "Big day" and the excellent "Miss Shapiro" which are composed in collaboration with Brian Eno. The RM elements are undeniable present but it's clear "Miss Shapiro" was born during an inspired jam, it also has a touch of avant-garde which both Eno and Manzanera explored further on the John Cale albums they contributed to. Although these tracks are perfect seventies pop tracks, they are also showing the weak spot of "Diamond head" ; the album misses an excellent lead singer for all of the tracks even though the backing vocals are excellent. I've never liked the way Brian Eno sings, it sounds flat and some of the melodies do sound a bit childish but that may be a matter of opinion. Manzanera gets the support of his former QS colleagues in the instrumental "East of Echo" where the psychedelic influences are coming to the fore but RM is never far away as you can hear in the chorus and the keyboard parts. The classical influenced "Lagrima" reminds me a bit on the quiet songs of King Crimson. The combination of acoustic guitar and the oboe of Andy Mackay has an astonishing effect. Great reflective track ! "Alma" is a true prog track which combines the laid back feeling of Pink Floyd's Meddle and the astral sound of Camel's Moonmadness. The instrumental closing track "Carhumbia" is surf music. Most refreshing to find this kind of music on a prog album. Again, there's some Spanish influences and exotic percussion, Robert Wyatt is present through the jazzy trumpet parts.

Throughout the album there's off course the characteristic playing of Manzanera. Usually his guitar lines sounds floating. On "diamond head" the guitar gets more room to breathe which you can expect from a solo album from a guitar player. Still, "Diamond head" can barely be called a guitar hero album. The quality of the song writing and arrangements makes this album special. At the time, especially Eno was making a name for himself as a skilled session musician and producer. This album proofs that this was no coincidence at all. I suppose some of the material of "diamond head" is better known in the versions that appeared on the "801 live" album. I know prog fans will find this album a borderline case but nevertheless there's excellent musicianship and most of all brilliant song writing. If you like 801 and you have a soft spot for Roxy Music, you should check this one out.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Diamond Head was not only a solo album for Roxy Music's supremely talented guitarist but in retrospect a certainly defining groundbreaking recording. In many ways, the creative ideas that wouldn't or couldn't fit into the Roxy mould were simply retooled into a precursor of future genres that would soon pop up with vigor. On one hand, as with Eno's two first solo albums (on which Manzanera was heavily featured), the tone is a wilder, punkier , way more raw effect than the sleek velvet of "For Your Pleasure" or "Stranded". Some may even label it pre-New Wave. Secondly, Phil's childhood roots in Colombia and Cuba are clearly introduced front & center with Spanish lyrics sung by the masterful Robert Wyatt on the opener "Frontera", as well as on titles such as "Lagrima" and "Alma" .At the time, Hispanic rock had only the American Santana and little cousin Malo as spokesmen, yet this album is loaded with latino winks and nods (even on "Big Day", Eno sings about "gay Peru", pun central, if you ask me), opening the world music door even wider. This recording also highlights the incredible drumming prowess of the inimitable Paul Thompson, arguably the paragon of rock solid drumming with lots of substance and very little flash. Brian Turrington (as on Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy) keeps his bass busy, drilling deep markers on the musical road. Oddly, Eno is featured on the same album as the one who replaced him in Roxy Music, the illustrious Eddie Jobson. Both shine brightly. Throw in the trusted Andy Mackay on saxes, Ian McDonald of King Crimson fame on bagpipes and the afore mentioned Robert Wyatt and you have a sizzling lineup that can turn a tune. The title track showcases Manzanera's typical unpretentious take on instrumentals, veering into the deepest realms of originality, full of effect-laden sounds that can only delight. His guitar experimentations are his hallmark, with no finer examples than on this recording. "Big Day" is more typical Eno of the time, full of playful doo-wop backing vocals and a lead mike that truly surprises, the man can sing convincingly. "The Flex" is propelled by tons of jaunty clavinet, a long wailing saxophone solo, choppy guitar slashes, beefy drums beats, bouncing congas and this effortless feel that is truly stunning. John Wetton also supplies his usual stellar bass work, having toured with Roxy at the time and tossing in a typical bluesy vocal duet with the famous session singer Doreen Chanter on "Same Time Next Week", a Manzanera solo killing this one off nicely. "Miss Shapiro" is a superb classic driving track that sounds amazing even today, supremely drum driven, Thompson doing his Bonham thing (big fat beat) , Manzanera's rhythm guitar weaving a jangled architecture, setting up the greatest monotone Eno vocal with the funniest lyrics ever ("Pom-pom charmers"). You sort of wonder how deeply the emerging New Wave artists were influenced by this very off -the-wall material and style. "East of Echo" is another driving, heat-seeking instrumental that combines all the various ingredients that make Manzanera so charming: quirky riffs, strange tones, effects galore, tons of experimentation, brief sumptuous lead bursts, all held down by that masterful and relentless Thompson beat. "Lagrima" is an acoustic guitar exercise, full of dreamy bravura and the supreme Mackay oboe, combining to exude images of Andalusian pain, musical tears welling restrained. "Alma" is a six-minute sweeping tale with lead electric guitar leading the melodic charge, growling, howling, searching and beseeching. Frankly, this is a needed cornerstone in any prog, rock or guitar fan collection. 5 smoky windows in the square.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is really a sister album to QUIET SUN's "Mainstream" record, as they were both recorded in the same studio one right after the other. Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Bill MacCormick would play on both, although "Diamond Head" isn't a Canterbury recording like "Mainstream" is. Most of the guys from ROXY MUSIC are here to help Phil out, plus a multitude of other guests. I must say that I couldn't help but think of our own tszirmay everytime I listened to this album. If there was a record that best described his personality this is it. It's fun, energetic, humerous and has a lot of character.

"Frontera" will put you in a good mood rather quickly. It's so uplifting with the legendary Robert Wyatt on vocals, and singing in Spanish. Manzanera's guitar work 2 1/2 minutes in becomes almost angular and dissonant. He's having a blast i'm sure. Great tune. "Diamond Head" is just a pleasure to listen to. Tasteful guitar leads the way as John Wetton (fresh out of KING CRIMSON) adds some nice bass. "Big Day" opens with strummed guitar as drums, vocals and full sound come in quickly. Eno is terrific on vocals.This is another cool song with fun lyrics like "Everyone's there in gay Peru" haha. Manzanera adds some fuzz to his guitar on this one. "The Flex" opens with bass and is kind of funky. Sax from ROXY MUSIC's MacKay a minute in. Jobson adds some clavinet as well. "Same Time Next Week" features the duet of John Wetton and Doreen Chanter. They are so fun as they banter back and forth throughout. Wetton adds some mellotron in this one, as well as bass. More sax from MacKay.

"Miss Shapiro" sounds like a Zappa title.The guitar is outstanding to open. Vocals from Eno 1 1/2 minutes in. It kicks into gear after 2 minutes. Again Eno sounds great on vocals, and the bass and drum work is fantastic ! This is too much ! "East Of Echo" features the complete QUIET SUN band along with Wetton,Thompson and Ian MacDonald on bagpipes ! This is an instrumental that opens with a fairly heavy soundscape of guitars and drums for 1 1/2 minutes.Then it lightens and the tempo picks up. Nice bass lines from Wetton, while MacCormick follows that up 2 1/2 minutes in with some fuzz bass. Nice. "Lagrima" is simply Manzanera on guitar and MacKay on the aboe. Cool instrumental. "Alma" is quite the contrast to the previous song. It does settle, MacCormick is on vocals this time. Manzanera shines on guitar 2 minutes in to the end. A fitting ending.

I can't recommend this album high enough, in fact if you can also get your hands on QUIET SUN's "Mainstream" record as well, go for it !

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I arrived at Phil Manzanera's work back in the seventies by way of the musicians he had on his albums (I beleive Listen Now was the first I acquired), but I came to admire his guitar playing. While not a blazing speed demon or experimental wildman, Manzanera always provides interesting yet tasteful guitar licks. And the production on his albums has always been outstanding.

This album, his first true solo album, features a mixture of pop-ish songs, guitar ballads and South American flavored pieces. And it provides an excellent listening experience. I personally enjoy playing it in my car on hot summer days.

Stand out tracks are Same Time Next Week, an off-beat bluesy song with John Wetton and Doreen Chanter trading lyrics about a steamy tryst, East Of Echo, which, in it's full form, is much better than the abridged version on 801 Live, and of course, Miss Shapiro, with some of Eno's best lyrics and vocals ever.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Phil Manzanera's debut solo album is blessed by an excellently-chosen range of guests reflecting all the different dimensions of his solo career. Robert Wyatt is the first to make his presence felt on Frontera, but the Canterbury influence doesn't stop there because you have contributions from Quiet Sun. On the Roxy Music side of the equation, former member Brian Eno gives a vocal performance and provides some some writing contributions reminiscent of his early solo work (particularly Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy) and current Roxy members Andy MacKay and Eddie Jobson guest as well.

Add some more guests - such as John Wetton, who'd only just crawled out of the wreckage of King Crimson - and you have a fearsome amount of talent gathered on one album, and what's particularly pleasing is how incredibly consistent it all is, Manzanera showing a real knack for drawing these disparate performances together into a coherent whole. Oh, and he plays a really mean guitar too.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I searched for some reviews of Phil Manzanera's Diamond Head as only just come back to listening and scrutinizing this Album and wanted to dig under the surface... I was a mad Roxy fan from 1972 and in the post Eno debacle, I struggled to hold on to anything that may hint at those highs from Fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1704718) | Posted by | Friday, March 24, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera delivers the goods on his 1975 solo debut. Leading off with the uptempo, sublime "Frontera" (sung with disconnected glee in Spanish by Robert Wyatt), and ending with the Latin-meets-glam of "Carhumba", the listener is swept away by glorious, feel-good washes o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1648047) | Posted by DePloy | Wednesday, November 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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