Second Spin: Joel Diamond Experience, Joel Diamond Experience

Artist: Joel Diamond Experience

Album: Joel Diamond Experience

From: Vintage Vinyl

Year: 1979

Label: Casablanca Record and FilmWorks

What it sounds like: Disco-licous. John Travolta twirling around looking dapper in a white suit.

Best Track: "Tall in the Saddle." It opens with a howl and fades in, Thriller-style, with a wood block doing a clip-clopping rhythm that I guess is supposed to sound like horses. Then we get some horse snorts, a rubber band synthesizer rhythm and a funky bass line. Think Chromeo, but more flamboyant and less ironic. It ends with a with a sax solo that is punctuated by whip cracks and very cheesy sound effects of galloping horses.

The lyrics: "Got my leather vest oooonnnn/got my horses stocked/Got my pistol ready/got my trigger cocked/ Bring on the cowboys and the ladies/ I can take on anything, anyone, everything in sight/I'm riding tall in the saddle." Yee-f'n-haw. This must have sounded amazing in Studio 54 when half the room was dressed like Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy and there was a Scarface-sized pile of blow in the middle of the dance floor.

Worst Track: "Music Machine (In and Out)." Starts with sharp handclaps and a noodling synthesizer. There's also a harmonica, which I think (and hope) the song is about. Why? Check the lyrics: "In and out, that's where it belongs/let it slide, slip inside/ watch it going strong/in and out, in and out/ do it nice and slow/use your lips, not your that music machine" There are some bongos and saxophones eventually, and a spastic guitar solo at the end.

Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Art direction: Stephen Lumel and Gribbitt! (Gribbitt! Also did the amazing cover art for Shalamar's Big Fun, which was featured in the inaugural Second Spin.

Also credited: Photography: Scott Hensel, Harmonica Photography: Phil Shuper

Interesting Facts: Jeff Diamond is best known for his work as a producer, where he is credited with producing or writing 36 gold and platinum recordings. He's worked with Van Morrison, Diana Ross and David Bowie, as well as the Bee Gees, Barry Manilow, and David Hasselhoff. He also scored or produced the soundtracks for several films including Dead Man Walking and Raging Bull (!).

At one point he headed the publishing companies for Mercury Records and CBS/Sony Records. He's still going strong--according to his official Web site, his publishing company owns the rights to two of the songs on Jay-Z's Black Album (doesn't say which ones, unfortunately).

It seems like in 2008 he's focused on his work with some group called The 5 Browns. Again according to his Website, the act "literally dominated Billboard Magazine's Classical Charts for the past several years with their 3 consecutive #1 CDs, at one point holding down both the #1 & #2 positions in Billboard for weeks on end."

I couldn't find much of anything about Joel Diamond Experience online, other than the record was published on a boutique label he created himself. However, I think this line from the biography section of his Web site is pretty insightful as to how this record was made and what it sounds like:

"People who know Joel well, will be quick to reminisce about his adventures of 22 years in New York City, residing in his (entire) top floor Central Park South Penthouse, complete with elevator opening right into the apartment. This was certainly enhanced and complimented (or complicated) by Joel becoming the only "Bachelor of the Month" to ever appear twice in Cosmopolitan Magazine (resulting in over 4,000 letters). His legendary New Year's Eve parties always included a very eclectic and achievement driven group of people from all walks of life."

Info from the official site, here, and here.

-- Keegan Hamilton

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