Dinky Diamond's finest moment
James D. Morrow | Omaha,NE USA | 08/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wandering into a record shop (that's a lie-I was a destination shopper when it came to record stores) in 1971, I found a copy of Halfnelson in a box on the floor for two bits. I liked the cover, it looked interesting, I took it home and played it for a week. I just played it last week, in fact. I learned that they changed their name to Sparks and had a new album (Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing) which I loved as much as the first. Then came Kimono in 1974 and the band was gone, with just the two brothers remaining. The new drummer's name was Dinky Diamond. I was very suspicious. The sound was no longer eclectic and strange, but a full-on sonic blast. Upon closer listening I discovered one thing was completely unchanged: lyrics and song conceptions were as unusual as ever. After all, these guys wrote a song about a guy who gets into car accidents to meet girls. They weren't about to start singing pedestrian lyrics about boogieing down, were they? No, as it turns out, that would come later, but it would be just as off the wall as everything else they've done.
"Kimono My House" is one of the best Sparks records, and the first in a trio of greats that also includes "Propaganda" and "Indiscreet." From the blast-off of "This Town..." to "Equator" this album has no weak spots. While Russell's voice is unusual (irritating to some, I guess) it is the only proper instrument for these songs. You want great lyrics, how about:
"Girls grow tops to go topless in
while we sit and count the hairs that blossom on our chins
Our voices change at rapid pace
I could start a song in tenor and end up as bass"
Music that rocks without being repetitive and hackneyed? Try "Amateur Hour" "Hasta Manana" and "This Town." Yes, they are unusual, but the last time I checked, that was an asset when it's not done for cheap laffs. If you like things a bit out of the ordinary, unusual but not indecipherable, and just plain outstanding weird lyrics matched with stellar songs, you could do a whole lot worse. By now they have over 20 albums and I have most of them. After all that time, I still come back to this one a couple times a year. It always sounds as great as the day I first heard it."