The secret weapon of British guitar army shoots with both his barrels.
Mostly known as a sidekick to the stars, it's on his own that Robin George gets a real kick out of the music he plays; it's not vanity, though, it's the fact that the guitarist's own voice - not pretentious but pleasant vocals - doesn't distract from his instrument. Here's the whole package, then, on these two discs, with 10 years between them, the studio and concert one.
The earlier, "Dangerous Music Live", has a period charm but transcends it thanks to the angular riffing and fiery solos, so the commerical gems "Heartline" and "Showdown" come counterbalanced with spiky groovers such as "Spy", which Robin would re-cut two decades later with his new band, DAMAGE CONTROL, that picked up where DANGEROUS MUSIC left off with this set. It rocks hard, bonus tracks underlining the power of "No News Is Good News", where the rhythm section, RENAISSANCE's Jon Camp and MAGNUM's Ken Gorin, propel the main man's axe to rage wildly together in "History", with the title track and "Go Down Fighting" packing the best punch.
"Crying Diamonds" is much more mature work, infused with a sense of tragedy from losing two friends: URIAH HEEP's David Byron, the guitarist's partner in shaping up the muscular bluesy funk of "Learn The Dance", and Phil Lynott who George co-wrote the titular Beatlesque song with and whose "King's Call" he re-imagined acoustically to make it a valediction to the THIN LIZZY man. But the memorable chorus of "Face To Face" bubbles with vitality, while "Cocoon", the soulful would-be axis of Robin's next band's album, sees the master foray into the Brian May harmonic solo territory. Unlike many other guitarists who made their names in the '80s, Robin George, also known as a skilful producer, never overplays, and his work is tasty on each of the 14 tracks, plus four additional cuts including a couple recorded in his own time by Robert Plant; yet there's no classic rock slant to the record, what with the alternative edge of "Whatever Goes Around Comes Around" that presages the due recognition its author is getting now. A little classic.
****4/5 / ****1/3