Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kiss: Black Diamond

For our bubbling under hit for this Saturday, I take you back to 1974 with the debut, self-titled LP by Kiss and the final cut on the album. Kiss was the first artist to be signed to former Buddah Records company exec Neil Bogart’s new label: Casablanca Records. Although the first to sign with the label, Bill Amesbury had the first release. The “Kiss” album debuted in February 1974 and by June it was certified gold.

“Black Diamond,” which received some airplay, showcased Paul Stanley on 12-string acoustic guitar and lead vocals during the song’s intro. After he yells “Hit it,” drummer Peter Criss takes over the lead. The song slows tempo in the middle and showcases the lead guitar work of Ace Frehley.

At the mastering of the song, the reel to reel deck’s brakes and capstan were disengaged and the power cut to the take up reel giving a very long slow down of the track. A similar effect was used on Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “Knife Edge” from their debut album. Like “Black Diamond,” “Knife Edge” ended a side giving an unusual ending before the needle lifted off of the platter.

Live Version

In 2003, Kiss appeared live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with a orchestrated version of the song. Three of the original band members appeared on this CD. Ace Frehley, having left the band, was replaced Tommy Thayer who dressed in Frehley’s make-up style. As you can see from the following video, the orchestra, conductor David Campbell, and the Australian Children’s Choir all wore Kiss make-up. It’s a nice rendition of the tune.

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