It is easy to think deviously and consider this project an easy buck for former Saxon stalwarts Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson, who have compiled a variety of old, live and/or rare Saxon tracks on this CD. Regardless possible ulterior motives, is it worth it?

The album kicks off with three live tracks. Of course, Saxon live tracks are always cool and energetic, and I have so far only heard faint rumours that Biff occasionally seems not to have a good day. As a result, these tracks are, each and every one, classics. "Frozen Rainbow", especially, is a fine one. These tracks are from 79/80, I seem to be able to conclude from the (extensive) liner notes.

After these tracks, the album loses its coherence somewhat, and what you get is a mish-mash of tracks from various stages in Saxon's history. Some sound almost demo-like ("See the Light Shining", "Stand up and be Counted" and "Freeway Mad (Part 2)"), some sound jammy (like the bluesy "Walking" and the long "Stone Room Jam" that "The Eagle Has Landed" can be heard to come from). "Frozen Rainbow" (studio version) sounds very good, "Still Fit to Rock and Roll" and "Make Em Rock" are very much rock anthem kind of songs, and "Big Teaser (Original)" could have come off any glamrock outfit's album. "Ann Marie" is a ballad that starts off weak but then ends ballsyer.

"Diamonds and Nuggets" is a collection of Saxon songs that will add something to the existing catalogue only for the more fervent fans.



Written December 2000


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