The background to the formation and lifespan of Diamond Lil.
Diamond Lil was formed during 1975 and continued until 1978 with the line up of Lorna Oakley (vocals), Harry Spooner (lead guitar), Alan Letch (bass guitar) and Marcus Foakes (drums).
The group started in Braintree Essex as a ‘covers band’ playing standards taken from groups such as Wishbone Ash, the Pirates, Thin Lizzy and other 70’s bands as well as playing some rock classics. During their first year, Diamond Lil evolved from a pure covers band to become a totally original group playing a repertoire of some forty self penned songs. The band became popular on the local scene playing in pubs and clubs in Essex Suffolk, Norfok, Cambridgeshire, East and Central London. The group played at such places as Whites in Norwich, The Griffin Bury St. Edmunds, The A[ma in Cambridge, The Royal William in Ipswich, The Rock Garden in Covent Garden London as well as many more pub and club rock venues.
The group supported such ‘New Wave’ and ‘Punk’ acts as Ian Drury and The Blockheads and the Vibrators who were touring the colleges and clubs at the time. The band was soon performing a totally original set and became known and accepted as an ‘original’ band not reliant on covers to sustain a working itinerary. As well as playing local gigs in Braintree Essex, Diamond Lil covered the East Anglian Pub circuit around Ipswich and Colchester, particularly at ‘Whites’ in Norwich where Diamond Lil began to get well known for its
original material. During this period Diamond Lil recorded an album of eleven songs, all originals and from the typical live set list at the time.
The compilation album provided a snapshot of the group as it was during the late 70’s with four tracks recorded in 1976, four from 1977 and three from 1978. The group recorded eight of the tracks at Spaceward in Cambridge which at the time was involved in recording many of the new wave, punk and heavy metal bands that were around in the late 1970’s. The remaining three tracks were recorded at Speedway Studios in Romford Essex.
The Album was never formally released but was produced in Acetate format with plain sleeve. Also there were a very limited number of Acetate singles produced. The Band produced a small run of album cassettes at the time. Amongst the backs, ‘I Dont Care’ and Tonight’s the Night’ were popular with both the band and followers. ‘Yobbos and Tarts’ became an ‘anthem’ for followers of the group. During 2004, Zerlinda Records released and distributed a limited edition single taken from the original album.