Rodney Crowell’s Iconic “Diamonds & Dirt” Pulled from Streaming

You can almost lose sight of the fact that before Rodney Crowell was considered one of the most iconic contemporary Americana songwriters, he had a whole career as a commercially successful radio country star in the late 1980s. In fact, Crowell minted five consecutive #1 singles between 1988 and 1989 before Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black appeared on the scene. Even more astounding, all five of those #1s were on the same album, which at the time was a record in country music.

Diamonds & Dirt was that good, and it’s still that good today. And even though Crowell would go on to be known for incorporating rock and folk into country in the burgeoning “alt-country” scene, Diamonds & Dirt is stone cold country, as are all those #1 singles. You’d be hard pressed to find a better example of late 80s country gold than Crowell’s “I Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried,” or “It’s Such A Small World” with then wife Rosanne Cash. Crowell even covered Harland Howard’s legendary “Above and Beyond,” and took it to #1.

Produced by Tony Brown, with Paul Franklin on steel guitar, Mark O’Connor on fiddle, Hall of Famer Eddie Bayers on drums, and Vince Gill singing backup vocals, Diamonds & Dirt is a landmark of Rodney Crowell’s career, and of country music. That is the reason it’s a shame that it has completely disappeared from streaming services.

More and more fans are getting used to pulling up some of their favorite albums, only to see the grayed out tracks where their favorite songs used to be. Sometimes these issues get resolved rather quickly. Sometimes even after years, they still don’t come back, like the case of Loretta Lynn’s Grammy-winning Van Lear Rose from 2004. It disappeared in early 2021, and has yet to return. Dwight Yoakam’s debut album Guitars, Cadillacs Etc., Etc. was also pulled due to a legal dispute between Dwight and his label, but eventually it was repopulated on streaming services.

These disappearing albums are usually due to some publishing dispute either between a performer and a label or a publishing company, and sometimes the parties are gag ordered from talking about it publicly. Saving Country Music has reached out to the Rodney Crowell camp for comment or more information, but has not heard back.

Those who never let go of their physical copies of Diamonds & Dirt are patting their own backs at the moment. But whether it’s Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose or Rodney Crowell’s 1988 blockbuster, these are important records in country history that you hope the new generation of country fans can eventually go back and discover. Making sure they’re easily available is a big part of that.

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