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Bought the new Neil Diamond......


James

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James, I'm hoping to receive the new ND CD for Christmas. My husband claims he never knows what to get for me because I run out and buy anything I want on a whim. I figured I'd hold back on buying this CD, since it would make an easy stocking stuffer. I'm really looking forward to hearing it, after reading some positive reviews, and would love to hear your more "cemented" opinion.

Jennifer

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I gave up on Neil Diamond years ago, the last album I bought of his was "Songs from the Brill Building". But this new one has to be his best since "Longfellow Serenade" in 1974. I haven't stopped listening to it since I bought it last month. I strongly recommend getting the "special edition" that has 2 extra songs. One of the extra songs is with Brian Wilson!

Jeff

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Up through "Beautiful Noise" this guy was a master. "Hot August Night" is one of the best compilations of all time...IMHO.

But Neil Diamond never seems to be mentioned within serious discussions about serious music talents.

Not sure why. Anybody?

(I've braced myself!)

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James, I fully agree with you about ND through "Beautiful Noise." A brilliant era for him, in my opinion. It's heartening to read good reviews from Jeff and Bernie about the new CD! And I'd never ignore Marvin's list of incredible songwriters! Hoping "12 Songs" turns up in my stocking, but if not, I'm certainly going to buy it!

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I have some favorite ND tidbits. (1)-His first success as a writer-"Sunday And Me" by Jay and the Americans" good song a top 20 "Lost Hit". (2)-"Brooklyn Roads"."2 floors above the butcher, First door to the right.......Life filled to the brim as I think back of him-and I look back on those...Brooklyn Roads".-AHHH-Doesn't get much better than that! Few songs can still make me get teary eyed after repeated playing but the latter, and "The Way We Used To Be" ,and "Second Avenue" all still do it for me.("Shiloh" ain't bad either)-Ira.

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James - To respond to your question about why ND isn't taken seriously....over the years, the general perception of Neil has been one of a once-great singer/songwriter who's "gone Vegas", gotten too schmaltzy, and worries much more about how he looks on stage than how he gets the music across.

Also, his crowds are generally older and perceived as less hip than those of similar acts, prompting such things as DC filmmaker Jeff Krulik (primarily known for the VERY scary "Heavy Metal Parking Lot") to start filming "Neil Diamond Parking Lot", which essentially shows footage of a typical ND crowd outside the old Capital Center in Landover, MD. Jeff completed about 20 minutes of this film for a sneak preview....it's very, very creepy, but in a completely different way than "Heavy Metal PL", with a lot of middle-aged Neil lookalikes, people in wheelchairs with homemade posters, etc.

These people are just as crazy over ND as the drugged-out kids from HMPL were for Judas Priest.

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Addendum to last post....regarding Krulik's "Neil Diamond Parking Lot" film....I did NOT mean to imply that the ND lookalikes or poster-toters in wheelchairs are creepy, per se -what's creepy is their rabid fanaticism, which makes them very similar to the much younger kids from "Heavy Metal Parking Lot".....many of whom were undoubtedly not drugged (as I stated earlier), but probably drunk....or at least seemed that way. I understand Krulik's also started a "Harry Potter Parking Lot", which he says may top all of his other works as far as extremism in hero worship.

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Although I've really enjoyed the majority of Neil Diamond's songs, I just can't appreciate a good bit of his vocal work. I thought his vocals on the majority of the tunes from "The Jazz Singer" and the early 60's stuff were good, but others I find annoying. Maybe a hint of "Las Vegas" show in his voice ... I don't know. I saw him with Brian Wilson on Leno a few weeks ago and wasn't all that impressed. Seeing how everyone is raving about how good the new disc is, I should really make it a point to check it out.

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While he's always been a fine songwriter, imo Neil has never been a very good singer. At least in the 1960's and early 1970's he was listenable, but for the last 20 years or so his singing has become a drawn-out talking.

Having worked extensively with Johnny Cash, I think Rick Rubin fully understood the style of vocalist he was working with, and was able to bring out Neil's strengths. Of course in the end it comes down to the quality of the songs and by all accounts it sounds as if Neil has come up with a dynamite package.

Marv

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Really glad to see Neil Diamond coming with this album because he did too much good work to be relegated to the schmaltzy, corny caberet act crowd, which is what it had become. Even when the song was lame, I always enjoyed the sound quality of his voice although his range was limited. He started doing more and more "talky" type singing. I pretty much lost interest at Cracklin Rose and with most the material afterwards. good to see him salvaging some of his legacy and integrity.

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Yeah, well I didn't "get" his voice either after a time. Not to say that it hasn't changed, I've not listened to the new cd yet. IMO he was becoming a schmaltzy, cabaret, Las Vegas kinda show, and that is something I don't dig. He had way too many good songs to have to revert to that kind of thing. arrgh

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Speaking about lyrics:

Captain Of A Shipwreck

Words & Music by Neil Diamond

I was lost until you found me

You're the reason for my today

Was tempest tossed, now I sleep soundly

Thanks to you I gladly say

That if your goldmine comes up empty

I'll be there to work the claim

If you're a captain of a shipwreck

I'll be first mate to your shame

Trust in me to share your burden

Stand by you where I belong

When life brings the day uncertain

I will soothe you with my song

And if your goldmine comes up empty

I'll be there to work the claim

If you're a captain of a shipwreck

I'll be first mate to your shame

Fear no flood in stormy weather

Fear no fire if winds arise

Flesh and blood, I'm yours forever

And forever, it never dies

And if your goldmine comes up empty

I'll be there to work the claim

If you're a captain of a shipwreck

I'll be first mate to your shame

If you're a captain of a shipwreck

You can find me up on the top deck

You'll be captain of a shipwreck

I'll be first mate to your shame

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