The best compilation of Neil Diamond material, period.
ZMOQ | San Francisco, CA | 01/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I guess my only complaint with "Glory Road" is the sound quality, or lack of it. This set carries a relatively high list price and the booklet says that it was "digitally remastered" in 1992. Was it really? It sounds like the tracks from "Glory Road" were taken from the hissy MCA masters used during the original MCA catalog CD releases in the mid 80's. "Glory Road" does not improve on the sound at all. It is a little ironic that Neil Diamond's "His 12 Greatest Hits" on CD from 1985 sounds much better than this.If you can tolerate the hiss levels, "Glory Road" is, unequivocally, the best compilation title in Neil's CD catalogue. His other compilation titles are repackages of the same "hits" over and over again, or poorly-thought-out "theme" collections that were completely baffling in their song selection and/or sequencing. "Glory Road" presents a logical, chronological overview of Neil Diamond's mid-period recording career while he was signed to Uni (and later, MCA) Records from 1968-1972. It has an extremely informative booklet, with many little-known facts about his career, although it would have been nice if musician credits were available for the book to give recognition to the many excellent musicians who played on Neil's records.I think that everyone who was conscious during the 70's has probably heard the "hits" ("Sweet Caroline", "Song Sung Blue" et. al.). "Glory Road" is useful because it includes key album tracks (like "And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind", "Both Sides Now", "Free Life", "Crunchy Granola Suite", "Morningside") as well as some "misses"- singles that weren't huge hits and therefore are "new" to an whole generation of people ("Two Bit Manchild", "The Last Thing On My Mind", "Walk on Water"). Basically, if Neil released it as a single, it's here, whether or not it was a "hit". If you're even half-way interested in Neil Diamond's music, you will eventually want to explore beyond the tried n' true hits. "Glory Road" is the best introduction to the "other" material. You may even get hooked. I did. When I heard "Walk on Water" for the first time, it took 5 weeks to get that song out of my head!."
The best introduction to Neil Diamond
ZMOQ | 11/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As there's only one other (somewhat negative) review of this double CD collection on this page, I thought I'd help restore the balance. Diamond's Uni/MCA years saw him at the peak of his powers and although this compilation isn't perfect (it's too short thereby needlessly depriving us of the likes of Coldwater Morning and Canta Libre, plus there's too many live cuts) it's the best one on the market - and that includes the 3 disc box and the double Greatest Hits collection. Unexpected highlights include Juliet, If I Never Knew Your Name and Stones."
Excellent in its own right and a great companion piece to Gr
Graveyard Boots | 09/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame that this title is no longer in print. At the time of its release in 1992, Glory Road was the most comprehensive overview of Neil Diamond's spectacular five-year run with Uni/MCA. This album's release also coincided with the release of Columbia's own career retrospective, Greatest Hits 1966-1992. As such, it makes it difficult to review this set without referencing Columbia's competing product. While Columbia's set probably provides a better introduction to Diamond's entire body of work, licensing issues contributed to the malaise surrounding Greatest Hits 1966-1992, which was notoriously plagued by the substitution of all of the great Uni/MCA tracks with unbearable late-era live versions of those songs. Come to think of it, Columbia's faux pas probably helped boost the sales of MCA's offering, given that the MCA title boasted the original studio recordings of classics like Sweet Caroline, Cracklin' Rosie, I Am...I Said, Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show and Play Me.
Unlike all of MCA's previous Neil Diamond compilation albums, this one presents the material in chronological order. Each of Diamond's six studio albums for Uni/MCA is represented here with at least three or four tracks. Casual fans of His 12 Greatest Hits will revel in the treasure trove of excellent album cuts and other non-hits like Two-Bit Manchild, And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind, Glory Road, Juliet and the raucous live version of the otherwise unrecorded Lordy.
While MCA may have found it necessary to include a handful of covers, given the fact that cover songs were regularly sprinkled throughout several of Diamond's Uni/MCA era albums (particularly Touching You, Touching Me, Tap Root Manuscript and especially Stones), I personally would have jettisoned the covers in favor of Diamond originals like A Modern Day Version of Love (from Velvet Gloves and Spit), Cold Water Morning (from Tap Root Manuscript) and Captain Sunshine (from Moods). Nevertheless, what is presented here is undeniably excellent.
And given that Columbia saw it fit to present inferior live versions of the classic Uni/MCA material on their own '92 collection, Greatest Hits 1966-1992, it's only fair that MCA sneak a few Bang era nuggets into their set by using the great live versions of those songs originally found on presently out-of-print Gold (Live at the Troubadour) and Hot August Night (Live at the Greek). Hearing a raw, energetic rendition of Thank the Lord for the Night Time a mere three years after the original recording is far more palatable than listening to the awful abomination labeled Red, Red Wine on the Greatest Hits 1966-1992 set.
This set is an outstanding introduction to Neil Diamond's most prolific recording period (1968-1972). In addition, it marvelously heals the wounds incurred by suffering through the horrific live versions of the Uni/MCA era songs found on Columbia's Greatest Hits 1966-1992. Still, if you're looking for the single best introduction to Neil Diamond's overall career, you can't go wrong with Columbia's outstanding 1996 box set, In My Lifetime. In My Lifetime is still the only domestically released compilation to include the original studio recordings of all of Diamond's classics. "
The Definitive Neil Diamond Album
Thomas W. Siebert II | NYC | 08/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Glory Road" is the best argument that Neil Diamond is a genuine musical talent and not a hack. Though he's always been spotty as an album artist, Diamond has a clear knack for knocking out singles and an ear for memorable and sometimes beautiful melodies. These five years were a remarkably fertile and prolific time for him; for every familiar hit that hooks you immediately, you'll find a previously unheard gem. As an earlier writer mentioned, "Walk on Water/Theme" is a gorgeous song, probably the best here, maybe the best he's ever done. It, and a few other choice surprises, reveal an honest romanticism mixed with passion that few singer/songwriters have ever achieved. The bigger Diamond got, the more self-conscious he became (and he was pretty self-conscious to begin with), but "Glory Road" earns its name."
Almost perfect Neil Diamond anthology of the Universal years
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 01/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Neil Diamond has had a storied career--he began as a singer/songwriter who wrote hits for others ("I'm A Believer", "A Little Bit of Me, A Little Bit of You" for The Monkees among other gems)and was signed to Bang Records where he had a number of hits. "Glory Road" represents some of Diamond's best material while he was signed to Uni Records a division of MCA.
The song selection is excellent. It could have been improved IF Universal had licensed the Bang recordings (which is currently owned by Columbia Records). I can only think of a couple of songs I might have included from these albums.
The sound quality varies from excellent to very good depending on the source tape. Some of these were clearly drawn from safety masters (I suspect that the original masters for some couldn't be found)hence the slightly higher hiss on some tracks and a bit of analog distortion on "Theme". The dynamic range is terrific and the mastering sounds quite good with nice warmth overall. While the 3 disc "Uni Collection" features all six albums almost in their complete form (some tracks have the beginning clipped off them on that collection and the mastering is compressed, a bit harsh at times and louder. Whether you like that collection will totally depend on how you want the albums to sound.)
The booklet is quite informative giving us Neil's background from his beginnings with Bang Records to the end of his career at MCA (he moved to Columbia Records after "Hot August Night"). The only complaint I have here is it would have been nice to have complete credits for the players on the sessions.
Aside from some minor imperfections, a couple of essential tracks that are missing this is truly the best collection (outside of the three disc more comprehensive "In My Life Time" which is a close second to this one Neil's most creative period. It's a pity this is out-of-print since there are a couple of tracks here that are missing on the "In My Life Time" three disc set."