So much more than the run of the mill "celebrity"
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 02/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Neil Diamond Collection is certainly not an exhaustive compilation of everything Neil ever recorded; but it is quite a strong single CD retrospective of some of his better work to date. Neil possesses great talent and just one listen to any of these songs proves it. The quality of the sound is excellent and I like that artwork, too.
"Sweet Caroline" lets Neil Diamond show off his great skill at changing keys and tempos quite fast and I'm very impressed. The melody is almost victorious; it`s that upbeat and relentlessly happy. Neil sings this with heart and soul and that's grand. "Sweet Caroline" is not just the first song on this CD; it's also a strong highlight of this album, too. "Cracklin' Rosie" was another big hit for Neil and when you hear it you will find out why! The backup chorus works very well; and the guitar arrangement sounds just right for Neil's vocals. "Song Sung Blue" is a very pretty, sensitive melody; and I really like "Brooklyn Roads." "Brooklyn Roads" puts Neil squarely in the spotlight which is quite all right by me!
"Crunchy Granola Suite" is another Neil Diamond hit that rocks hard without blowing out your ears; and the percussion makes the arrangement even better than ever! "Holly Holy" is a somewhat religious tune by Neil Diamond; he delivers this without a flaw and I could never tire of hearing Neil Diamond perform "Holly Holy." The backup chorus works well without ever taking the focus away from Neil on "Holly Holy." Moreover, "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" is very strong; "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" rocks and this is perhaps my very favorite Neil Diamond song! Neil performs this very well and it's another major highlight of this album.
"Walk On Water" has a very fine arrangement for this tender song; Neil sings this with great sensitivity and that's awesome. "Cherry, Cherry" also rocks hard, perhaps harder than the other rock ballads on this CD but it never gets to be too much--Neil pulls this off brilliantly and it's quite a strong number. "I Am...I Said" is another thoughtful, pensive tune that Neil Diamond aces seemingly effortlessly; and again I'm stunned with his ability to deliver a great ballad like "I Am...I Said." "Done Too Soon" in particular boasts a lush musical arrangement which works well for Neil's performance.
The CD then closes with Neil Diamond performing two great tunes entitled "Morningside" and "He Ain't Heavy ... He's My Brother." In particular, "He Ain't Heavy ... He's My Brother" gets the royal treatment from Neil who does this flawlessly. What a gem!
Neil Diamond has enjoyed decades of fame simply because he is so much better than the run of the mill "celebrity." Neil's talent is true and very strong even as the years go by. I recommend this CD for his fans but this is probably best suited for the casual fan who just wants some of Neil's very best. This is also a fine CD for people just discovering the wondrous talents of the legendary Neil Diamond.