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The Essential Neil Diamond Original recording remastered

131 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, December 4, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

30 tracks from all phases of his career, including every Top 10 hit from the Bang, Uni, Columbia and even Capitol labels (which is really unprecedented)! Includes Cherry, Cherry; Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon; Kentucky Woman; Red Red Wine; Holly Holy; Sweet Caroline; Cracklin' Rosie; Song Sung Blue; Love on the Rocks; Hello Again; America; I Am I Said; Longfellow Serenade; You Don't Bring Me Flowers , and more.

Neil Diamond is one of a rare breed. As a songwriter, his music has been covered successfully by artists as diverse as the Monkees, Deep Purple, UB40, and Smash Mouth. But Diamond used that three-chord alchemy to build an unparalleled career as a performer as well. The 38 tracks on these two discs address those interlocking legacies in the most comprehensive manner yet, gathering his material from Bang! Records (including such pop staples as "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," "Kentucky Woman," "Red, Red Wine," and "I'm a Believer"), Universal (highlighted by "Sweet Caroline," Song Sung Blue," "Holly Holy," and "I Am ... I Said"), and Columbia for the first time. And if Diamond has veered toward the middle of the road on those latter recordings (such as "September Morn," "Heartlight," and the Streisand duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"), there remains a remarkable consistency throughout his work. As if to underscore the point, a number of mid-period hits (including "Shiloh," "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," and "Soolaimon") are featured as live recordings from fall 2001. These performances show that the sweet roughness of his voice has only grown in power and drama; it's small wonder that Diamond remains one of the top live draws in the business. Even if it overlooks Diamond's unlikely late-'90s hit country album (Tennessee Moon), this set manages to be both concise and thorough, the best introduction yet to an American music legend. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Solitary Man
  2. Cherry, Cherry
  3. I Got The Feelin' (Oh No, No)
  4. Kentucky Woman
  5. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon
  6. You Got To Me
  7. Red, Red Wine
  8. Thank The Lord For The Night Time
  9. I'm A Believer
  10. Sweet Caroline
  11. Song Sung Blue
  12. Holly Holy
  13. I Am...I Said
  14. Cracklin' Rosie
  15. Play Me - Live
  16. Morningside - Live
  17. Crunchy Granola Suite - Live
  18. Brooklyn Roads - Live
  19. Soolaimon - Live

Disc: 2

  1. America
  2. Hello Again
  3. Love On The Rocks
  4. Captain Sunshine
  5. He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother - Live
  6. Yes I Will/Lady Magdalene - Live
  7. Shilo - Live
  8. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show - Live
  9. If You Know What I Mean
  10. Beautiful Noise
  11. You Don't Bring Me Flowers
  12. Desirie
  13. Forever In Blue Jeans
  14. September Morn
  15. I've Been This Way Before
  16. Yesterday's Songs
  17. Heartlight
  18. Headed For The Future
  19. You Are The Best Part Of Me

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 4, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B00005R5SO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,562 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

270 of 286 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I own just about every Neil Diamond album prior to 1995 (mostly LP's). I have been a serious fan since high school (late 60's).
If you are thinking that this would be a good "Greatest Hits" album to have, think again.
About half of these tracks are recorded from live concert performances, and many of those are of low musical quality. "Remastering" does no good when you are starting with junk to begin with.
If you like "live" recordings (and we are NOT talking about "Hot August Night" quality here), then you may like this CD.
If what you want is what your heard on the radio way back when, then half of this collection is going to seriously disappoint you.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ok, so you're probably thinking to yourself, "What's the difference between this new greatest hits package and the others that are already out?" I already have all these songs on cd, but I'm a big fan of remastered cds and bought this primarily to see if the sound quality was better. I was happy to discover that this collection is the best sounding Neil Diamond recordings that you will find, even better than the "In My Lifetime" box set. On a side note, I highly recommend the MCA remastered "12 Greatest Hits" that came out awhile back. The sound quality on that disc is amazing. It also has much better studio recordings of "Shilo" and "Soolaimon" than the other versions that are out.
Anyway, like I said, the songs have been remastered and restored beautifully. Here are the downsides of this collection. First, there are (yet again) more live cuts that are simply not very good. It seems odd to me that they can provide the studio recordings of "Cherry, Cherry" and "Sweet Caroline" but they choose to provide an older Neil singing live versions of "Play Me" and "Shilo" etc. Second, just like the "In My Lifetime" box set, "Hello Again" is not included in its entirety. The opening strings of the song (which I love) are cut out, which I find quite annoying. Lastly, there are some songs like "Be" that are not included but it's no biggie. Anyway, like I said, if you have most of these songs or just want to get a taste of Neil, buy this because the sound quality is the best so far.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Brian O'Marra on December 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Neil's catalog is split across two labels (Columbia & UNI). The last Columbia 2-CD Anthology presented his original Bang material and his post MCA material, but since it couldn't license the rest, Sweet Caroline, I Am...I Said, Holly Holy and others were presented as live versions. No notation was given on the outside of the jewel case.
This latest offering improves on that release somewhat (5 of his UNI material are studio versions), but it still presents live material from that ill fated predecessor.
Which begs another question: Why is Shilo, live? Columbia owns the Bang studio version.
The import Ultimate Collection remains the best bet. It contains most of the Bang material (save for Shilo), most of the UNI material (except for Crunchy Granola Suite), and all the essential post UNI material (Longfellow Serenade, Love on The Rocks, etc).
Columbia, here is a suggestion: There is a comprehensive UNI collection remastered by MCA, why not give us a remastered Bang collection instead of this rip-off?
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Format: Audio CD
The Essential Neil Diamond is an excellent two CD set that is attractively priced--what a value! These two CDs have many, many wonderful hits and ballads performed by the great Neil Diamond; and the sound quality couldn't be better. The artwork is nicely done as well. I do need to warn you that some of these songs are recorded from live concerts and that may or may not bother you. I think the live recordings are pretty decent but to each his own!

"Cherry, Cherry" really rocks with Neil Diamond doing a smash-up job on this tune! Neil sounds great and this is absolutely a wonderful number that's very strong as well. "I Got The Feelin' (Oh No, No)" has a bit of a country flavor to it that enhances the natural beauty of this ballad; and I like that very much. Neil's excellent diction bolsters his performance and the backup singers never fail him either! "Kentucky Woman" was a huge hit for Neil Diamond and that's great for all of us--it's a wonderful number that Neil shared with us! "Kentucky Woman" has incredible sounds that Neil handles with panache and it's truly a major highlight of this two CD set. There's also "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon;" this tender love ballad never escapes my mind and it's very pretty. The melody is very well done and Neil sings this with lots of passion to make "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" yet another highlight of this two CD set.

"I'm A Believer" rocks well as Neil does this cover song; the backup singers work wonders for this tune as well. Listen also for "Sweet Caroline;" this classic signature song for Neil proves his talents beyond a doubt--wowzer! "Song Sung Blue" stuns me with its beauty and Neil Diamond sings this with all his heart and soul.

Now there are some live tracks that you're going to love or hate.
Read more ›
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