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Tag: Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond – Three Chord Opera (2001/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Neil Diamond – Three Chord Opera (2001/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 47:23 minutes | 2,05 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Neil Diamond

Columbia records billed Neil Diamond’s Three Chord Opera as his first album of all-original material in 27 years (since 1974’s Serenade), which was true, but deceptive. Diamond wrote most of his songs for most of his career, but often included cover songs on his albums. It would be more accurate to describe Three Chord Opera as Diamond’s first straightforward album in a decade, since he followed 1991’s Lovescape with a series of all-covers albums, hits compilations, Christmas albums, and live recordings; his last album containing mostly (co-written) originals was 1996’s country-oriented Tennessee Moon. However you date Diamond’s songwriting lay-off, though, the expectation is that the result will be a more personal statement than his recent albums, and it is, at least in part. Diamond begins with “I Haven’t Played This Song in Years,” a melancholy breakup song, and he returns to the theme of romantic loss on “Midnight Dream” and “A Mission of Love,” while even the songs of apparently contented love (“I Believe in Happy Endings,” “You Are the Best Part of Me,” “My Special Someone”) are dark around the edges. But Diamond is too conscious of pop conventions to devote a whole record to one mood, and, unable to break through a tendency toward cliché, he isn’t really capable of writing a sustained self-examination anyway. So, he varies the tone with novelty songs like “At the Movies” and “Baby Let’s Drive,” and turns to unabashed sentiment on the lullaby “Elijah’s Song” and the religious “Leave a Little Room for God.” When Diamond joined with songwriting collaborators in the early ’80s, his compositions became more homogenous, but less embarrassing, while his ’90s work fostered the impression of him as a non-writing performer. Three Chord Opera is the old Neil Diamond, a wildly uneven writer with a certain ingratiating style.

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Neil Diamond – The Christmas Album (1992/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Neil Diamond – The Christmas Album (1992/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 45:38 minutes | 1,91 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Neil Diamond

While Neil Diamond’s The Christmas Album is designed almost exclusively for his adult contemporary constituency, the vocalist still manages to light up most of the obviousness of these standards with his trademark gritty soul and flair for inflection. Opening with the grandeur of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel/We Three Kings of Orient Are” and “Silent Night,” the album is awash in rich reds and golds almost immediately. But Diamond has fun with “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” loosening up with a harmonica solo and a busy, up-tempo arrangement, and “Jingle Bell Rock” does just that with a 1950s doo wop vibe. These moves count as big risks on an album that otherwise tries on every possible Christmas album cliché: children’s choirs and histrionic adult ones, crashing cymbals, and tasteful piano that’s as warm as a fireplace in December. Thankfully, even when the choirs threaten to outdo him, Diamond keeps the focus on his famous singing voice. A stirring a capella version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a good example of this, and one of The Christmas Album’s standouts.

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Neil Diamond – Lovescape (1991/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Neil Diamond – Lovescape (1991/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:00:47 minutes | 2,76 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Neil Diamond

Lovescape frames Neil Diamond’s typically strong, if a little over-dramatic, vocal style with plinking keyboards, cooing backup singers, and hissing, breathy synthesizers. It’s all drenched in the kind of reverb that screams “lite rock radio sap.” Fortunately, Diamond’s wine-stained voice is still full of emotion and more than capable of closing the album’s gaping holes with a just-right emphasis here and a plaintive growl there. “Mountains of Love”‘s sanitized world beat groove and keening horns would shrivel in anyone else’s hands. But when Neil sings “Come on let’s go/We’ve got room on that mountain of love,” you want to believe in his feed-the-world message and follow him right to the top of the peak (how does he climb in those ankle boots?). A strummed acoustic guitar slows down the Hammond/Warren composition “Don’t Turn Around,” letting it breathe like the classic “Red Red Wine” – Diamond’s take has none of the mechanization of Ace of Base’s later hit version. He has written or co-written 11 of Lovescape’s 15 tracks, and it’s his lilting, bruised heart duet with Kim Carnes that’s the obvious standout. Elsewhere, he covers “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story, refueling the ballad with his typical message of unification and peace, and buoys the faint country feel of “When You Miss Your Love” with a deft vocal touch, never letting it drift into dangerous Elton John territory. Although heaping helpings of synthesizer do their worst to slow him down, Diamond does his best with Lovescape’s material, and salvages a handful of memorable moments for longtime listeners or the casual fan.

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Neil Diamond – Hot August Night III (2018) Blu-Ray 1080i AVC DTS-HD MA 5.1 + BDRip 720p/1080p

Title: Neil Diamond – Hot August Night III
Release Date: 2018
Genre: Rock, Folk Rock, Country Rock

Production/Label: Reprise Records/Bushbranch Records/EPC Enterprises LLP
Duration: 02:22:44+00:12:26
Quality: Blu-ray
Container: BDMV
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Audio codec: PCM, DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD
Video: MPEG-4 AVC Video 19948 kbps 1080i / 29,970 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1
Audio#1: Dolby TrueHD Audio English 4107 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4107 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Audio#2: LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Audio#3: DTS-HD Master Audio English 4566 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4566 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Size: 38.45 GB

Los Angeles – June 22, 2018 – On August 17, Capitol/UMe will celebrate one of the century’s most electrifying live albums, with the release of Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night Ill, a live concert DVD/CD Blu-Ray multi-disc set. Hot August Night Ill chronicles Diamond’s triumphant return to the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in August 2012.The magical evening was Diamond’s 40th anniversary celebration of the original multiplatinum-selling Hot August Night collection that was recorded at the very same venue in 1972.

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Neil Diamond – 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Neil Diamond – 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 06:51:58 minutes | 15,8 GB | Genre: Pop Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Neil Diamond

Although UMe/Capitol already ‘celebrated’ Neil Diamond‘s 50 years in music 18 months ago with a three-disc set called the ’50th anniversary collection’ it seems they haven’t celebrated enough and so will this month offer forward the ’50th Anniversary Collectors Edition’ a six-disc hardcover book deluxe package that features the same artwork, but this time includes six CDs of content, including rarities, demos and 14 previously unreleased tracks.

This set contains a full disc of unreleased songs, including ‘Sunflower,’ (originally recorded by Glen Campbell recently updated by Neil Diamond), ‘Before I Had a Dime’ and ‘C’est La Vie’ (a song that Neil co-wrote with friend Gilbert Bécaud). Also unreleased are two original demos of ‘I Am…I Said’ and ‘America,’.

I suppose they’ve got there in the end, as this set is far more appealing than last year’s effort – and is reasonably priced – although one wonders whether Universal Music plan to release 50th anniversary editions of Neil Diamond’s output every year, going forward?

For now, this year’s Neil Diamond 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition will be released on 30 November 2018.

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Neil Diamond – A Cherry Cherry Christmas (2009/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Neil Diamond – A Cherry Cherry Christmas (2009/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 45:12 minutes | 1,8 GB | Genre: Christmas
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Universal Music

Neil Diamond’s first two holiday albums were plainly titled The Christmas Album and The Christmas Album, Vol. 2, which gave a pretty good indication of the by-the-book music they contained, just like how the very name of 2009’s A Cherry Cherry Christmas is a tip-off that this collection is a decidedly less serious affair, even if it recycles a good chunk of the same recordings that comprised those earlier albums. A Cherry Cherry Christmas keeps a barbershop quartet arrangement of “Deck the Halls,” a doo wop “White Christmas,” and a swinging “Jingle Bell Rock,” but what’s notable are the additions: a ridiculous, self-celebrating “Cherry Cherry Christmas” that’s trumped only by a goofy cover of Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song.” These two new cuts make Diamond seem like the garrulous uncle at your family’s holiday party, the one who is eager to prove how cool he is, which only makes him seem all the more out of touch.

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Neil Diamond – Hot August Night III (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Neil Diamond – Hot August Night III (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 02:22:12 minutes | 3,11 GB | Genre: Pop Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Neil Diamond

Los Angeles – June 22, 2018 – On August 17, Capitol/UMe will celebrate one of the century’s most electrifying live albums, with the release of Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night Ill, a live concert DVD/CD Blu-Ray multi-disc set. Hot August Night Ill chronicles Diamond’s triumphant return to the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in August 2012.The magical evening was Diamond’s 40th anniversary celebration of the original multiplatinum-selling Hot August Night collection that was recorded at the very same venue in 1972.

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Neil Diamond – Melody Road (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Neil Diamond – Melody Road (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 46:20 minutes | 0,99 GB | Genre: Pop Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Capitol Records

Leaving behind Columbia Records along with his latter-day collaborator producer Rick Rubin, Neil Diamond sets up shop at Capitol — which now belongs to Universal Records, who owns his classic recordings for Uni and MCA — and teams with producer Don Was for 2014’s Melody Road. Diamond may have left his label of 40 years, but in an odd way, Melody Road is a return home after his stark wanderings of the 2000s. Rubin encouraged Diamond to be spare, sometimes recording him with little more than an acoustic guitar, but Was — who is assisted by Jacknife Lee — coaxes the singer/songwriter to bring back the schmaltz, an essential element of Neil’s glory days that was largely ignored on the Rubin records. Was and Lee retain a hint of that new millennial intimacy — it’s never once as overblown as his ’70s records — but the songs themselves alternate between stately ballads, effervescent bubblegum, and self-important pomp. As on his best ’70s records, which Melody Road often resembles in both construction and consistency, Diamond is best when he keeps his ambitions relatively simple. There’s majesty on the title track and haunting splendor on “Alone at the Ball,” and they find their counterparts in the joyous “Something Blue” and “Marry Me Now,” along with the spirited ramble of “First Time.” Each of these songs evoke memories of Diamond’s peak — a little bit of “Solitary Man,” a little bit of “I Am…I Said,” a little bit of “Cherry Cherry” — while the tedious socially aware slog of “Seongah and Jimmy” and endless ballad “(OOO) Do I Wanna Be Yours” bring back the Diamond that’s often forgotten, the Diamond whose LPs often got bogged down in middlebrow aspirations. As much as these weigh down Melody Road, it’s also true that there’s never been a Neil Diamond record where he doesn’t stray into this murky territory. What makes a difference here is the general lightness of his new songs and Was and Lee’s sympathetic production; the two play off each other perfectly, turning this into the first latter-day Diamond record to feel quintessentially Neil Diamond.

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Neil Diamond – Home Before Dark (2008/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Neil Diamond – Home Before Dark (2008/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:02:54 minutes | 1,23 GB | Genre: Pop Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Capitol Records

Home Before Dark is Neil Diamond’s second collaboration with producer Rick Rubin. It follows the fine but ill-fated 12 Songs, which was sabotaged by Sony’s “Rootkit” program scandal: a nefarious bit of “copy protection” software that invaded the operating system of PCs and wreaked havoc. 12 Songs had to be recalled from store shelves just as Diamond received better reviews than he had in a decade. Sony reissued it in 2007, but the damage was done. Diamond, disappointed but undaunted, sought out Rubin. Rubin enlisted Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench and lead guitarist Mike Campbell, studio guitarist/bassist Smokey Hormel, and former Chavez guitar slinger Matt Sweeney. There are no drums. David Campbell did some skeletal string arrangements, but that’s it. In addition, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks duets on the track “Another Day (That Time Forgot).” Home Before Dark is a more exposed Diamond than listeners have ever heard. He’s out there, bashing on his guitar and singing from a position of extreme vulnerability; he’s on a wire without a net. His musicians understand what is so dynamically and poetically evident in the songs, and use painterly care in adorning them. Diamond is not a young man anymore and, thankfully, he doesn’t write like one — though he sounds lean and hungry for something just out of reach. “Forgotten” has a rock & roll progression worthy of his Bang singles. Its lyric reflects the travails of a protagonist whose heart bears hurt without the grace and wisdom that age is supposed to bring. The grain in his voice is fierce; it quavers just a bit in the refrain, and Sweeney’s electric guitar nails it to the wall. It follows “One More Bite of the Apple,” another rollicking rocker, but this one is about reuniting with his true beloved — songwriting itself.

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Neil Diamond – Tennessee Moon (1996/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Neil Diamond – Tennessee Moon (1996/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:08:07 minutes | 2,92 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Universal Music

„Tennessee Moon“ finds Neil Diamond duetting with Waylon Jennings, co-writing with Harlan Howard, and backed by the cream of modern country session musicians. It’s his Nashville move, and it’s bookended by two wonderful paeans to the country life. The album-opening title cut is a country-rocker that features some jangly electric guitar, pedal steel and fiddle, and a lyric about a songwriter leaving Hollywood behind and moving to Nashville in search of Hank Williams’ spirit. “Blue Highway” is even better. Co-written by Diamond and Howard (author of “I Fall To Pieces,” “Heartaches By The Number” and many other country standards), it rejects big-city life with the quiet authority of a cowboyish acoustic-guitar strum and a pledge to leave town via the side roads (because the interstate “represents all the things I hate”).

As it happens, the sixteen cuts in between, written with various Nashville pros, leave Hollywood only half-behind. Diamond still possesses the cornball pop craft that’s always served him well; love ballads like “Marry Me” or “Everybody” would work equally well in any city, in any genre, for better or worse. The best songs really do take Tennessee to heart. “Reminisce,” co-written and sung with Raul Malo of The Mavericks, has the dramatic flair of a Roy Orbison rock ballad, and “No Limit” has the juiced-up, acoustic country-rock flavor of the early Everly Brothers. Both songs raise the memory of Diamond the cool young rock craftsman.

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