Did you ever hear about a frog who dreamed of being a king....
As I have mentioned in other reviews, it is easy to dismiss Neil Diamond as a "housewives' favourite", an easy listening lightweight. This is a unfair assessment. The man has written some exceptional songs both for himself and for other artists over a period of fifty years. He has a truly wonderful voice he is a great interpreter of songs, both his own and those of others. His instantly recognisable, powerful voice commands any song he touches. I have a lot of time for Neil Diamond and listening to him is always a pleasure.
Highlights are the wonderful, soul searching "I Am...I Said"; the singalong, arms in the air, "Sweet Caroline"; the catchy "Cracklin' Rosie"; the similarly appealing "Crunchy Granola Suite"; the melodic "Song Sung Blue"; the rousing pop of "Beautiful Noise", "Desiree" and "Forever In Blue Jeans" and the heartbreakingly tear-jerking "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" sung here solo, without Barbra Streisand (the duet actually is a better version, however).
Personal lesser-known favourites of mine are the frantic name checking "Done Too Soon"; the evocative "Shilo"; the rousing "America;" the brooding "Holly Holy" and maybe my favourite Neil Diamond song, the vibrant tale of a revivalist preacher in the uplifting, charismatic "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show". There are also Diamond's original versions of "Red Red Wine" and "I'm A Believer", made famous by UB40 and The Monkees. I love the early Latin-influenced single "Cherry Cherry" too. "Pretty Amazing Grace" is an impressive later-era song too. There are so many great tracks on this album. Fifty of them in fact.
The sound is remastered to an exceptionally high quality, which is great to hear. Highly recommended. Listening to it, you just realise what a great career Neil Diamond has had. Respect.