It is clear that opinion is divided regarding this collection of covers. Personally, I love it, but I note that some Neil Diamond fans only like his original material, claiming that his particular style is not suited to covers. Neil clearly enjoys doing covers. Apart from this album, he's recorded an album of movie songs and two Christmas albums. He's also included covers on some of his other albums.
On this album, Neil records a number of songs written by songwriters he knew in the early sixties (though some songs here are from the fifties). He wrote the liner notes, discussing the various songwriters. Almost as an afterthought, he provides a list of the original artists, though some of the songs have actually become more famous by other, later versions.
You've lost that loving feeling, as performed here, sounds very different from the original version by the Righteous brothers. Neil had the great idea of doing it as a duet with Dolly Parton and (to my ears) it works superbly, bringing a freshness to the song.
Do wah diddy diddy, originally a minor American hit for the Exciters, topped the charts in Britain and America after Manfred Mann covered it. Neil performs this with Mary's Danish.
The remaining songs are all solo performances by Neil and include three songs that were American hits for the Drifters (Up on the roof, Save the last dance for me, Sweets for my sweet) and two for Ben E King (I who have nothing, Spanish Harlem). These songs were all hits in Britain but sometimes via cover versions by British artists.
Another classic song, River deep mountain high, was a top three UK hit for Ike and Tina Turner but only a minor American hit for them. In the early seventies, it became a hit again when covered by the Supremes and Four Tops. It was a top twenty hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
This album contains other great songs made famous by Dionne Warwick (Don't make me over, Do you know the way to San Jose), the Mindbenders (A groovy kind of love), Neil Sedaka (Happy birthday sweet sixteen), the Shirelles (Will you love me tomorrow) and Elvis Presley (Don't be cruel). Love potion number nine, originally recorded by the Clovers, is better known via a cover by the Searchers.
Ten lonely guys, a minor American hit for Pat Boone, was Neil's first taste of success as a songwriter. Even so, he was one of ten co-writers.
So, this is a collection of classic songs from the fifties and early sixties as covered by one of America's enduring performers. The question you have to ask yourself is - Do you like Neil's covers of these songs? Only you can answer that. I can say that I love them.
on 22 June 2014
An unusual compilation of songs and not all are the best selected, in my opinion. I adore Neil's songs, his music, lyrics and style. I'd much prefer him singing his own songs, they are inimitable. His unique timbre and rhythm don't seem to accept the tunes and pace of other singers' songs. Still, whatever he sings is magic to me.