The song selection is obviously made in homage to great music, as we'd expect. It doesn't necessarily follow that the songs suit the great voice and style of Neil Diamond though, no matter what emotion he brings to them.
Even though I like Neil Diamond and in particular his self-penned work, I would not recommend this album.
I am a long-time fan of Neil Diamond, that's why I bought this album. But do I have to like it? The answer is no, because one can be a fan, but one doesn't have to like everything he/she puts out.
When a singer-song writer or singer/band/group sings other artists' output, the listeners have a couple of expectations: (1) the new rendition/interpretation brings out a new dimension and/or aesthetic understanding to the old song; (2) the covered song is so well re-arranged to suit the singer's or singers' voice, temperament, pathos, etc., it becomes his/her/their signautre tunes.
Have these expectations ever been met? Yes Yes Yes: Jose Feliciano's reinterpretation of Light My fire, Juice Newton's Angels of the Morning, Rod Stewart's Reason to Believe, Peter Paul & Mary's Leaving on a Jet Plane, Carpenter's Superstar, Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah... the list goes on.
This is a very well-produced CD, but the problem lies in the fact that no matter how sincere and how earnest Neil Diamond tried, none of the tracks rival the original versions by the original artists. Some of the songs are rearranged completely, but some sticks to the original instrumentation more or less. Most songs just don't work, for example: it's excruciating to hear a mismatched blue-grass fiddle solo in the middle of Blackbird; the deliberate slowering of the tempo in Midnight Train to Georgia completely cancels out the heartwrenching urgency of the song; and the exclusion of the two-part harmonies/singing that is well associated with Let it be Me leaves the song rather humdrum and dry...
What a dire CD. This is not the sparkling Diamond of old. I wish I had read the reviews before I parted with my hard earned cash for this badly done rehash of old favourites. Every song was a mullered rendition of what used to be my greatest all time hits. Im a believer? not in this rubbish. Save your money and buy any CD but this