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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 25 May 2011
It goes without saying that you can never expect to please all the people, all the time, but to stay at the top for so long then you must have something very, very special that a lot of people kinda like.

Listening to this latest compilation of his early years you become aware of the seed that was to germinate into the extraordinary talent that is Neil Diamond.

This collection from his early "Bang Recording" days is best summed up as his "Pop" period. During the 60s Diamond wrote great 3 minute pop songs that had a great hook and energy that you couldn't help but get carried away with. They had the infectious wave of a young man finding his feet and song craft, which was a breath of fresh air.

Diamond managed to write breezy rock singles that were ultimately driven with a great ear for an acoustic guitar riff. Most of the songs are driven along on classic three or four chord structures that to this day still hit you between the eyes and get your heart pumping.

Cherry, Cherry: Kentucky Woman: The Boat that I Row: I'm a Believer (a huge Monkees hit) and Thank The Lord for The Night Time are all great examples. However, he also wrote great introspective songs like Red Red Wine: Solitary Man: The Long Way Home and Shilo. Considering the time span and his relative youthfulness, his output at this time was very impressive.

His voice is different to that of today, a younger man with a great melodic and untamed voice that perfectly fits the period. Like a fabulous painting, his songs provide the canvass for his voice to frame.

A lot of people have been waiting a long tome for this catalogue of songs to be released and the sound and packaging is certainly no disappointment.

Having written so many classic songs over his incredible career, the sad thing is that there are simply too many to hear him sing live on stage. He could probably to five different shows back to back and have a different set list on each one and still provide quality.

In the meantime, we make the best of having the material at hand to listen in our own front room "Concert Hall" and the enjoyment is by no means diluted in any shape or form.

This collection is superb and fills the nostalgic gap of yesteryear that so many fans have been waiting for. Great songs, great sounds.......great memories.

This is a great addition to any Diamond fan's collection.
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on 2 June 2011
I have been a ND fan for 30+ years [most of my life - since showing an interest in music]and over time have collected Neil's albums on vinyl and CD but 'The Feel of Neil Diamond' and 'Just For You' his very first albums have not been re-released on CD [that I know of] up until now. These two albums are 'The Bang Years' although not in track order they do feature the songs from both of those albums so I was delighted to finally have them on CD and not just vinyl. Although not all tracks are written by Neil on this album, he does sing them well and I cannot praise the album enough it really is a good listen for all you Diamondheads out there or those just starting out as Neil fans, this is a great album for you to hear and enjoy his early work.
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on 24 May 2011
With a booklet written by Diamond himself he begins by mentiong a couple of failed singles before recounting the years up to 1966 when he found the secret to songwriting-placing himself at the center.
Thus he was the Solitary Man-the record which began his career on the Bang label.
This is the latest comp of his early years as a Brill Building writer who made countless demos which had no takers,eventually cutting one with a girl group backing.One of the girls was Ellie Greenwich who would take his musical aspirations to the next level.
The first album which followed the hit Cherry Cherry had quite a few covers including Hanky Panky-the Greenwich/Barry song which had first been made by the Raidrops (demoed by the Summits) and the song which kicked off the career of Tommy James
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on 21 October 2012
In my opinion his best era so 5 stars for the music but, annoyingly, one docked for being a stupidly unnecessary opportunity missed. Why on earth didn't they include the only other Bang tracks, "Shot Down" and "Crooked Street"?
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on 14 March 2012
If like me you are a fan of Neil Diamond's earlier work then this is a must purchase.
This is the young Neil Diamond singing his songs in a raw and earthy style that is far removed from the smooth "lounge" singer he later went on to become.
In my opinion this is by far the Neil Diamond that I prefer to listen to - sounding rough and ready and with a lyrical edge and sharpness that will cut deep into your soul!
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on 7 December 2013
As is nearly always the case with singer/songwriters, Neil Diamond at his very best in the early years especially here with the production skills of the legendary Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. He was a likeable guy then, before his ambition and ego became as big as his bank balance...
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This set collects the two albums that Neil Diamond made for the Bang label in 1966 and 67. Many of the songs here are now better known through more famous cover versions, but on discovering this I have to say that I think Diamond's originals are usually the superior, sung with a depth of feeling and some classic arrangements.

Recorded just before Diamond started to enjoy real success, these really do show the strengths of his writing, singing and arranging, and show the birth of the legend that was to come.

Fans have been awaiting this release for a very long time - it is the first time that these two albums have been released in their entirety on CD. Up until now we have had to make do with anthologies that only cover about half the tracks, but here, finally, we have all the tracks in all their glory. And the remastering sounds pretty good as well. So three cheers that this material has finally had the release it deserves. I think it is well worth upgrading if you have some of the earlier 12 track collections, and this is an excellent place for Diamond beginners to start. 5 stars.
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on 24 June 2016
This is very early Neil Diamond and is some of his best work, however there is no such track as Milk And Honey on this set but all the other titles are included. These were some of the songs that I heard back in the 60s's and got to liking Neil's voice. Songs like Thank TheLord For The Night Time, Shilo, I'll Come Running, Solitary Man etc alerted me to a talent I still enjoy today .
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on 11 July 2011
Its pretty obvious that Neil holds the music on this album in high regard,which is understandable. The quality of some of the material may be dubious but as a package it cant be faulted. Some people have complained about the re-mastering but having had both Bang albums since their release, in my opinion,its given all the songs a new lease of life.I dont think many artists have produced music of the quality of "Solitary Man" "Cherry Cherry" "Kentucky Woman" "Shilo" "Im A Believer" or "The Boat That I Row" so early in their careers. Neil can be justly proud of this album. Its timeless,high quality popular music. A great buy at a great price.
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on 28 July 2011
So glad that these early songs are now available. I was fortunate enough to acquire them on a double LP album released in the UK in 1975: 'Focus on Neil Diamond' on London Records FOS M 7/8 (licensed from Bang Records).
Interestingly enough however your Amazon list omits two additional ND penned tracks: Crooked Street, and Shot Down, both of which are not currently available (July 2011) on Amazon UK. Crooked Street is to my ear a very catchy number with a great guitar backing. In fact both are deserving of note in any archive of Neil's great body of work. Wonderful singer and not only that - a great guy with a modest disposition.
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