Monday, November 07, 2011

My Music Monday

This is probably a choice most would not see coming:   Neil Diamond.

Don't get me wrong, young Neil was not bad.  As a singer-songwriter, I was never turned off by  "Solitary Man" (a great song!),  and "Sweet Caroline".

Who didn't like his songs that the Monkees covered:  "I'm a Believer" and  "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"?

I thought less of him starting with "Song Sung Blue".  It was dialed up to full-on dislike with "America" and "Heartlight".  Ugh.   Especially that last song.  I'd rather poke my eardrums out than be forced to listen to that.

A few years ago Diamond went down the road of a later years via Johnny Cash - using Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dixie Chicks) as his producer.  Allegedly, Rubin approached Diamond.

The two subsequent albums, 12 Songs and Home Before Dark were critically acclaimed.   I've tried to listen to them, because I'll give them a chance.  They weren't bad, but they didn't really grab me either.  But the same was true of Cash's last five disks:  supposedly great, but I found them to be difficult to listen to them.

There is one exception to a song off of Diamond's Home Before Dark - "Pretty Amazing Grace'.   It's simple, but good.  But even with that, it took me a few listens to really hook on to it. As with Rubin's production on Cash and Diamond's efforts, he pares its down to mostly - if not only - an acoustic guitar.

"Pretty Amazing Grace" for the first half or so is solely an Diamond on acoustic guitar with a few more instruments thrown in as the song goes along, but for the most part it is unadorned, not unlike the earliest of his work.

There is no official video of it, so it is some fan-made clip. I think with the word 'grace' in the title, most of these fan vids take on a religious theme, but that is not me. I tried to find the least religious one out there.


david said...

I saw it coming!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your Neil opinions right down the line. Perfect!

Neil has some memories for me. The very first album I ever owned, the very first thing I ever bought with my own money was buying Neil's "12 Greatest Hits" with my birthday money at 6 years old in 1973. I was sooo proud to own it. :)

Ur-spo said...

I am not a fan. I met Mr. Diamond once and he was rather rude.