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« OBITS - Moody, Standard and Poor | Main | JULIANNA BARWICK - The Magic Place »
Sunday
Apr032011

NEIL DIAMOND - The Bang Years 1966-1968

This one’s been leaving the store on a consistent basis, and the reasons are plenty. The only things you need to know, though, are that this is Neil Diamond, and that these are his first two albums, shuffled around from their original running order to best show off the talents of a young and hungry songwriter before he became overwrought and often schmaltzy. 

In the early '60s Diamond paid the bills as a hack songwriter, recording stray singles both as a solo artist and as half of Neil & Jack with Jack Packer. In 1966, with the help of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, he signed to Bang Records. With Barry and Greenwich also serving as his producers, Diamond’s songs and impassioned delivery guaranteed a string of hits in their own right, and a cache of songs that would be sung by countless others over the years. 

He hit the ground running, and in the time covered by his debut The Feel Of Neil Diamond and its follow-up Just For You produced a repertoire of pop standards that most musicians would love to have produced in their whole career, much less in the space of two years! Yes, you’ll know "Kentucky Woman", "I’m A Believer", "Red Red Wine", "Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon", "Monday Monday", "Cherry Red", "Solitary Man", and maybe more. 

Dissatisfied with his contract with Bang and feeling the need to move on from simple pop pleasures to a more introspective direction, he made a break for it, signing to a subsidiary of MCA and entering into years of legal disputes with Bang. From 1968 to 1973, Bang would find creative ways to reissue Diamond’s material in various forms, mangling the originals with overdubs, premature fade-outs, fake stereo, or different vocal takes. Happily, this reissue preserves "The 23 Original Mono Recordings", as the cover boldly states in its left margin.   

Reader Comments (1)

Bravo for this release. hard to believe that Neil's back catalogue of hits has been so messed up. It was very difficult to purchase a "Greatest Hits" of his old original material. In many cases, you would be cueing up an old classic and then find out it was a live version or totally remixed and mangled.
I purchased this one in the store a few weeks back and IT IS FANTASTIC to hear the original versions again. Excellent sound and excellent liner notes provided by Neil himself. Do yourself a favour and purchase this one. You won't be disappointed.
Waiting now for the review of Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs - The MGM Singles which I purchased on the same day. Fun ol' Tex-Mex hits from Sam and the boys. Some of them sound a little too much like "Woolly Bully", but it's great to have them all on one disk.
Cheers to the best store in Toronto!!

April 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGERGS

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