RELEASE
December 04, 2001
LABEL
Sony Music Distribution
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Soft Rock, AM Pop

Album Review

Columbia Records' series of two-disc, limited-edition Essential compilations of its major long-term stars -- Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, etc. -- has generally been a winner, so it is a shame to have to report that the Neil Diamond number is not. True, most of the singer/songwriter's best and most popular songs are included, but there are also significant omissions and enough inessential material to prevent this from being the sort of definitive collection it could and should have been. For once, the basic problem in assembling a Diamond best-of has been overcome, since Columbia has licensed the five Top Ten hits he scored for Uni Records in the late '60s and early '70s from Universal. Meanwhile, Columbia parent Sony controls the Bang Records catalog for which Diamond recorded from 1966 to 1968, and he has been signed to Columbia since 1973, so that puts his biggest hits at the compilers' disposal. But those compilers, Diamond himself and Al Quaglieri, have chosen oddly, shortchanging the Columbia material in favor of using more Bang recordings (nine) than necessary and employing ten live recordings, six of them newly made, nine of them songs from the Uni era, including versions of obscure album tracks like "Captain Sunshine." That leaves space for only 14 Columbia studio recordings from 1973-2001, and though most of them were chart singles, fans will miss the Top Five hit "Longfellow Serenade," while "I've Been This Way Before," another track from the Serenade album that barely made the Top 40, is included. This is the kind of idiosyncratic selection typical of a collection chosen by the artist himself, in this case one who is more interested in his new interpretations of half-forgotten songs from 30 years earlier than what a more objective observer might consider the "essential" recordings of his career.
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Solitary Manhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/solitary-man/id250974547?i=250974651&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  2. Cherry, Cherryhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/cherry-cherry/id250974547?i=250974657&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  3. I Got the Feelin' (Oh No, No)http://itunes.apple.com/album/i-got-the-feelin-oh-no-no/id250974547?i=250974659&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  4. Kentucky Womanhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/kentucky-woman/id250974547?i=250974677&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  5. Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soonhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/girl-youll-be-a-woman-soon/id250974547?i=250974680&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  6. You Got to Mehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/you-got-to-me/id250974547?i=250974695&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  7. Red, Red Wine [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/red-red-wine/id250974547?i=250974699&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  8. Thank the Lord for the Night Timehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/thank-lord-for-night-time/id250974547?i=250974708&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  9. I'm a Believerhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/im-a-believer/id250974547?i=250974731&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  10. Sweet Carolinehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  11. Song Sung Bluehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  12. Holly Holyhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  13. I Am...I Saidhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  14. Cracklin' Rosiehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  15. Play Me [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/play-me/id250974547?i=250974973&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  16. Morningside [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/morningside/id250974547?i=250974980&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  17. Crunchy Granola Suite [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/crunchy-granola-suite/id250974547?i=250974991&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  18. Brooklyn Roads [Live]http://itunes.apple.com/album/brooklyn-roads/id250974547?i=250974997&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  19. Soolaimon [Live][#]http://itunes.apple.com/album/soolaimon/id250974547?i=250975026&uo=5&at=11l9vR
  20. Americahttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  21. Hello Againhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  22. Love on the Rockshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  23. Captain Sunshine [Live][#]http://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  24. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother [Live][#]http://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  25. Medley: Yes I Will/Lady Magdalene [Live][#]http://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  26. Shilo [Live][#]http://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  27. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show [Live][#]http://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  28. If You Know What I Meanhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  29. Beautiful Noisehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  30. You Don't Bring Me Flowershttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  31. Desiréehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  32. Forever in Blue Jeanshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  33. September Mornhttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  34. I've Been This Way Beforehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  35. Yesterday's Songshttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  36. Heartlighthttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  37. Headed for the Futurehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  38. You Are the Best Part of Mehttp://itunes.apple.com/album/the-essential-neil-diamond/id250974547?uo=5&at=11l9vR
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