Monday, April 21, 2008

Album recommendation Okay, in my irregular series of music reviews, I hereby once again put my reputation on the line by recommending a slightly. . . .well, okay, weird, album. This time it's Neil Diamond's Hot August Night:
Double-live albums weren't yet an industry staple when Neil Diamond unleashed this ignore-me-at-your-peril statement of serious artistic intent in 1972. Hot August Night effects a meld of Vegas-era Elvis and Diamond's pretensions to singer-songwriter greatness. High drama carries the day, whether on rearranged versions of his early hits ("Solitary Man," "Cherry Cherry") or epic showstoppers such as the "Soolaimon"-"Brother Love" medley. The roots of Diamond's supersized live productions of the '90s are right here.

Even if you don't particularly care for his music generally, this is worthwhile. He gives an excellent performance and it's also a darn good recording. It's actually the only Diamond album I've ever bought. Most every performer is better live than in-studio and Diamond proves the point well. I got the remastered version from iTunes and I saw on Amazon a remastered one with extra tracks. Definitely worth the money.