Beautiful Noise (Remaster) Neil Diamond
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- 1Beautiful Noise03:25
- 4Don't Think...Feel03:27
- 5Surviving The Life03:43
- 6If You Know What I Mean03:43
- 7Street Life03:02
- 8Home Is A Wounded Heart02:44
- 11Dry Your Eyes03:24
Info for Beautiful Noise (Remaster)
Produced by the Band's former leader Robbie Robertson, 1976's Beautiful Noise (Remastered features the cream of L.A. sessionhood, as well as New Orleans pianist Dr. John and Robertson's ex-Band mate Garth Hudson, in a set which, though it hews closely to Diamond's Tin Pan Alley roots, was the rawest the singer had sounded on record since the days of 'Cracklin' Rosie.' Songs like the gospel-tinged 'Surviving the Life' and the jazzy 'Street Life' conjure Diamond's gritty Coney Island roots, while the title track is one of the most appealing of his '70s hits.
„Beautiful Noise, Neil Diamond's 11th studio album in the ten years since he emerged with his first chart single 'Solitary Man,' announces its ambitions on its cover, which displays the skyline of Manhattan under a red horizon and a black sky, overlaid with the words 'Produced by Robbie Robertson.' Most albums, of course, do not announce the name of the producer on the front cover, but Diamond wants to let people know that Beautiful Noise is an event. That he had convinced his Malibu, CA, neighbor, the Band's guitarist and songwriter, to produce him was a surprise not only because he had worked with longtime producer Tom Catalano off and on dating back to his first solo singles session in 1963, but also because Robertson possesses the kind of rock credentials Diamond had never been granted. Further, as that ominous cover and Diamond's record sleeve epitaph ('...tin pan alley died hard, but there was always the music to keep you going') indicate, Beautiful Noise was intended as something of a concept album, the songwriter's look back at his days as a scuffling denizen of the Brill Building in the early '60s. This theme comes out immediately in the rousing title song, in which he sings of the inspiration that the city's sounds bring to him. Thereafter, the story line seems to get lost, at least in lyrical terms, but Diamond and Robertson give each track its own musical identity: 'Stargazer' employs a Dixieland arrangement, complete with wailing horns; 'Lady-Oh' is the disc's romantic ballad; 'Don't Think … Feel' has a Caribbean rhythm; 'Surviving the Life' is in gospel style; 'Street Life' has a jazz/R&B feel with a vocalese melody; 'Home Is a Wounded Heart' is the torch song; and 'Jungletime' is the rock & roll number. The heart of the album (and its leadoff single) is 'If You Know What I Mean,' in which Diamond looks back with regret and a sense of loss on his youth, 'when we gave it away for the sake of a dream/In a penny arcade, if you know what I mean.' What he seems to mean, among other things, is that his idealism was betrayed by greedy people, perhaps not a surprising sentiment for a man who, as this album was made, was still in litigation over his early recording and publishing contracts. With Robertson's help (and that of a lot of other musicians), Beautiful Noise is certainly the best-sounding and most consistently engaging album of Diamond's career up to 1976.“
Neil Diamond, vocals, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, dobro
Richard Bennett, guitar
Bob Boucher, bass, acoustic bass, ARP bass
Larry Knechtel, piano, Fender Rhodes
Alan Lindgren, piano, Moog, strings, synthesizer
Dennis St. John, drums, percussion
Robbie Robertson, guitar
Jesse Ed Davis, guitar
David Paich, Fender Rhodes, piano
Garth Hudson, Hammond organ, Lowrey organ
Jim Keltner, drums
Russ Kunkel, drums
Jim Gordon, drums, congas, harmony vocals
James Newton Howard, ARP synthesizer
Joe Lala, percussion, tambourine, congas
Mac Rebennack, Hammond organ
Bob James, piano, arrangements, Fender Rhodes
Tommy Morgan, harmonica
Bob Findley, trumpet
Jerome Richardson, flute, clarinet
Linda Press, backing vocals
Nick DeCaro, arrangements, accordion
Produced by Robbie Robertson
For Neil Diamond, it’s always started with a song. Over the course of his astonishing career, Neil has sold more than 128 million albums worldwide. He’s charted 56 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, including 12 top 10 hits, and has released 16 Top 10 albums. He’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2011, he was honored by the Kennedy Center for his lifetime of contributions to American culture. Neil has been nominated for three Golden Globes, 13 Grammys, and was named NARAS’ MusiCares Person of the Year in 2009. His 2008 album, Home Before Dark, debuted in the US and UK at #1, and his songs have been covered by artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Andrea Boccelli. But he never would have reached the world, from sold-out concerts to seventh-inning stretches, without his love for songwriting.
In June, after more than forty years as a Columbia recording artist, Neil signed with Capitol Records and moved his back catalogue to Universal, Capitol’s parent company. He has history with both: his earliest hits were on Bang, a Universal imprint, and Capitol released the multi-platinum soundtrack for The Jazz Singerin 1980, which earned Neil three Top 10 singles. Melody Road, his first new original studio album since Home Before Dark, is Neil’s debut as a Capitol artist, and while it represents a new chapter for him, it also reconnects him with his past.
Neil describes Melody Road as a homecoming. It brings him back to the start of his musical journey and the early influence of artists like the Weavers and Woody Guthrie. The songs on the album reflect his lifelong love of folk music. The vocals were recorded live, in much the same way they would have been if the album had been created decades ago, and while the instrumentation is lush, the arrangements are traditional. Like the best folk songs, each of the album’s tracks tells a story, most pointedly on “Seongah and Jimmy,” a song about Neil’s American brother-in-law and Korean sister-in-law, who met and fell in love before they had learned to speak each other’s languages. Despite the specificity of the song, it addresses a universal theme. Melody Road is largely autobiographical, but the stories Neil tells are not his alone.
Neil began working on Melody Road with several new songs, as well as a few that he’d struggled to complete for more than ten years. He couldn’t find the motivation, or the willingness to address the subject matter that initially inspired them, or – in Neil’s words – they weren’t yet ready to be born. With an emotional assist from his wife Katie, he completed those tracks. By the time he was ready to record he had an album’s worth of songs ready to go. The record unfolds story by story, and song by song – the final sequence is exactly the same as the order of Neil’s original demos for the album.
Co-Produced by Don Was (who’s worked with Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones) and Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., U2), Melody Road was made with a masterful group of musicians, including pedal steel player Greg Liesz, keyboardist Benmont Tench, guitarist Smoky Hormel, and vocalists the Waters Family. Built on guitars, it’s true to the origin of folk, but it’s not defined by it; it was recorded with keyboards, flutes, horns, and, on “Seongah and Jimmy,” “The Art of Love,” and “Nothing But A Heartache,” a full string section. Yet, for all of its expansiveness and rich production, Melody Road is ultimately all about the songs. Neil’s come full circle. He’s brought five decades of extraordinary craftsmanship with him, but he’s returned to where he started, propelled by the simple joy of translating life into song.
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