Play Me: The Complete Uni Studio Recordings...Plus!

Play Me: The Complete Uni Studio Recordings...Plus!

by Neil DiamondNeil Diamond


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Neil Diamond was a Uni artist in the late '60s and early '70s, the period that coincided with his greatest commercial success and most consistently popular singles. This three-CD, 74-track set is just what it says it is: every last song from all six of his 1968-1972 Uni studio albums, plus seven cuts from his live Gold and Hot August Night records (also originally released on Uni). It shouldn't be taken as the total summary of Diamond's early career, as it's missing all of the hits for Bang Records that were recorded before he joined Uni (though the seven live songs do include versions of most of those big Bang hits). For all his talents as a major pop singer/songwriter, Diamond was really not a good album artist, and hearing six albums at once is going to test the limits of all but his devoted fans. If you do take the plunge, though, it's rather interesting to hear that Diamond was certainly a more eclectic stylist than he's usually given credit for, even if some of his odder ventures were rather lousy. There's some country, some near-gospel, and quite a few covers of other major singer/songwriters. Still, there's no getting around it: Only the hit singles (of which there are quite a few, to be fair) really reach out and grab you. Much of the rest sounds like the AM pop of the hit singles, but not nearly as good. There are some obscure above-average songs to be heard here, like the small 1968 hit "Two-Bit Manchild," the Dion-like bluesy "Dig In," and "Coldwater Morning." But these are balanced by some real turkey goofball experimentation, like the raps on "The Pot Smoker's Song," the country satire "You're So Sweet Horseflies Keep Hangin' Round Your Face," the kiddie tune "I Am the Lion" (where it almost sounds like he's trying to dilute Arthur Brown's "I am the god of hellfire!" shtick for the little ones when he sings the title!), "Crunchy Granola Suite," and the weird art-cum-mainstream pop of "African Suite." In addition, as an interpreter of other people's songs, Diamond is not too interesting, though you'll hear plenty of that on this set, including covers of "Chelsea Morning," "Both Sides Now," Randy Newman's "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today," "Until It's Time for You to Go," "Mr. Bojangles," and "Everybody's Talkin'." Not to harp too much on the absence of Bang material, but it should also be noted that the version of "Shilo" (from his 1968 album Velvet Gloves & Spit) is not the same as the one on the hit Bang 45.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/26/2002
Label: Mca
UPC: 0008811282424
catalogNumber: 112824

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neil Diamond   Primary Artist,Guitar
Don Bagley   Strings
Marilyn Baker   Strings
Philip Goldberg   Strings
Timothy Barr   Strings
Richard Bennett   Guitar
Samuel Boghossian   Strings
John DeVoogdt   Strings
Jesse Ehrlich   Strings
Henry Ferber   Strings
Ronald Folsom   Strings
Nathan Gershman   Strings
Emory Gordy   Guitar,Vibes
Jerome Kessler   Strings
Alan Lindgren   Keyboards
Robert Lipsett   Strings
Wilbert Nuttycombe   Strings
Reinie Press   Bass
Jay Rosen   Strings
Myron Sandler   Strings
Ralph Schaeffer   Strings
Haim Shtrum   Strings
Dennis St. John   Drums
Tibor Zelig   Strings
Shari Zippert   Strings
Richard Kaufman   Strings
William Henderson   Strings
Jess Bourgeois   Strings
Philip Candreva   Strings
Baldassare Ferlazzo   Strings
Hyman Goodman   Strings
Giacinto Nardulli   Strings
Alice Ober   Strings
Sven Reher   Strings
Walter Rower   Strings
David D. Turner   Strings
Walter Wiemeyer   Strings
Paulo Alencar   Strings
Sidney Sharp   Strings
Dan Nicholson   Guitar
Jefferson Kewley   Percussion

Technical Credits

Neil Diamond   Producer
Jacques Brel   Composer
Roger Miller   Composer
Carole Bayer Sager   Composer
Chip Taylor   Producer
Rod McKuen   Composer
Tom Catalano   Producer
Tommy Cogbill   Producer
Chips Moman   Producer
Armin Steiner   Engineer
Vartan   Art Direction
Erick Labson   Original Master Transfers
Frank Bez   Contributor
Robyn Flans   Liner Notes

Customer Reviews