Neil Diamond

Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show

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Neil Diamond's second album for Uni offered the typical strengths and weaknesses of his LPs for the label. The strengths? A good single (the title track) and a rather remarkable stylistic diversity. The weaknesses? The failure of any of the other tracks to stand out nearly as much as the single, and the feeling that sometimes Diamond was doing something just to prove he could do it, without the quality material to justify the experimentation. Although taken by itself almost any track sounds normal, running all together the record sounds kind of weird. There's a rather respectable Dion-esque bluesy groove on "Dig In" (cool stuttering organ on this one); "River Runs, New Grown Plums" has the stop-start rhythm and crisp AM production of earlier singles like "Kentucky Woman," but isn't as strong a tune. Less impressively, "Long Gone" is tinged with country-rock; "And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind" and "Juliet" are above-average MOR pop; "Hurtin' You Don't Come Easy" is introspective singer/songwriting; and "You're So Sweet Horseflies Keep Hangin' 'Round Your Face" is dumb country satire. At other points, it just sounds like his late-'60s singles, without being strong enough to justify inclusion on a 45. The album was improved considerably when the hit "Sweet Caroline" was added after its initial release, and the title changed to Sweet Caroline: Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show.

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