Pop, jazz and world releases


Pop, jazz and world releases

Sunday February 19, 2006
The Observer

Neil Diamond
12 Songs (Columbia)
Out of fashion for as long as some adults have been alive, Neil Diamond is the latest erstwhile icon given a reboot by producer Rick Rubin, most famous for the kiss of life he gave to Johnny Cash’s career. His role lies in mentoring and stripping back. Diamond plays unembellished guitar; there is an unobtrusive backing band and, here and there, Benmont Tench’s piano. Now in his sixties, Diamond can muster some of the same gravitas that made Cash’s latterday works so resonant. His sings songs like ‘Hell Yeah’ or ‘I’m on to You’ simply but fluently; his lyrics are curt by most standards, but clean and effective. An absorbing collection from a tunesmith presumed lost.
Kitty Empire

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