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Classics: The Early Years ()

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Classics: The Early Years rounds up 12 highlights from Neil Diamond's recordings for Bang Records. These, of course, were Diamond's earliest recordings, and for many fans they remain among his very best work, and it's easy to see why -- not only are these terrific songs, but the productions don't oversell the songs. Even when strings grace the productions, there's a dark, brooding vibe to the ballads, and a crisp feeling to the pop songs. And while some of the songs won't be instantly recognizable, most of them will, because these are the tunes that made Diamond's reputation as a songwriter and performer: "Kentucky Woman," "Cherry, Cherry," "Solitary Man," "Thank the Lord for the Night Time," "I"m a Believer," "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," "Shilo," and "Red, Red Wine." Diamond occasionally matched these peaks later in his career, but never again did he deliver so many great songs at such a frequency -- and Classics conveniently collects them all in one place. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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