12 Songs (2005)
|Artist: Neil Diamond|
|One of the year's most heavily-anticipated new releases, 12 Songs pairs the pop music icon Neil Diamond with legendary producer Rick Rubin. Producing a Neil Diamond album has been a long-time dream for Rubin, whose extraordinary resume spans the history of hip-hop from LL Cool J to Jay Z, the world of hardcore rock from Slayer to System Of A Down, and the pantheon of mythic stars from Tom Petty and Donovan to Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash's immortal Grammy-winning American Recordings series.
"Most of the songs were recorded with Neil playing and singing at the same time," said Rick Rubin in a Rolling Stone article (9/22/05) profiling the producer, "and it's a different animal. It's taking him back to being more of a singer-songwriter. He really blows me away."
When it came time to record 12 Songs, Rick Rubin assembled a sympathetic ensemble of musicians to capture the essence of Neil Diamond's extraordinary new songs, each of them a finely-wrought gem, soul-searching, honest, yearning, and powerful.
A core group of musicians made up of Mike Campbell (guitar) and Benmont Tench (piano/organ) from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and guitarist Smokey Hormel (Beck, Tom Waits) and other musicians including the renowned Larry Knechtel (piano) and Billy Preston (organ) played on the album.
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Personnel: Neil Diamond (guitar); Neil Diamond (vocals, acoustic guitar); David Campbell (strings, horns); Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (piano); Billy Preston (organ, Hammond b-3 organ); Jonny Polonsky (guitar, upright bass); Mike Campbell , Pat McLaughlin, Smokey Hormel, Jason Sinay (guitar); Benmont Tench (piano, organ); Larry Knechtel (piano); Patrick Warren (chamberlin); Lenny Castro (percussion).|
|Additional personnel: Brian Wilson (vocals).|
|Audio Mixer: Greg Fidelman.|
|Recording information: Akademie Mathematique Of Philosophical Sound Research,; ArchAngel Recording Studio, LA, CA; Oceanway Recording Studio, LA, CA; Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA; Te Sound Factory, Los Angeles, CA; The Sound Factory, LA, CA.|
|Photographer: Martin Atkins.|
|Arranger: Jimmie Haskell.|
|In the 1990s, producer Rick Rubin (renowned for his work with acts ranging from Run-DMC to Slayer) helped to reinvigorate the career of country legend Johnny Cash by bringing him back to the basics of his sound. On 2005's 12 SONGS, Rubin facilitates a similar streamlining with pop crooner Neil Diamond, a not entirely surprising move, as Rubin steered Cash toward covering Diamond on AMERICAN III: SOLITARY MAN.|
|The Brooklyn-born performer returns to his singer/songwriter roots, leaving the glitzy bombast of past outings behind, in favor of a warm, organic atmosphere that often highlights Diamond's own acoustic-guitar playing. This setting allows his emotive voice and distinctive phrasing to carry the tunes, whether he's pining away on "Oh Mary" or reveling in unrestrained affirmation on "Hell Yeah." Although many of the tunes are strikingly spare, there is room for contributions by stellar backing musicians, including Billy Preston (organ) and Heartbreakers Mike Campbell (guitar) and Benmont Tench (piano and organ). An assured album that features Diamond playing to his strengths, 12 SONGS is a welcome return to form for a beloved American pop artist.|
Producer: Rick Rubin; Rick Rubin
Engineer: Mark Linette; Greg Fidelman; Mark Linnett; Andrew Scheps; Jason Lader
|Last Waltz (Live)|
|Duets (Bonus Tracks)|
|Duets & Duets Ii:90th Birthday|
|Anyone Who Had A Heart|
|Greatest Hits Vol 2|
|Essential Barbra Streisand (Bonus Tracks) (Limited Edition)|
Associated Artists and Works
|Classic Dream Orchestra|
|Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~ Original Soundtrack|
|Quality Singers (The)|
|Duets II ~ Sinatra, Frank|
|Release Date : 11/08/2005|
|Original Release Date : 2005|
|Catalog ID : 77508|
|Label : Columbia (USA)|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00828767750828|
- 4 out of 5 stars - "...[H]e's as direct as he's ever been with his lyrics, which give them an extra poignancy...."
- Ranked #6 in Entertainment Weekly's 'Top Ten Records of the Year' -- "Conor Oberst could take a few tips on song structure and understated vocal projection from the old-schooler comeback of '05."
- "...[T]he singer's well-preserved, Corinthian-leather voice and softy strummed chords are the focus...." - Grade: A
- Ranked #19 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of 2006" -- "Diamond rediscovered the simple joys of guitar and voice..."
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "Responding to the intimacy of the settings, Diamond eschews bombast in his performances in favour of a melancholy that seems earned, even Dylanesque..."
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "What makes 'Oh Mary', and much of this album so good, and in many ways shocking, is that it's all about the voice and the song....Consistently engrossing."