Monday, 4 August 2014

“Play Me: The Complete Uni Studio Recordings” by NEIL DIAMOND – A Review Of The 2002 3CD Reissue (Erick Labson Remasters)



This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LQKMC6I

“Dig!” – Play Me: The Complete Uni Studio Recordings…Plus! by NEIL DIAMOND (2002 3CD Remasters)

Including 6 whole LPs between 1968 and 1972, a rare B-side and 7 live cuts relevant to the time period  – there’s a ton of stuff on this May 2002 3CD set. In order to get a grip on it – I’ve broken it down into disc-by-disc details. “Play Me: The Complete Uni Studio Recordings…Plus!” on MCA/Universal 088 112 824 2 pans out as follows:

Disc 1 (79:56 minutes):
The first LP has two versions so I’ve shown how to sequence either -
“Velvet Gloves And Spit” – October 1968 LP on Uni Records 73030 (Original)
(7/1 = Track 7 on Disc 1 etc):

11. Sunday Sun (7/1)
22. A Modern Day Version Of Love (2/1)
33. Honey-Drippin’ Times (3/1)
44. The Pot Smoker’s Song (4/1)
55. Brooklyn Roads (5/1)
66. Two-Bit Manchild (1/1)
77. Holiday Inn Blues (8/1)
88. Practically Newborn (9/1)
99. Knackelflerg (10/1)
110. Merry-Go-Round (11/1

"“Velvet Gloves And Spit” – May 1970 reissue LP on Uni Records 73030
 (Different Sleeve with repositioned tracks including an additional re-recording of “Shilo”)

11.  Two-Bit Manchild (1/1)
22.  A Modern Day Version Of Love (2/1)
33.  Honey-Drippin’ Times (3/1)
44.  The Pot Smoker’s Song (4/1)
55.  Brooklyn Roads (5/1)
66.  Shilo (6/1)
77.  Sunday Sun (7/1)
88.  Holiday Inn Blues (8/1)
99.  Practically Newborn (9/1)
 10.  Knackelflerg (10/1)
111. Merry-Go-Round (11/1)

Track 12 is “Bread Old Woman (6 A.M. Insanity)” – the non-album B-side to the 1968 US 45 for “Two-Bit Manchild” on Uni 55075

“Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” – May 1969 LP on Uni Records 73047
Tracks 13 to 24 on Disc 1 are the first pressing of the album. However, it was reissued in September 1969 with the hit “Sweet Caroline” added on as the last track on Side 2 (also renamed and re-sleeved as “Sweet Caroline”). Track 25 is “Sweet Caroline” [aka Good Times Never Felt So Good].

“Touching You Touching Me” – December 1969 LP on Uni Records 73071
Track 25 on Disc 1 is the opening song of Side One.

Disc 2 (77:26 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 8 on Disc 2 make up the remainder of the US LP “Touching You Touching Me” (note “Sweet Caroline” was an additional track on the UK LP)

“Tap Root Manuscript” – November 1970 LP on Uni Records 73092
Tracks 9 to 20 are the whole album

“Stones” – November 1971 LP on Uni Records 93106
Tracks 21 to 24 are Side 1 of the album

Disc 3 (77:27 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 6 are Side 2 of the “Stones” LP

“Moods” – July 1972 LP on Uni Records 93136
Tracks 7 to 17 are the whole album

Tracks 18, 19 and 20 are live bonus songs from the “Neil Diamond/Gold” album of August 1970

Tracks 21, 22, 23 and 24 are from the December 1972 live double “Hot August Night”

The 24-page booklet has full Discography info including mini pictures of the album artwork and incisive liner notes by Robyn Flans (of People Magazine). But the big news is the 96K/24bit remasters by ERICK LABSON of Universal – a man who has over 1000 restoration credits to his name including most of the Chess Label. The sound quality here is awesome and adds huge power to the “Stones” and “Moods” albums in particular.

“Cracklin’ Rose”, “Shiloh”, “I Am…I Said”, “Song Sung Blue” – they’re all here. But for me the best is the double-winner of “Stones” backed by the funky “Crunchy Granola Suite” – a genius single from 1972.

“L.A.’s fine…the sun shines most the time…and the feeling’s laid back…”

“Play Me…” is probably more Big D than most can handle – but the good stuff is great – and that audio quality will blow you away… 

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