Classic Album Spotlight::Neil Diamond:Hot August Night

I agree that Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night is the best live album of all time. At this point Hot August Night has been written about by many, but most folks seem to still want to keep Diamond at arms length. However, guilty pleasure or not Neil Diamond has crafted so many of America’s greatest anthems, and who doesn’t want to raise their drink and join in on “Sweet Caroline” just like in the scene from Beautiful Girls. Hot August Night was recorded in 1972 during a sold out ten night stay at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

One of my favorite moments on Hot August Night is in the intro to “Crunchy Granola Suite” when Neil finally breaks in with a series of dat dat de dums and so forths. It all just tickles my soul and then I hear the familiar call of “I know a man who was out of touch…and he’d hide in the house and he didn’t say much,” which reminds me of so many folks I know, and proving that direction can be found in Neil Diamond’s music. I love when the guitar picking comes in on “Morning Side.” His music just has a way of drawing you into a place where you feel an emotional attachment to the characters in the story he is telling. Listen to the impassioned performance of “Cracklin’ Rosie” and know that Neil Diamond means every word he says. Finally, while the UB40 version was fine, Neil’s performance of “Red Red Wine” on Hot August Night is so on fire and full of truth, reminding us that sometimes the hurt doesn’t go away that easily.

You’re so sweet, Horseflies keep hangin’ ’round your face…Kentucky moonshine Could never take your place And your eyes Could give me goose bumps down to my toes

I mean you have to say that Neil Diamond is in a class of his own. Who else has crafted so many great songs for himself and others, but yet still is known more of as an amazing performer? Small company no doubt. Really though nothing I say is even meant to change your mind, but if you want to experience a real treat, throw on Hot August Night and do whatever you do to get you where you want to be, and begin to wonder again.
here are some older performances of Neil’s:
Solitary Man
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