Neil Diamond has always written great songs and his path in his personal life
has been full of winding, twisting turns and some ‘crashes’ along the way. He
has found ‘the love of his life’ in his present wife, Katie.
The signature CD where every song was written both music and lyrics, along
with whistling, humming and some little da-di-da’s. (They sound so sweet and
sometimes corny, too.)
Since I was not able to get to see Neil Diamond this year, my youngest girl,
Felicia bought, “Melody Road” for me. This is a fun, pop music sounding a
little like, “Song Sung Blue” and “Forever in Blue Jeans.” They may not be
your most favorite songs, but if you would ‘chill’ in a lawn chair, have a cold
lemonade or a glass with condensation dripping off it full of sweet iced tea,
the music would suit you just fine.
While I was up at Mom’s I decided to share this Cd album. We looked at
the ‘liner notes’ and I read what Neil Diamond had to say. This is one of the
best reasons to purchase a Cd, although a gift is even better! The notes are
usually personal references and help to understand where the musician is
coming from who wrote the words or the music. Groups sometimes have each
song broken down to let you know whose imagination they came from.
Neils feels this is compilation of songs, some started years ago and others
recently, may resemble his “musical roots.” He mentioned two inspirations for
his original ‘sound’ and they were the band, “The Weavers” and Woody
This is ‘stripped down’ style of sound production with Neil Diamond’s newest
songs never been heard before this album. There are not very many places
in the songs where music swells or an orchestra creates ‘depth’ or ‘layers’
like his “Coming to America” and other ‘grand’ production songs.
I liked the ‘feel’ of simple ‘bare bones’ sound. Almost like your own private
serenade by Neil Diamond.
Mom used to enjoy my Dad’s swaggering around as he sang, “Cracklin’ Rosie”
and he would stretch his arms out as he sang, “Climb on board.” My Mom’s
name is Rosalie, but he got away with calling her, “Rosie.” I wrote a post about
her childhood battle with fierce eczema and some of the challenges faced by
bullies. She always was beautiful inside and out, but her whole body was filled
with inflammation. Her solace in the ‘fairy tale’ I wrote was to have a King Snake
for a pet.
I am going to insert Mom’s opinions now about Neil Diamond:
~ “I would not kick him out of my bed for eating crackers!”
~ “That famous voice is still sexy!”
~ Later Mom re-emphasized his good looks, since she liked holding the cover
with the song’s titles, while listening to them. As she turned it over again she
“He’s easy on the eyes!”
This album is not so much about ‘rocking out the house’ but taking you down
memory lane, when the times were a little less hectic. I will now list the songs
along with a brief description and my reactions. I will insert “Mom-ism’s,” too.
We used a 5 point ‘grading scale.’
This song is light, full of hope and promises. There are some references to the
path Neil led and how time can still be this way again. I enjoy this more each time
I listen to it. This is how we start to sing along with ones on the radio. First reaction
was not as good as the second, improving the third time. . .
(3 0f 5 points)
This really resonated with me, since it is taking you into your past and how you
need to be brave, take first steps and challenge yourself. I would say this would
be a perfect ‘graduation’ anthem. All of life’s landmarks could be inserted in your
mind as you listen to this pleasant song. Getting a new car, having your first date
or romance and becoming a success. Risking it to go out and seek your dreams.
(4 1/2 of 5 points)
“Seongah and Jimmy”
Neil pronounces this young female’s name, “Sonya.” This girl is from Korea and
her boyfriend is from Long Island. I liked this very much. Two people meet in the
part of New York City called, Brooklyn and learn to adapt to each other’s cultures.
It goes beyond one couple’s love and relationship as the words become deeper
as the song grows bolder and more sweeping in its meaning.
The sound of horns was attributed to Eric Gorfain arranging and performing,
along with a list of eight other horn players. The flutes were performed by Don
Markese and Sara Andon.
The story includes bridging cultures, reaching out and caring. Then, finally how
love could be possible world wide. I like that Neil Diamond says in this song that
“Love happens in Brooklyn
I lived there long ago and nothing’s changed.
Brought flowers, she took them.
They laugh together in the pouring rain.”
“This is like my Mother and Father’s love story. They met on a street corner in
New York City.”
Later she said,
“I like the instrumentals, I can hear a flamenco style music mixed with an Eastern
There is a brassy sound then a flute playing. I wondered about whether the “Long
Island boy” was Italian or Spanish(?)
Here is an example of the lyrics in “Seongah and Jimmy:”
“I hear music in the air,
People dancing in the streets.
Love’s in blossom everywhere,
Even strangers stop to greet.”
This song literally has this fun part where Neil Diamond goes,
“Didn’t de de dit didn’t di di dit
Didn’t di di dit da di di dow
There does come a part of the song where it builds to a crescendo.
(5 of 5 points)
This song Neil Diamond shares in the ‘liner notes’ was started years ago.
This song doesn’t stay ‘blue’ but turns into a happier tune. Meeting the
right person he sings,
“You taught me a little ’bout good times
I fought through a little bit of rain,
You brought me a part of your sunshine,
and took in the heart of my pain.”
Later, Neil sings,
“Goodbye to my little bit of something blue
farewell to my little bit of something blue.”
(4 of 5 points)
“Nothing But a Heartache”
I found this to be dramatic and reminded me of “I Am, I Said,” which is one of
my favorite Neil Diamond songs.
This verse helps to show the depth of his heartache,
“The sharpness of her words deceiving
and I couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
I also could relate to this verse about being on the ‘wrong road,’
“And on that highway going nowhere
was an exit overdue.
And all she had to give was heartache
so she broke my heart in two.
Yes, she did.”
I liked that he had the sharp part in the first part of the song,
then finding someone to take away the heartache in the last
part. This album seems to not want to dwell on the sadness.
Here is the verse where Neil turns direction from heartache into
“You’re the sum of all my heartbeats
You’re the only truth my heart needs
Showed me how to make the journey
I can’t let you walk away.
No, not today.”
Mom said, “This one is exciting and has a good firm beat to it.”
(5 of 5 points)
“In Better Days”
This is a lively song with an upbeat tempo. He is remembering with a softer
feeling about those ‘good old days’ with someone he loved.
I enjoy this phrasing and style of song,
“I remember a time
there wasn’t a dime
between us two.
We lived in a little old place
on the side of a hill
Gave it our best and love did the rest
for me and you.
Too young to lose, too hot to chill.”
This is the last part of the song:
“In better days we had it all
In better days when love was easy
We had it all but I never knew
How much there was between me and you.”
That line is so true:
When love came easy.”
“(Ooo) Do I Wanna Be Yours”
Okay, think the old Beatles days, like when they sang like the kids they
were about, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and how the song grew and got
under your skin. I found myself humming this silly song, despite my not
really loving it.
There are three thoughts of meeting someone in his dreams.
First, there is a meadow.
Second, there is a train station.
Third, there is someone sitting looking out of a window with a
“strange kind of smile.”
This corny line follows,
“I knew that you’d take me where I’d never been to
Was hopin’ you’d ask me to stay awhile.”
(3 1/2 of 5, only because it ‘got under my skin.’)
“Alone at the Ball”
Mom interjected as she was studying this song title, saying why don’t
we think of the men who get stood up more? When Cinderella leaves
the dance (or ball) Prince Charming is left to search for her. She has
left a clue in her glass slipper.”
There is not a direct reference to any fairy tales.
In fact, sad to say, when Neil Diamond ‘sang this song to me,’ while I was
driving north to Cleveland, I thought he was saying, “Alone at the bar.”
He did not enunciate well and I was wondering why he kept repeating he
was alone at the bar!
I like this because it has a jaunty pace and there is a good beat to it,
the words are confusing because he gets a car, Cadillac Eldorado taking
it far up to high Colorado. Then he is talking about taking chances and
“Spend your time making rhyme
Just to find no one dancing at all.
Alone at the ball.
You’re all alone at the ball.”
Sometimes when you listen to music you just need to ‘go with it.’
(3 of 5 points)
This song has a catchy tune and I like it. The words describe meeting someone
who is the opposite of himself. This meaning has been a recurring theme, since it
was in the song, “Nothing But a Heartache.” He cannot resist being in love with
Katie and inserting it into his songs.
Okay, listen to these ‘lovey-dovey’ words:
“Started with a whisper
Pretty soon he kissed her
That’s when that whisper
Turned into a mighty roar.
More than just affection
Made a real connection
That’s when he knew she was what
He was missin’ before.”
Mom said this reminded her of “musical productions where boy meets girl and
they fall in love instantly.”
(3 of 5 points)
“Marry Me Now”
There are some passages where the words tell you that Neil doesn’t believe
in ‘breaking up,’ but they do believe in ‘makin’ up.’
Here is the chorus:
“Marry me now, tell me ‘I do’
Don’t wait around
You know I’m gonna be true.
I’ll give you my life, it’s all that I’ve got,
I love you, believe it or not.”
I found this to be sweet, despite it not being very original. I could not help but
compare in my mind to Magic! who performs, “Rude.” Magic’s song includes
the words, “I’m going to marry that girl” and “Marry her anyway.”
The song, “Marry Me Now” included horns arranged and performed by Eric
(3 1/2 of 5 points)
“The Art of Love”
Mom right away said she thought about Mrs. Robinson teaching the boy who
is graduating, (Dustin Hoffman), how to make love. I looked at her with a big
smile and said, “Wow, Mom! Still thinking about sex, huh?” She didn’t seem to
even blush or be embarrassed about my comment.
I enjoyed the strings’ and found they were arranged and performed by Davide
I liked Neil Diamond’s conclusion of the song,
“I learned that I could stumble
and maybe fall.
I learned in being humble
I’d have it all.
A brand new way to live
That love’s not what you have
but what you give.
And the art of love is
who you share it with.”
Here is the final track, a reprise of “Melody Road:”
“Melody Road we’ll try again
Just like we tried before.
Two of us out there making friends
Instead of making war on Melody Road.”
Melody Road is then repeated 8 times.
I do believe it takes time to figure this out, sometimes longer for some. This
song had a good message and I would consider it worth listening to, but it
was not as ‘catchy’ as the ones we gave higher scores to.
(3 1/2 of 5 points.)
When you look inside the tri-fold album cover, you will find Neil Diamond’s
“I’ll have some tales to tell- –
back from a place where dreamers roam
and back to you as well, from Melody Road.”
The post I included Little Big Town performing a 2008 remake of a song,
“Life in a Northern Town,” includes lyrics “Aw hey, maw maw.” I did confuse
someone who thought I was putting the sound effects of “Elvira,” on that post.
I will correct the sounds.
This was an excellent remake of the British group, “The Dream Academy.”
The Dream Academy put this song out way back in 1985.
Little Big Town joined Sugarland and Jake Owen in a collaborative song
presentation of “Life in a Northern Town.”
I wished to add two quotes from Mom’s friend, Pooky, from California.
They made me smile, hope they help make your day better, too.
“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all
our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their
(Doesn’t this fit the song, “Sunny Disposition” by Neil Diamond?)
This may not ‘crack you up’ but it gave me the urge to,
since it is so absurd!
Did you know this fact?
“Falling coconuts kill about 150 people every year.
That’s more than sharks!”