Neil’s Journey

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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

Guthrie.

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

exclaimed,

“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.’

Track One:

“Melody Road”

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)

Track Two:

“First Time”

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)

Track Three:

“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.”

Mom said,
“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

culture.”

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 ditΒ  didn’t di di dit

Didn’t di di ditΒ  da di di dow

Oh yeah.”

There does come a part of the song where it builds to a crescendo.

(5 of 5 points)

Track Four:

“Something Blue”

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)

Track Five:

“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

love story:

“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)

Track Six:

“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.”

Track Seven:

“(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.’)

Track Eight:

“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

music:

“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)

Track Nine:

“Sunny Disposition”

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)

Track Eight:

“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

Gorfain.

(3 1/2 of 5 points)

Track Nine:

“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

Rossi.

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

words:

“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.”Β  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.

Mark Twain:

“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

place.”

(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!”

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About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

38 responses »

    • Yes, when a singer makes a movie, this becomes really special to me, too. Jill, I love the Jazz Singer movie!
      I named my oldest daughter, “Caroline,” so you can guess I love that song (and name, too).

      I have enjoyed an offbeat movie, with Cher, Whoopie and Bon Jovi, but don’t remember its title, at the moment. Then there is Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in their romantic movie. There are moments in the beginning and later on which makes it partly sad, but enjoy the movie with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. called, “Hope Floats.” I now have to look up who and what that fun movie with Bon Jovi where he is a handsome house painter… smiles!

      • Elizabeth Perkins, Whoopi Goldberg, Bon Jovi and Katherine Turner starred in such a sweet movie, “Moonlight and Valentino.” You may have already seen this romantic comedy, but it is one I may go check out…. from the library!

  1. thanks for this trip down music lane, i saw him years ago and it was a fun concert, the audience was really excited and joined in for many of the songs. i love the quotes at the end too.

    • Beth, I still have not seen Neil Diamond in concert. I was not able to round up someone and was willing to pay for my own ticket. My good friend, Jenny, a retired special ed and reading teacher, got on all kinds of radio stations and tv stations trying to ‘win us some tickets!’
      I am so glad the audience sang along, since everyone who loves Neil knows the words to most of his songs. He still has a great voice, seems like he can carry a tune just fine. Mark got to see him this year and heard three of the new songs off Melody Road.
      Always fun to have you along for the ride down Memory or Music lane, Beth! xo

  2. Although I’m not a huge Neil Diamond fan, I was born in NY (Brooklyn in fact) so there is a lot I can relate to here. A friend of mine has a Neil Diamond cover band. They are pretty successful!

    • I appreciate your sharing about your friend having a Neil Diamond cover band. I bet they are very good and can get the place hopping and rocking! I am glad you mentioned where you were born, since sometimes I am pathetic at remembering the “About” page details and you are a new, good friend who I hope to get to know better.

    • Cheryl, my Mom loved your invitation to come to the cook out and really wondered why we couldn’t go! Bless her heart, she is like a big kid sometimes! πŸ™‚
      We had barbecue ribs, baked beans, cole slaw and mashed potatoes. The facility only charged $6.50 so my brothers bought and ate the meal. I was still feasting on Red Lobster flounder, mashed potatoes and nibbled on Mom’s cole slaw since she cannot swallow too well. Her cracked ribs caused the vegas nerve (sp?) to create swallowing problems. She is on thickened liquids for awhile. They just shredded her ribs, made little shakes or blended up into tiny bits her cole slaw and she didn’t like the taste. I didn’t mind the smooth texture since it was still tangy and felt like they had chewed it ‘for me!’ ha ha! Hugs and smiles to you, “Cheffie!”

      • Aw your Mom’s a strong Gal! I wonder if Ensure nutritional drinks would help? That’s difficult not being able to chew!!! Sounds like your brother’s had a wonderful meal and reasonably priced I might add! Good for them. I am still walking extra in the evenings! Hugs and smiles to you and MOM!

      • I had an exercise regimen when I hit my 40’s and had to lose about 40 pounds or else take anti-cholesterol medication. I read the side effects and tried the meat, cheese, cottage cheese and plenty of greens and salads approach. Oh, and milk. I never drank so much milk until that time period. I went down in my cholesterol from 260 to 220 the first year and then kept on going till it got under 200. Then, nibbling on desserts seemed ‘scandalous’ and have been fairly healthy eater since then. . . You can do whatever you set your mind to do, if walking is just to relax, ignore the prior words of encouragement. My Mom when I was heavier, bought me one year a case of Slim Fast. That just made me mad! Smiles!

    • Jo, his dark looks and not really over-masculine appearance is attractive to me, but as he has aged he still looks almost the same. Sometimes, the rockers and wild ones look haggard but he doesn’t. I think it is ‘to each his own’ in what appeals to each of us. My Dad was rather short and thin, with dark hair. I think he looked like Desi Arnaz who some thought was cute and others thought not. Smiles. Mom probably would not know what to do with him if he showed up at her door.

    • It was nice of you to tell me this was cheerful and such fun, isn’t it to think about music?
      I know, who would have guessed what a danger coconuts are?! Smiles!

  3. A lot of people my age have grown to appreciate Neil Diamond, who seemed just a little hokey when we were kids in the 80s–but man could that guy write some songs. Solitary Man is genius, Robin, but he’s got a bucket full of ’em–Cracklin’ Rosie, America, I Am I Said. I know I’m risking my punk rock reputation, but Neil’s the man.

    • Oh, this is so sweet! A true blue punk rocker who still feels, and may I quote you on this? “Neil’s the man!” Woo hoo! I am so happy you find “Solitary Man” to be ‘genius,’ since it is a great song! I know a lot of people enjoy, “Sweet Caroline,” too. Didn’t he sing the song, “Heartlight?” wasn’t that from one of the kids’ movies like “E.T.?” I will now go check this fact and get back to you with a p.s. Meanwhile, hugs and more hugs to you! πŸ™‚

      • It was written in 1982, all three people who wrote the song were ‘inspired’ by seeing the movie, “E.T.” but it was not part of the movie. Just love that he liked the kids’ movie and also, the other two creators of the song, lyrics and music. Take it easy, enjoy the rest of the week!

  4. Memory lane alright. I can remember his tunes and my mom singing them, my friends singing them, I think everyone I knew singing them. There is nothing wrong with loving Neil!!!!!!! (And I love the first comment about the misheard lyric! πŸ˜‰ )

    • It sure was funny, that Anneli heard this famous lyric another totally different way. I kind of like it,. just a little bit wacky.
      I am glad you are all about Neil, Colleen!! Yeah, for your parents and siblings listening, too! πŸ™‚

  5. I remember the televised Kennedy Center Honors show when they recognized Neil Diamond for his music. The finale for his award was the entire audience singing Sweet Caroline led by Smokey Robinson. It seemed fitting also because Caroline Kennedy was the MC for the tribute show.

    I love your mom’s comments. Thanks for including those. She must still have a twinkle in her eye when she comes up with a classic line like, ‘I wouldn’t throw him out of bed for eating crackers.’ That cracked me up.

    Beware of falling coconuts…that is a gem worth keeping, too. – Mike

    • I am finding this to be a fun post, not as many Neil fans but the devoted ones arrived! πŸ™‚
      I also find my Mom’s comments to the ones at her table in the skilled nursing and her therapists to be as outrageous as this. I could write a post about her little talk about sex with two ladies. ha ha!

      • I forgot to mention, Mike that this was so nice of you to mention Neil Diamond’s evening with the Kennedy Honors and having Caroline Kennedy there must have been special, too. I think I missed this one but probably could find it someday on Youtube. I used up all the precious megabytes on my phone for a month in a WEEK! Yikes! I have to be more careful with leaving tabs open and the foreign language posts say “Never ask me to translate.” This Chrome engine took up all the space, not wordpress or texts or pictures I sent from my new phone. . . Gotta get smarter and more ‘savvy,’ Mike! I have the mobile data turned off, but it was so nice to blog at home. . . smiles!

  6. Enjoyed my tour down that musical road, great Singer with iconic songs and lyrics.
    Your Mothers evaluations are spot on, one other thing I have learnt today, is that it is not The Reverend Blue Jeans, thanks to one of your followers.

    • This made me laugh! You are so sweet about my Mom and then, you cracked me up with your lyrics revelation about the song. Neil Diamond is a great singer and so glad you agree!
      I was going to say, “Raunchy like a hurricane” still comes out in that song which passage goes, “Rock me like a hurricane.” Funny how we hear different things. Did you have another song which you didn’t know the correct words to? Take care!

    • Oh my! I bet you wondered where your comment went to. I am bad at checking pending approval comments. Partly due to thousands of emails stuffing my email account 😦
      I don’t know why wordpress accounts are not automatically approved?
      Anyway, I will hope this doesn’t happen again! Glad you like our Neil Diamond and hope no coconuts fall upon your head. Happy days in paradise, my friend.

  7. I was a fan or Neil Diamond when he released Cherry Cherry and I have enjoyed following him throughout his career. My wife also likes him very much. In fact, I took her to one of his concerts when we were dating. Lots to digest here. People die from coconuts? Who knew?

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