Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Drinking With a Diamond

Well. If you happened, for whatever reason, to be downtown Chicago on Friday morning and spotted an astonishingly beautiful woman in a weddin' dress followed by a rather shlumpy, shaggy headed fella looking extremely uncomfortable in a suit, heading toward the county court house, that'd probably have been me and the Missus. Yup, Missus. The Mountain done done it. Shackles and chains, 'n' all dat (and sorry to my legions of adoring female fans). Don't worry if you weren't invited, we didn't even bring the cat. It was a beautiful three minute ceremony, followed by an excruciating train trip to a destination to be referred to in a future post.

And so.

I really don't understand the hatred that folks have for Neil Diamond. I mean, I get that the man can venture into cheese at the drop of a hat, and that damn song about coming to America is a bit much, but every artist has their low point (even Tom Waits got talked into duetting with Bette Midler...would've liked to have heard that conversation). Ummm...ok, there's that Jonathan Livingston Seagull thing too. Alright, so Diamond asks for some of the scorn he gets. And then there's the contingent who loooove Neil, in an ironic hipster fashion. Neil Diamond on a trucker hat or something. Ah, the kids just keepin' it real.

But see, I'm a fan cuz the man is one of the best damn songwriters you've ever heard. Really. It's all well and good and modern to write wordy, tuneless manifestos on the plight of the downtrodden, or Raymond Carveresque slices of daily tedium, but does it make you want to sing along? Can the magazine cover band of choice make an entire bar full of cliques and clans stop what they're doing and sing along? No? Neil Diamond can. I've seen it, and not just in the movies. I don't even have to scrawl out the obscenely large list of songs by Diamond that have become part of our musical backdrop. You already know all the songs. Whether you're snickering or lustily agreeing. And the man, live, puts on a fucking show. You get what you pay for, even if the bloomers thrown up onstage are a little larger than they were 30 years ago. Sweat and sweet sweet Caroline.

So what the hell does Neil Diamond have to do with what we normally listen to here at the 'Mountain. Twofold: an infrequent series of posts about musicians that you may or may not be surprised that we like, and a farewell to one of my favorite songs. Maybe one of Diamond's most haunting tunes. Johnny Cash, who knows a bit about songwriting was fond of the song, too, though his take carries a different level of sadness.

Neil Diamond: Solitary Man (mp3)

Johnny Cash: Solitary Man (mp3)

Support your local Justice of the Peace.


Fire of lovE said...

Welcome to the Club !!!

C. said...

Congrats, man.

ang said...

congratu-freakin-lations, bkr. I sincerely hope that, even if that cd I "won" on the mountain never makes it to me, that you'll at least grace your far-flung friends with a photo of you and your bride. I'm thrilled for you, and can't wait to bring Katie to visit.

Buh said...

Not there yet, but soon enough, and best wishes to you. Never have written before but really dig your writings. And I'm feelin this post; Diamond's super cheesy but is such a badass writer. He's got so many songs that are ingrained in our minds, whether by him or many others. I want to thank Rick Rubin for that whole series; there are some absolutely deep cuts on those albums of what had been rather unpectacular songs. Great post and thanks again.

countrygrrl said...

iadeed he is a fab fact i got into him when my mum bought cracklin rose on a 45 rpm and we played it inside thanks for rekindling the memories..

guapo said...

great news. hey and Neil Diamond has always been cool with me. even if he is my mum`s favorite singer!

Reverend Frost said...

Mr Big Rock's Corpse Bride?
Congrats mate !

Anonymous said...

The Last Waltz convinced me that if Dylan would've gone to Tin Pan Alley instead of Greenwich Village, he wouldv'e been Neil Diamond. Big props!

Winston said...

Congrats man. I've been a long-time reader, but never offered a comment before. I've heard that Rick Rubin is supposed to be producing a new Neil Diamond album. I'm hoping for more of the magic that he and Cash worked.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mr. Big Rock.

Did you make a mix cd for the big day? If not, what songs would you put on a wedding mix?

John (from Milw)

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