Neil Diamond - Serenade - Columbia 1974

Serenade - front cover

front cover

Serenade - rear cover

rear cover

Review

Music - 4 stars

Sometimes a change of address can do wonders for an athlete or a musical artist. Diamond has written all the material, and it has real energy. There isn't a bad track here and some, The Gift of Song; Reggae Strut; and I've been this way before; are quite good. Diamond has his own band and you can actually hear the players and instruments. Longfellow Serenade is the hit and it's one of his best songs. There is an orchestra used on the album, but it functions as an accent rather than an A-Bomb. Diamond's ballads thankfully avoid the trap of middle-of-the-road schmalz. All of the aforementioned, and the clear production make Serenade a very agreeable and attractive pop record with Neil Diamond sounding nicely ascendant.

Note: Neil Diamond brought over long time producer Tom Cotaldo for Serenade and Cotaldo avoided engaging in his worst tendencies {blaring horns, and monster strings]. I'd like to hear Diamond cut an album with a different producer. Neil Diamond certainly has the talent to stretch out in some different directions.
The guys at Vinyl History.