For those of you just tuning in, we’ve been featuring the music of Neil Diamond this week, especially his albums from the early 70s. That’s because we’re getting ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his classic live album, Hot August Night with a day-long tribute here at the record shop.
Since last year’s Santana tribute was such a fun day all around we’ve decided to do the same thing this year – there will be a new coloring contest (this year’s subject is the cover of Diamond’s 1970 Bang Records compilation Shilo), live music by an awesome band, Neil Dynamite and the Heartlights, and food and treats for everyone. This year we hope you’ll stick around after the show because we’re going to show the movie Saving Silverman on a big screen – that’s the 2001 comedy starring Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn and Jack Black which features a cameo by Neil Diamond himself.
More details can be found in Thursday’s post, which introduced our plan with a few selections from Shilo. Yesterday we listened to my favorite Neil Diamond album, Moods (What’s yours?). The fact that I’ve written about Neil Diamond records for three days with plans to do it again next week may suggest we’re running out of ideas here at Hymie’s, but the opposite is true. Sure, there have been more than 800 posts now, but there’s over 100,000 records in the shop at any given time. 100,000 different records. We have only begun to scratch the surface, and we’re not going to stop when we get to things that some people – usually the same sort of guys who wear a fedora with blue jeans – say aren’t “cool enough”. That’s right: expect future posts about Gustav Holst’s non-Planets works, about Genesis’ Invisible Touch and about the Jets. That’s right, the motherfuckin’ Jets. It’s my blog and I’ll post “Land of Confusion” and “Rocket 2 U” whenever I want.
It wouldn’t be right to celebrate the anniversary of Hot August Night without listening to it, so here’s the dramatic opening of the album:
(“Prologue / Crunchy Granola Suite”)
The title of today’s post is a little misleading. Neil Diamond did release an album called Hot August Night II. It was recorded in 1987 and featured a more straightforward program of hits, many of which came long after the original live album of course. Neil Dynamite and the Heartlights model their set lists after this second album, although as superfans their repertoire runs deep into Diamond’s catalog of more than forty albums.
Next week we’re going to feature an interview with Neil Dynamite himself and we can ask about the songs we can expect to hear here at Hymie’s on the 19th. He is currently wrapping up the East Asian leg of his latest world tour and will call us from his hotel room in Tokyo this weekend.
Unfortunately, one of the Heartlights recently bought our last copy of Hot August Nights II, so we won’t be able to post any songs from that album along with our exciting exclusive interview.
(“Solitary Man” / “Cherry, Cherry”)
Besides, we are celebrating the anniversary of the recording of the original album, one of the best live albums of it’s era. Few live albums really capture the performer as well as this one, and as we learned in yesterday’s post that’s in part because Diamond had just recorded two of his best albums. He had recently remarried, and had two children, Jesse and Micah. He was a family man in his early thirties, full of positive energy and eager to pursue each new dream – I can identify with that feeling.
I believe his career was derailed the next year with the soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, even though the music he recorded was well-written and well-received by critics and fans. I think next week we’ll listen to some of the songs from the late 70s and the 80s that Neil Dynamite and the Heartlights are likely to play here on the 19th, so the superfans can weigh in on my theory over the weekend.
I’m also going to bury this post with another about Very Small Animal, the roots-based quartet that will be playing here at the shop tomorrow afternoon and at the Turf Club tomorrow night. They’re a really awesome group likely to hit it big sometime in the future, so check ‘em out.