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****Excellent***Good**Fair*Poor : COMPACT DISCS

December 29, 1987|PAUL GREIN | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"Hot August Night II." Neil Diamond. Columbia. Diamond recorded this album in 1986 at the Greek Theatre, the site of his '70s live collections "Hot August Night" and "Love at the Greek." Half of the selections are oldies that were featured on those albums, the other half are his hits of the late '70s and early '80s. Several of the newer songs--including the graceful "September Morn" and the exhilarating "America"--rank with Diamond's best. But many selections are marred by the vocalist's overly intense performances. He's so overwrought on his late-'60s hit "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show" that he makes the song--one of his best--all but unlistenable. Just as actors have to be careful not to overact, singers have to watch that they don't oversing. For compulsive Diamond collectors only. **

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