Neil Diamond – “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” Live
Neil Diamond Sings Soulful Gospel Music
“Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” was released by Neil Diamond in 1969. He wrote it on his way to Memphis as he was riding aboard a plane. It basically talks about an evangelist, Brother Love, who travels to preach. Evangelical groups reacted at first, but Neil explained that the song didn’t insult their movement. Instead, it celebrated gospel music. On top of that, it was all about preaching and worship.
Diamond performed this on The Johnny Cash Show, where he explained: “This song was written about a revival meeting I was at in Jackson, Mississippi. I went there because I was curious, and also because I was a college kid who had all the answers – no one was going to teach me anything and I could lay a few answers on them. I sat in the back of this tent meeting and I got really caught up in the music – clapping, the singing – tremendously exciting. After a while I felt something about the people – there was a tremendous yearning, looking for answers. Trying to ease a very hard burden of very rough lives. After a while the music stopped and a preacher walked out. I remember thinking that all the education I had, all the books, all the words, all the learning I went through at college didn’t mean anything to these people, I had nothing for them. So I found myself pulling for this man who was about to give them something that I couldn’t even begin to give them.”
Unlike his other songs which were mostly introspective and personal, this one was character-driven. And Neil performed it onstage oozing with charisma and emotions. It was something different yet beautiful all the same.
In the liner notes to his boxed set In My Lifetime, Diamond wrote: “This recording became a hit and was to make a showman out of me. How could you not let go of your inhibitions when playing such a wonderful character?” — David Wild
Though not a love song which is what we’re mostly accustomed to hearing from Neil, this is one beautiful classic. The tune, melody and lyrics coupled with Neil’s soulful baritone create an unforgettable track that’s nothing short of perfect. This man can surely evoke lots of emotions with just one song!