"Most of the songs were recorded with Neil playing and singing at the same time," said Rick Rubin in a Rolling Stone article (9/22/05) profiling the producer, "and it's a different animal. It's taking him back to being more of a singer-songwriter. He really blows me away."
When it came time to record 12 Songs, Rick Rubin assembled a sympathetic ensemble of musicians to capture the essence of Neil Diamond's extraordinary new songs, each of them a finely-wrought gem, soul-searching, honest, yearning, and powerful.
A core group of musicians made up of Mike Campbell (guitar) and Benmont Tench (piano/organ) from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and guitarist Smokey Hormel (Beck, Tom Waits) and other musicians including the renowned Larry Knechtel (piano) and Billy Preston (organ) played on the album.
The track listing for 12 Songs is: "Oh Mary," "Hell Yeah," "Captain of a Shipwreck," "Evermore," "Save Me A Saturday Night," "Delirious Love," "I'm On To You," "What's It Gonna Be," "Man of God," "Create Me," "Face Me," and "We." A special digipak edition of 12 Songs features two bonus tracks: "Men Are So Easy" and an alternate version of "Delirious Love" with guest artist Brian Wilson.
" .judging by eight finished tracks," wrote Lorraine Ali, previewing 12 Songs for Newsweek (August 1, 2005), "this is the best work Diamond has done in 30 years."