Touching Me, Touching You 

On Saturday, July 31st, Memphis Redbirds fans will be treated to a pre-fireworks show by Theron Denson, the world's only African-American Neil Diamond impersonator. Here's what the man who calls himself "The Black Diamond" has to say about his unusual career and being Neil.

Memphis Flyer: When did you know you wanted to be Neil Diamond?

Theron Denson: It's been an interesting journey becoming the Black Diamond. It started when I was very young and the only black kid in an all-white church. Whenever I would sing one of the hymns, the women in the church would ask me, "Do you know that you sound just like Neil Diamond?" I didn't know it, but all of the Caucasian women sure did.

Is that what turned on your heartlight? Did you know right away you were destined to be the Black Diamond?

I probably didn't know that until five years later when I was a teenager and decided to finally buy a Neil Diamond record and find out who this cat was. I bought The Jazz Singer. It wouldn't become a show until years later, but I had lots of fun.

Was your growing fascination with Neil Diamond the sort of thing you could share with your friends, or did it make you a solitary man?

Oh, I shared from day one. ... Neil Diamond's music is incredible. He has his finger on the pulse of the human psyche.

The Black Diamond performs after the Memphis Redbirds game, Saturday, July 31st. The game starts at 6:05 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $18.

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