Monday, December 29, 2014

Somethin' A Little Different...

The few and far between purveyors of this blog will probably be blindsided by the fact that I am actually a massive Bee Gees fan. Tucked in between Beck and Begging For Incest are two dozen CDs of my favorite UK-via-Queensland pop trio. I thought I'd upload two hidden treasures in their extensive discography, completely overshadowed today by the billion-selling disco era LPs which forever defined the band from the late 70's on. 1968's Idea is a somewhat psychedelic offering which finds the Gibb brothers still searching for their own sound. Some tracks sound exactly like the Beatles (to such an extent my girlfriend asked if they actually were unreleased Fab Four tracks) while others venture into Jefferson Airplane/Mamas & The Papas territory. At the end of the day though, the songs that stand out are clearly Bee Gees songs. Some readers may recognize "I Started A Joke" from Faith No More's excellent Who Cares A Lot? version - while "I've Gotta Get A Message To You" is pure Bee Gees with an epic harmony chorus straight out of their later years together. "When The Swallows Fly" and the title track are also stand outs. Which brings me to 1974's Mr. Natural. Another quirky album cover aside (the Bee Gees were the undisputed champions of awful cover concepts) - get past the sappy opener "Charade" and you will be in proto-disco heaven. Backed by the producer (Arif Mardin) and back-up band that would help jettison them into worldwide fame a few years later with Saturday Night Fever (among other LPs), the Bee Gees locked down their unique mix of funk, blues and pop with this album. Ranging from delicate ballads ("Voices" and "I Can't Let You Go") to funky R&B ("Throw A Penny" and "Mr. Natural") to dance floor classics crying for a strobe light ("Down The Road" and "Heavy Breathing") it's a great party record will easily embed itself in your annoying I-can't-stop-humming-these-songs repertoire. Shit, who am I kidding, I fucking love almost every album these guys made but these two records top 'em all. Enjoy.

1968                                                                     1974

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