What follows is a 2006 review of Bee Gees Studio Albums 1967-68 boxset. This review was published at one of the previous incarnations of Power of Pop.
I love the Bee Gees! They were my number two band after the Beatles when I was a teenager and their songs were frequently sung whenever an acoustic guitar was present. Unfortunately, in this day and age, because of their mega-success in the late 70s with their disco phase, the Bee Gees have a bad rep and have lost almost all credibility with so-called serious rock listeners.
What might be somewhat lost in the remembrance of the Bee Gees’ early years was that they were a legitimate 5-piece rock band with Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb being enhanced by the talents of Vince Melouney (guitar) and Colin Petersen (drums). Certainly, these early albums showcased the Bee Gees as a recording and performing outfit.
So this six disc boxed set collecting the first proper Bee Gees albums (discounting the earlier Aussie releases) is an absolute delight and hopefully should go a long way of restoring the Bee Gees to the status they richly deserve.
Basically covering Bee Gees First and Horizontal (both released in 1967!) and Idea, each album set compiles stereo and mono mixes of the original records and a disc that features singles, outtakes and demos.
Those who recall the Bee Gees as a chart band in the late 60s would not doubt be familiar with such classics as “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “To Love Somebody,” “I Can See Nobody” (off First), “World,” “Massachusetts,” (off Horizontal), “Let There Be Love,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” and “I Started A Joke” (off Idea).
But the real significance behind this box set is the re-discovery of the Bee Gees as the archetype chamber pop, of which modern proponents include Pernice Brothers, Andrew, Cardinal, Divine Comedy etc.
In that respect, songs like “Turn of the Century,” “Cucumber Castle,” “And the Sun Will Shine,” “Really and Sincerely,” “In the Summer of His Years,” “The Singer Sang His Song” and so on, certainly define the genre like not many other similar acts can. One caveat though, why the necessity of including the mono album tracks as well, seems like too much filler to me.
That said, Bee Gees Studio Albums 1967-68 is essential – not only for Bee Gees fans – but for every student of this very special era of pop music.
With the understanding that the entire back catalogue of the Bee Gees will be getting the Rhino box treatment, it looks like it is going to be an exciting couple of years for Bee Gees fans and music lovers everywhere.
… still there’s more …