It’s about two years since squabbles among the Bee Gees ended up in
the break up of the Brothers Gibb. Now that they’re together again they’ve
commemorated the event with a new Polydor album, “2 Years On”.
Much of their work remains unchanged in the sense that it’s still
distinctively ‘Bee Gees’ – those hoarse melancholic voices; the
sweeping strings – but the melodies are also possibly more evocative
than before. There are 12 tracks and like the Bee Gees or not, I would
happily take money on at least half of them being covered by important
artists within a reasonable span of time.
I listened to the album in the company of the group a few days ago, and
here are their track by track comments:
2 YEARS ON:
Maurice: This is a song Robin got together himself. It’s
a kind of mass of ideas on which we did the backtrack a while ago,
although he changed the lyrics in the studio.
Robin: It just happened to be a number we all felt we could work with.
We are perfectionists in the recording studios. The studio is our battle
ground. Our music is the scene of the unreal. In years to come, we want
people to say that was made unreal music real music.
PORTRAIT OF LOUISE:
Barry: I wrote this one. It’s simply a song about
love, but the title doesn’t come into the words at all. The idea of the
words is that if you fall in love with a woman, you’re not interested in
what she’s been. Musically it’s a slight tribute to the Searchers, not
a take off, just a tribute. They had some beautiful sounds.
MAN FOR ALL SEASONS:
Robin: This is the ‘B’ side of our new single.
I sing and Maurice plays the piano and the bass and Barry plays acoustic
rhythm. It was done at the same session as “Lonely Days”. It was a
marvellous film title and we thought it strange that no one had ever
written a song to fit.
Robin: This song includes harpsichord, and is my
tribute to my late father in law George, who was 60 when he died
unexpectedly a while ago. He spent the last three days of his life in my
house, and he told me he was going to die.
Barry: We wrote this one at the time of the hijacks and it’s
all about that particular time. We more or less did it in the studio
THE FIRST MISTAKE I MADE:
Barry: This is one I wrote and sung. It
features a hook a lot of people play on, but it’s a natural commercial
hook. It’s the story of somebody who’s gone through life and never
knew his mother and father ... and how everything he did in his life was
the first mistake he made.
After LONELY DAYS their current single comes ALONE AGAIN:
wrote this and Maurice plays piano, bass and lead guitar. We did this at
the same session as “Portrait Of Louise”. It was mixed in America. The
facilities are no different over there as far as we’re concerned, except
for maybe echo.
TELL ME WHY:
Barry: I wrote this with Ray Charles in mind. It was
written just before a session – with the lights down.
LAY IT ON ME:
Maurice: This is a Maurice Gibb solo, backing and all. It’s
sort of swamp soul, I recorded it at ten in the morning. I love the whole
feel of it.
EVERY SECOND EVERY MINUTE:
Barry: This is another one of mine a more
aggressive, roll on thing than some of the others I did. It was written
for a film called “Melody” but replaced by something else. I think it
kind of builds.
Robin: This is a song of mine I wrote on holiday in
Madeira and as normal in my songs (I stick to a rule book!) I don’t
mention the title I was thinking about my past.
Barry’s are the sensitive Portrait Of Louise, a mid-tempo number with
a beautiful hook; his gently flowing Tell Me Why and the easy country
lilter First Mistake I Made.
Maurice scores with the tremendous swamp number Lay It On Me and Robin’s
is at his haunting best on the echoing I’m Weeping.