Mr Natural (1974)

  • Marty Hogan's Review

    Mr. Natural only reached #198 on the Billboard charts and comprises a significant transition period for the Bee Gees. With the help of veteran producer Arif Mardin, the Gibbs put together a smattering of different styled songs, ranging from rock to R&B to ballads. Their album before (A Kick In The Head...) was not released and the album afterwards (Main Course) skyrocketed up the charts with a #1 single and started the Bee Gees on the present course they enjoy now. 

    Although none of the singles (Throw A Penny, Mr. Natural and Charade) made much of an impact, it still is a "which style do we go with guys?" album. However, it is one of the most diverse albums of the Bee Gees career. Oddly, the stations seemed to play "Dogs" now and then, even though it was not released as a single. "Give A Hand, Take A Hand" was an older song from 1969 that the Gibbs rerecorded after The Staple Singers did well with it. 

    The song styles waver through soft, sensual ballads like "Charade" and then jump into a strange, heavily transitioned song "Throw A Penny" into a fast rock number called "Down The Road", which was a staple in their concerts. "Mr. Natural " comes closest to a true R&B song, but seems forced. "Lost In Your Love" is a trademark Bee Gees tear-jerker and "Voices" really takes advantage of Robin's great vocals. "Heavy Breathing" is a simple, but rocking song, but is then followed by an obligatory tear-jerking ballad "Had A Lot Of Love Last Night". What a variety! It's clear that the Gibbs maintained a grip on their older style while diving into a new style that would make the public give it a good, hard listen. Should you buy it? (as if you don't have 5 copies already). Yes, there are many memorable tracks. On this album you can really feel the 'hunger' the Gibbs had!

 

  • Barry Kim's Review  

    This is a good album...Arif Mardin did a great job on this one. The album before the comeback album 'Main Course'... it gave way to the soul side of the brothers Gibb.

    'Charade', Throw a penny', 'Dogs', and of course... 'Mr Natural'.... makes for a great listening pleasure. I give it 4 stars.

 

  •   Robbie's Review

    Although Mr. Natural was not a hit, it was an important step in The Bee Gees evolving. After so many years of being British pop balladeers, it was time for a change. There's not a track on this album I don't like. From "Charade" down "I Had A Lot Of Love Last Night", this is just a good record. I wish this album was a bigger hit, it was good. Too bad A Kick In The Head Is Worth Eight In The Pants, I bet it would have been good.

    --Robbie

  • A Gem - By Henar

    Mr. Natural was the first album the Bee Gees recorded in the USA with the producer Arif Mardin. It's a transition album in which they tried different paths, though still with the piano and strings dominating their sound. It's one of their least known works, and though for many it lacks the strength of Main Course, it's an album full of little gems. It will surprise you if you give it a chance. I can only say that it's my favourite Bee Gees album.

    The opening song is Charade, a slow tempo song with both Barry and Robin singing lead. I liked it a lot the first time I played this album, but when I listened to the second track, Throw A Penny, forgot a bit about Charade. What a great song! Again both Barry and Robin are on the lead. The song could be defined as a ballad, but very different from their ballads from previous albums. It shows a strength lacking in other slow songs of theirs. I only skip that bridge that goes "Listen to the wise man as he breathes..."

    And wanna listen to the Bee Gees rock'n'rolling? Then listen to Down The Road. Love this track too, and the live rendition they made of it in the 1976 tour is even better than the studio version. One more proof that the Bee Gees were moving on a different direction. I don't mean that their previous albums were not good, they were just less varied.

    Voices is a folk ballad, well, Robin's part sounds folk and Barry's pop. Another wonderful song, the only problem with it is that it's a bit too long and kinda repetitive. Another track I love anyway.

    Next comes Give A Hand, Take A Hand, a country-like ballad with Barry singing lead. My favourite part is the chorus and those wonderful harmonies. The lyrics are really nice.

    And what can I say about Dogs? Do I repeat myself if I say that I love this track too? I never get tired of listening to this song, especially the verse that goes "Are you following me / Just like Moses to the sea? / Do you think I'll give you freedom in the end?"

    The title track, Mr Natural, is another favourite of mine. It's about a lost love. The combination of their voices is perfect and so is the construction of the song. Haven't you listened to it yet? What are you waiting for?!

    Lost In Your Love is the next track. Again a ballad with a country-like sound. Not my favourite, though this doesn't mean I don't like the song, cause I do. It's only that this album contains some songs that I like very very much. I never skip any song when I play Mr Natural, though some songs get replayed before moving on to the next one and some don't, that's all.

    I Can't Let you Go is another track that gets replayed. I wouldn't know how to define this song. Mid tempo; love its melody, its chorus, Barry's voice on it, everything!

    Do you want another instance of the Bee Gees doing rock? Then Heavy Breathing is your song. Love it too, yeah! Listen to the "Hey, I'm so, so tired, so, so tired / And I don't know where I'm gonna start" part and tell me if you don't love this song too.

    The last track has nothing to do with Heavy Breathing. Had A Lot Of Love Last Night is the slowest song on this album. What a great intro! I never liked the rest of the song too much, but now is one of my fave tracks.

    I can't think of any other album by the Bee Gees or by any other band where I like every song on it. That's why I always say this is my favourite album. And from a vocal point of view it's the Bee Gees best album ever. The falsetto was already present, but just as backing vocals, perfect!

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