Children of the world (1976)
also dug this album very much. This album... Like 'Spirits'... flows very
well. I especially love the cover to album. Like I said in a recent
review, I love obscure songs...so no doubt I have a few on the album as
the my top 5 songs from this album of 10 they include...'You stepped into
my life', 'Lovers', 'Love me', 'Subway' and 'The way it was'.
I must have listened to this cd, like 'Main couse',
and 'Spirits'....at least 50 times or more...no wonder....the 70's is my
favorite Gibb period....of course I am only 24, but I live for the Gibbs
like it's still the 70's!
Like this record almost as much as I dug Main Course.
I like the guitar in "You Should Be Dancing", and the tone of "Boogie
Child". Now remember, this was just a year before the Fever, so nobody was
really calling it "disco". At that time, disco was short for night club or
discotech. "Subway" was great, but I'm not sure about "Love Me" or
"The Way It Was". A little sappy for me, but as for rest, I think it's a cool
album. By the way, if you hear "You Should Be Dancing" on the radio, then damn
it, you get up and dance. Even you can't just fake it. I can't really either.
- Review by Alan W. Elam- 11/18/01
Let us step into the venerable canon of distinguished works of the
DYNO-MITE, super-talented, and commercially innovative conglomerate known as the
Magnificent Brothers Gibb: Barry, Robin and Maurice. In this case, their snappy funky and
uber-punchy 1976 gem, Children of the World.
But before we arrive at that point, perhaps anyone even remotely up on their Bee Gees
History already knows by now the complete story of their early performing history.
However, for the uninitiated, let's begin (this may get a little long winded, so stick
with me here): starting with those all-important matinee performances at local movie
theaters when they were grade-schoolers in the mid-to-late fifties, continuing with the
family's move to Australia, and their ensuing rise to national fame as thee TV and
supper-club act to catch despite being signed, for three years (1963-66), to the tiny
Festival records label, yielding a string of no fewer 11 flop singles! -and finally
scoring an Australian number 1 with "Spicks and Specks", their 12th and final
single on Festival; their fateful move back home to England at the beginning of 1967,
(figuring they had reached the pinnacle of Aussie fame) and with nothing to lose, settled
in London with all of 500 pounds to their name.
In no time at all, they auditioned for a budding impresario named Robert Stigwood and
immediately won him over, landing both a management and recording deal within the same
sleight of hand! as for what followed: the essential worldwide debut album, which-along
with it's 3 singles, made these young fellas (17 and 21 at the time)nothing short of an
overnite sensation! next to follow were concert tours, three more hit albums, twice as
many hit singles, instant celeb status, accompanied by the trials and tribulations of
early fame, culminating in overwhelming excesses, ego-driven band infighting, and the
ensuing breakup of the Bee Gees early in 1969; the joyous reunion 18 months later which
resulted in two more classic slabs of vinyl (2 Years On & Trafalgar),
each spawning the brothers' first pair of no. 1 singles ANYWHERE in the world
("Lonely Days" & "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart").
But by 1973, due to changing trends in music, their popularity was on the skids,
relegating these still young men (in their early & late 20's)to the oldies act circuit
before their time. But a hookup with Atlantic Records staff R&B producer Arif Mardin
late in the year marked the glimmer of hope that, with a new musical direction, they might
be able to reclaim their original status. The result was Mr. Natural(1974)
, a gorgeous gem of an album which , with a couple of exceptions, still contained
many elements of their standard pre-disco sound, but with a harder edge and maturing
outlook. Nonetheless, the LP sank like a rock and thus remains their most obscure album to
date. However, with the release of the even better followup, 1975's Main Course,
the first of many drastic changes in their fortunes, for the better, would take shape. The
album itself yielded an even broader change in direction, with most of the tracks smacking
of deliciously danceable, oh-so excitable, synth driven funk/R&B grooves, (as well as
the introduction of Barry's trademark falsettoing style) Mardin once again in the
producer's chair. A No.1 ("Jive Talkin'") and two top tens ("Nights On
Broadway" and "Fanny (Be Tender With My Love").
Yes, indeed, our Gibb Boyz were back on top in every fathomable sense of the term. With
the banner Year of 1975 behind them, these Uber-victorious Comeback Kids headed back into
the Miami Studio which saw the birth of the previous album(their first recorded entirely
in the states, no less). Unfortunately, due to contractual complications stemming from a
change in distribution for their label, RSO, Arif Mardin would be unable to produce this
one (much to the brothers' disappointment). Instead, with full encouragement from Mardin,
and the able assistance of production partners Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson, the
brothers more-or-less produced themselves for Children Of The World.
Released late in the Bicentennial summer of '76, this album, even moreso than its
predecessor, found the brothers gettin' even deeper into tha' white boy funk, as clearly
evident on tracks like "You Should Be Dancing" (Children's opener), the
buoyant , Earth Wind and Fire-esque "Lovers", "Can't Keep A Good Man
Down" and "Boogie Child".
Even their balladry was now bearing all the hallmarks of their newly minted quasi-R&B
direction, as they have, to all intents and purposes, nailed the coffin shut on their old
syrupy approach to slow songs for good (whereas it was still pretty much evident on some
of Main Course): worth mentioning in that sense, would be "The Way It
Was", "Love Me" and "Love So Right", the latter of which is
anchored by Barry's trademark, open-tuned acoustic rhythm, a deliciously ironic but
tantalizing ingredient in their new sound.
My particular fave, though, is the lifting title cut, opening-and closing- acapella with
the brothers' immediately identifiable harmonies at the fore; all the stops are pulled out
for this fitting album closer: multi-tracked, falsettoing Barrys, bouncy synths, etc. Most
intriguingly, the production is tighter, snappier and more inventive than ever it had been
before on a bee gees album (especially the way fat drum sound and synth patches), but all
technical jargon aside, every one of the 10 tracks on Children are exceptionally
good-not even the remotest shade of mediocrity to be sniffed out amongst them.
As a result, no less than 4 singles were pulled from the album, two of them immediate top
10 successes ("Dancing" and "Love So Right"), and as another first in
their then 20-year career (despite the twins not yet even being 30), Children Of The
World became not only their first U.S. no.1 album, but also their first EVER PLATINUM
album anywhere in the world! in spite of these achievements, and the possible belief that
it couldn't get any better than this for the Bee Gees, little did they know what awaited
them the next year with a fateful request from their manager to score a small, low budget
film (starring one of TV's leading heartthrobs of the day, John Travolta), as their star
would continue to rise even higher than it had the decade before, making them, by the end
of the '70's, the Biggest act in the world. Suffice to say, contrary to popular
history, THIS album (as well as its predecessor) is where it all REALLY began -Alan
W. Elam- 11/18/01