Friday, October 27, 2006

Bee Gees box set - great Idea

According to the Official Encyclopaedia of Rock, the Bee Gees invented disco, beards, boybands and high-voiced harmonies. Maurice even married Lulu, a role that primed her 35 years later for a night or two of cross-generational boyband rumpo with Howard Donald (or was it Jason Orange? Ask Lulu. She might remember).

What this official story overlooks, of course, is the first three albums The Bee Gees made in 1967-8 when they arrived back in England from Australia. These three albums, First, Horizontal and Idea, have been given the deluxe reissue treatment. If you have the spare £42 that the boxset is retailing at, grab them now. Otherwise, pick up the originals in your local second hand shop when you see them.

The best - and one of the best albums of the 60s - for my money is Idea. In an album high on drama, laden with atmospherics and wrapped in a quilt of soaring strings and stirring pop-psych guitars, there can be no greater chutzpah than starting off with the biblical "Let There Be Love" and finishing with the portentous "Swan Song". In 1968, The Bee Gees knew no bounds to their ambition, and this remarkable work is the pinnacle of an outstanding trio of releases.

If you're unfamiliar with the album, you may recall Another Sunny Day's reading of "Kilburn Towers" or The Lucksmiths' more recent working of "I Started A Joke". Fine versions both; but if you like those, you will really love Idea.

PS If anyone from the record company stumbles across this, yes, I will have a promo; or if anyone with shitloads of money is reading, yes, I will gratefully accept a present.

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