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From its heavily thrummed acoustic intro and unintelligible echo-ridden opening verse to the massed harps and a storyline that alludes to lost love and candlelit Victoriana, it seems Robin is unsure of what he wants to say, yet knows exactly how to say it: loudly and tearfully.
You get the feeling he wished he'd been born 50 years earlier. Both songs are ambitious, then, but you can understand the younger brother's pique.
Rubbing salt into Robin's wounds, the title track had been given a catalogue number but was withdrawn in favor of "First of May".
This would have been a brave and extraordinary single, the kind-- like "Good Vibrations" or "Left to My Own Devices"-- that can prove almost impossible to follow. Over nearly eight minutes, it takes the form of a letter written by a shipwrecked sailor to his sweetheart, and careers between surreal music-hall observations "You love the vicar more than words can say" , Flamenco flourishes, and the most dolorous, vast chords; on the final chorus Robin Gibb is reduced to a wordless wail that sounds rather a lot like the baring of his soul.
It seems cheap to claim a single album would have doubled Odessa 's strength, but nevertheless there are a clutch of weaker tracks, some of which include lyrics that sound tetchy and petulant "You'll Never See My Face Again", the draggy "I Laugh in Your Face" when you know the familial back story.
None of them is "How Do You Sleep? Still, you'd miss Barry's straighter pop cuts the sunny "Melody Fair", a No. It goes without saying, perhaps, that this is a pretty specialized affair even by the standards of deluxe editions, especially as Odessa is not exactly considered a core classic late-'60s rock album by mainstream audiences. It has its merits, however, and even though ownership of both the stereo and mono CDs might not be considered essential by the average Bee Gees fan, fanatics will appreciate having both of them side by side especially as the mono mixes were made available in the U.
The real interest, of course, lies in the abundant previously unreleased material. Mostly they tend to confirm the Bee Gees ' judgment as to what takes and arrangements were used on the final LP, with some obviously hesitant performances and a few songs lacking final lyrical polish. But there are some notable interesting differences in the batch, like the "You'll Never See My Face Again" minus orchestration; an early version of "Edison" with different lyrics, at that point titled "Barbara Came to Stay"; a much sparser, fairly rudimentary demo of "Melody Fair," one of the best and most famous songs on the album; "Never Say Never Again" with an up front heavy fuzz guitar that was erased from the finished master; a demo of "First of May" with nothing more than piano backing; and, perhaps most unexpectedly of all, a version of "With All Nations International Anthem " with lyrics, although the one on the official LP ended up being instrumental.
As for the two songs with no counterparts on the actual Odessa album, "Nobody's Someone" is a characteristically pleasantly sad, rather sorrowful if rather lightweight Bee Gees original that was covered almost 30 years later by a virtually unknown artist named Andrew no last name ; "Pity" is a more upbeat midtempo piano-dominated number, but with a skeletal arrangement obviously in need of completion.
Thorough liner notes explain the origination of the tracks and the differences between the official and previously unreleased versions. It is a release, however, that will be somewhat limited in appeal to the general pop and rock audience, who might not have the patience to sort through all the multiple versions.
Porque Brigamos? (I Am ... I Said) - Various - Especial Para Juke Box (Vinyl), A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Original Mix) - Question Mark (11) - A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Vinyl), Askeri Djava - "Veseli Romi" - Mileta I Zorana* I Vokalni Solista Boban Bajramović - Duj A, Turn Around, Soul-Man - Eligh - Gas Dream (Vinyl, LP, Album), I Used To Be - Pepa Nos - Ecce Homo (CDr, Album), Mazurka Marieta - Santiago Navascués - Brillante Gitarrenmusik Virtuos Gespielt (Vinyl, LP), I Requiem - Orquesta Solistas De Venezuela, United Nation´s Choir - Requiem - In Memoriam Patris Pat, Crucify - Yngwie J. Malmsteens Rising Force - War To End All Wars (Cassette, Album), Come The Meantimes - Elvis Costello And The Roots - Wise Up Ghost (And Other Songs 2013) (CD, Album), All Together Now - The Beatles - Yellow Submarine (CD, Album)