Album no. 147/1001
The first Australian band on the list! This is actually the Bee Gee’s sixth album (!) but it’s the first one we’ve come across. Let’s get it out of the way: ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is NOT on this record.
Originally conceived as a concept album (about a shipwreck), it ended up being more of a mish-mash of bits and pieces, including a few orchestral instrumental numbers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The opening track is the only one that really followed the original conceit, and it goes for seven and a bit minutes.
This is a really weird album folks.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I’ve never ever heard of this. I don’t recognise a single song.
CL: I’m surprised they did anything before their big hits. I had no idea.
NK: It’s the opener! I didn’t mind ‘Odessa (City on the Black Sea)’. It’s pretty weird and it goes for a fair while. But I quite liked it. A song about a fictional shipwreck is EXACTLY my cup of tea. I quite liked ‘You’ll Never See My Face Again’ as well. They lose marks for the country influence that creeps in on ‘Marley Purt Drive’ and ‘Give Your Best’, and on a few songs I kept waiting for a chorus to kick in. Then there are all the orchestral instrumentals at the end. I didn’t mind those, but I wasn’t sure what they were doing here.
CL: This doesn’t sound anything like their big hits. I’m really disappointed because I actually love disco music. Unlike Ned, a shipwreck is not my cup of tea, so I really didn’t enjoy any part of that song – or any of the others.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: If you like Beatles-lite pop sitting next to pseudo-The Band country, orchestral instrumentals and occasional references to a fictional shipwreck, LOOK NO FURTHER. Yes, it is a niche market.
CL: Yuck. This is what happens when you go into something with expectations and they’re completely blown away, but in the wrong way. In a bad way.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: A lot of weird influences. ‘Marley Purt Drive’ sounds like them trying to do The Band. They’re trying a lot of things, I’ll give them that. The songs aren’t bad exactly, they’re just not that good either. Also it’s really long for how unfocused it is. I wish they really had made a proper concept album entirely about a shipwreck. Alas, I guess you can’t have everything. This is regarded as the Bee Gee’s ‘most significant sixties album’, so take from that what you will. I think it’s a bit of a mess.
CL: There’s another album on this list, which I would have assumed was from their golden period of the mid to late 1970s. WRONG. It’s another weird and obscure title from 1971. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? I suppose the list couldn’t really include movie soundtracks – otherwise SURELY Saturday Night Fever would be on here.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Prooooooooooobably not.
CL: No. I would say I’d be hanging out for their most successful album, but I don’t think it’s on the list. I’ll just have to listen to ‘Night Fever’ and ‘More Than A Woman’ outside of this project.
Listen to Odessa on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.