Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Studio Albums 1967-1968

Posted on Thu, Nov 16, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Studio Albums 1967-1968
Label: Reprise/Rhino
Media: CD
Format: Reissue
WorkNameSort: Studio Albums 1967-1968, The
It's no secret that the pre-disco Bee Gees were formidable purveyors of exquisite chamber-pop. Hits 'I Started a Jokeâ?� and 'New York Mining Disaster 1941â?� still get considerable airplay on oldies stations and stand as paragons of the late-'60s clash between flower power and adult-oriented pop music. But a song like 'Stayin' Alive'â?� can have an irreversible effect on a group's legacy and for most casual music fans, the Bee Gees' elegant and slightly weird pop albums from the late '60s might as well have never been recorded. With this deluxe six-disc reissue of their first three albums, 1967's Bee Gees First and 1968's Horizontal and Idea, it's possible that that will be corrected. It's unfortunate that the high-priced box-set route was chosen, as the prohibitive price tag ($74.98 list) means that few will be introduced to long-lost album cuts such as the epic swell of 'When the Swallows Flyâ?� (on Idea) or the peculiar poppiness of the singular 'Lemons Never Forgetâ?� (on Horizontal). Nonetheless, those who do will be getting their money's worth; three late-'60s albums on six discs means a lot of bonus material. Each album is presented as two discs; the first with stereo and mono versions and the second filled with more than a dozen alternate versions, single-only songs, unreleased cuts and even commercial jingles. While it may seem like archival overload for a 'shallow disco group,â?� the pop mastery of this material more than deserves such treatment.


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