I was surprised to find the Bee Gees on this list. Not for the reason you may think. I think they are great. I really like the Bee Gees. This is not the disco playing Bee Gees of the mid-to-late 70s. This is the baroque pop band which has more than the three Gibb brothers.
First off, they are undeniably talented songwriters. Their songs were some of the most covered songs during the 70s. They wrote for so many other artists. Secondly, the Brothers Gibb have perfectly matched vocals for the best harmonies in the world. I have never heard the album Odessa until now. I know some of their singles from the 60s, but most of my knowledge of them comes from the 70s.
This album is interesting in that they had originally tried to do a concept album about a lost fictional ship. Unfortunately, they were not getting on well and things went astray. It was so bad that Robin Gibb left the band and went solo, but returned a year later.
The title track “Odessa (City on the Black Sea)” is an epic song over 7 minutes about the lone survivor of the ship Veronica. It was to be the lead single, but as I mentioned everything went wrong with this album, except the music.
“You’ll Never See My Face Again” is from Barry Gibb who is the only one still alive of the Gibb Brothers. His voice has always been the most recognisable voice of the brothers and in music. I can immediately identify a song he has written or is singing. I prefer this over his high falsetto in the 70s, but I do like his falsetto.
Robin Gibb’s vocal is great, but has more of a wavering than Barry’s like in “Black Diamond“. It is a really good song.
I hate country music. “Marley Purt Drive” is Barry doing country. I do not actually hate it, but I would not put it on my list of favourite songs. It is a funny story about a man with 15 children who goes off alone, then returns home to 20 more children. I would not skip it every time it came on while screaming out “Noooooooo! Stop it!!! Make it stop!!!” .
“Melody Fair” makes use of Barry’s famous falsetto that will become prominent in the 70s. This is a sweet sounding song. It is their version of “Eleanor Rigby”. It sounds like love on a sunny day in the park where you can see the ferris wheel off in the distance.
“Lamplight” is the reason that Robin left the band. He sang the lead vocals and wanted it to be the first single. I think the song is okay, but not single worthy. I cannot see it being a hit. In the end, it did not matter because the public and the critics were not buying it. It would take years for people to realise the album’s greatness.
Barry knows how to sing a powerful ballad. “Sound of Love” sounds exactly like love because of Barry’s ability to move people with his voice and lyrics.
The brothers find their way back to country with “Give Your Best” a song about friendship. I think this is one for those who like the four step or three step or some kind of stepping. It is not a bad song at all.
Side four is the most solid side. It has the funny titled “I Laugh In Your Face“, the song that should have been released as the first single “Never Say Never Again“, the actual first single “First of May” and the instrumental dramatic closing song “The British Opera“. I think the first single should usually be more upbeat, then hit the public with the tearjerker.
This is an amazing album from The Bee Gees. It did not have any hit singles so I never heard it. Their popularity was waning at this point, but that would change soon enough, especially in the USA. There are only a few minor missteps on this amazing album. Sure it is not as cohesive as they wanted it, but it is a brilliant album. 9.7/10.