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Music Review: Bee Gees – The Ultimate Bee Gees (Deluxe Edition)

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For several decades now, people have been saying that disco is dead. Occasionally, a new group hits the music scene, hellbent on reviving the popular waka-chi-waka guitar sounds of the ‘70s. With the exception of groups like Alcazar, most bands mix in a little from this musical genre and little from that musical genre — never being quite ballsy enough to rely on strictly disco alone. After all, who do these kids think they are? The Bee Gees?

Without a doubt, the Bee Gees have remained the reigning kings of ‘70s disco, thanks mostly due to their musical contributions to Saturday Night Fever. We may never forget the Bee Gees’ memorable falsetto vocals from “Stayin’ Alive” — vocals that speculated some to wonder how men could hit such high notes and still have that much facial hair — nor are we likely to forget the much superior song, “You Should Be Dancing.”

Now, should you be on the verge of forgetting these mini masterpieces, you need only dig out that dusty old Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on vinyl. However, if you’re in the market for listening to some classic Bee Gees without hearing, say, “A Fifth Of Beethoven” or “Night On Disco Mountain,” then The Ultimate Bee Gees is for you.

This new release from Reprise Records contains a venerable collection of greatest hits from Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, including the aforementioned “Stayin’ Alive” and “You Should Be Dancing” (which opens the album — and rightfully so). Several other tracks from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack are also prominently featured here (e.g. “Night Fever” and “Jive Talkin’”), along with singles such as “Tragedy” (a personal favorite).

But wait, there’s more! Yes, The Ultimate Bee Gees houses not one but two CDs full of top-charting singles from the Brothers Gibb. Honestly, I didn’t know that these boys had this many singles! Disc two in particular gives us a wide range of material, with songs ranging from the Gibbs’ early days in the ‘60s (songs that often sound way too much like The Beatles for my taste), to their more recent 2001 hit, “This Is Where I Came In.”

I feel it is my duty to warn you, though: Disc two contains some of the most mellow and depressing AM radio fodder ever to be assembled on one disc and not bear the word “Gold” in its title. Songs like “I Started A Joke” have always conjured up images of rogue folksong artists taking an entire radio station hostage in my opinion — but I’m sure there are people in this world that appreciate this type of music. Personally, I’ll stick to the tunes on Disc one. I can at least disco dance to those tracks.

The “Deluxe Edition” of The Ultimate Bee Gees includes a Region 0 DVD full of music videos, ranging from the 1966 Australian hit “Spicks And Specks,” to the more recent 1997 endeavors. The videos are a real kick, especially the classics from the ’70s (“Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” etc.), which show the Bee Gees at their big-haired prime. The “Deluxe Edition” also includes a small booklet containing some liner notes on the Gibb Brothers as well as track listings for all three discs.

My advice? Get the Deluxe Edition for Disc one and the DVD alone. Consider Disc two the “bonus item” and leave it in it’s sleeve for all eternity.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    Luigi, I’ve awauys had mixed feelings about their pre-Saturday Night Fever stuff. I do think “Lonely Days” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” are lovely, well-produced tracks. Incidentally, it’s no accident that their 60s material sounds Beatley; producer/impresario Robert Stigwood’s goal was to make them the “next Beatles.”

  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    Meant to say “always” in the above comment. Darn that tiny Blackberry keyboard! :)

  • http://insomniacentertainment.com Luigi Bastardo

    I figured as much. :)

  • Nic

    Good DVD unfortunately in the American NYSC 29 frame per second format 720 x 480 instead of the European 720 x 576. Video footage missing from Beat Club, Ed Sullivan Show & the Idea show filmed by German TV during 1968. Audio could of been overdubbed into stereo too. Still enjoyable though the music still sounds impressive much better than today’s dross.