Odessa is the sixth studio album by the Bee Gees, released in March 1969 by Polydor Records in the UK and Atco Records in the US. It was the group's fourth album released internationally, and their only studio double LP. Odessa would be the final album for the band's original incarnation, and this was the last album to feature guitarist Vince Melouney.Robin Gibb would leave the band over personal and artistic differences with brother Barry Gibb. Barry and Maurice would continue to record with drummer Colin Petersen as the Bee Gees, but disintegrated when Petersen was fired. (He would rejoin the group in 1970.)Odessa is noted in Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
The first song recorded for the album was "I Laugh in Your Face", the song was recorded in 12 July 1968 same day as the group recorded "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" (released from the American version of the group's fifth album Idea) After recording eight songs for the album, guitarist Vince Melouney left the group amicably, wanting to pursue a more bluesy direction, and Melouney joined the supergroup Fanny Adams. Prior to release there were disagreements over which song was to be released as a single (the Robin led "Lamplight" lost out to "First of May" a Barry solo vocal).
This led to Robin Gibb leaving the group in late 1968, though he would rejoin the group in August 1970. A reel tape of mono mixes dated November 24 has "Odessa (City on the Black Sea)", "First of May" and "Melody Fair", called a "rough mix with orchestra", Therefore about as soon as they returned, they were in the studio with Bill Shepherd arranging and conducting orchestral tracks to complete the album, This puts the re-make of "First of May" early in the November sessions, And the song would be the last Bee Gees band session for the album. (However, after recording "First of May", the instrumental tracks, "Seven Seas Symphony", "With All Nations" and "The British Opera" was only conducted and arranged by Bill Shepherd.) Also done somewhere around here are the final vocals for the New York songs and the added organ part for "Edison", Barry sang in a strong voice for "First of May", "Sound of Love", "Marley Purt Drive" and "Give Your Best", a bit less so on "Whisper, Whisper" and "Edison", and the latter with some lead vocals by Robin.
Commentary: Thought this album pretty cool when it first came out. Hated it when BGs went the Disco route. However, looking back at it, they did some artistically interesting & proficiently executed music during that otherwise bleak--for me--period. I saw Disco as a reactionary form leading to a dead end, which is exactly what happened. If I remember correctly--just off the top of my head--your basic Disco beat devolved from a subspecies of Soul utilizing wah-wah pedal stuff in the early-mid 70s that I kept hearing at clubs & that spurred me on to the exits & towards the intimate jazz venues of, for example, Greenwich Village & San Francisco's North Beach (among other places) & eventually to a new musical genre descended from mainstream Rock-n-Roll--that had gone disgustingly commercial & mediocre-- & dubbed Punk.
The Music never dies. The Muse keeps singing & will as long as there are poets troubadours & those who have ears & want to hear. The artform is an evolutionary--sometimes revolutionary-- continuum of pure sound & song meaning (in the case of lyric).
Where was I in 1969? Waiting for the military draft to grab my ass. But turns out they weren't ready for me. That's about it in a nutshell. I missed Woodstock because I was too stoned to realize something very big & special was going on in the very area of NY State I was working in as a hotel & restaurant worker. Like I've said before, I went back to the City (NYC that is...) & had my own Woodstock in The Village, Staten Island & out in Long Beach, Long Island. Pretty girls. Talkative girls. Active girls. Girls who couldn't stop dancing. Girls who loved to sing. Girls who loved to dance. Drink? Yes, drink too. Sometimes a bit too much. Who loved to love. Who didn't think twice about disrobing in front of you by upstate bodies of water. Who seduced you with their nubile young flesh, laughingly, naturally, without the hangups that would eventually return during Reaganism-Thatcherism; sex was a commodity, not something to be given freely & innocently. Yes, innocently.
Free Love Lives! It just needs to be revived a bit more in the public's collective consciousness. ("Did someone say: collective...? How nasty a word. What would Ayn Rand say or do? Probably nothing. Because she has crossed over Jordan, so to speak. The thing of it is she was quite a free spirit herself. Sexually active. (Just imagine her & Alan Greenspan engaging in one of their midnight bacchanals. I know. Perish the thought. And how the hell can I get those pictures out of my head? Ugh-oh. Ugh-oh...Mama...MA-MA...!!!)
Then as now my project is to indulge sexuality without its destructive perversity resulting from having been suppressed by Religion, Inc. as well as The State.
How about an essay: "Sex, Religion & the State: The Repression of the Creative Juices". How such a handicap negatively impacts a person & an entire society.
Irish-American girls. Italian-American girls. Jewish-American girls. The occasional Afro-American girl. Beautiful girls Bossy girls who made me screw after I advertised myself as bisexual & going more & more gay by the minute. (This idea was implemented independent of writer Kenneth Tynan's strategy designed as a very effective way to gather fair amounts of ambitious young ladies intent on proving you weren't homosexual by altruistically sacrificing themselves to the cause pudendum first. Bless their wicked little hearts. I love them all for their courage, their in-touchness, their self-realized self-actualized nurturing womanliness. By being authentically feminine they liberated their friends & lovers of all persuasions.
BTW--Another reason for liking "Odessa". My mother's father was born there. And of course the song 'First of May' while a seemingly innocuous little ditty connotes International Labor Day as well as the ancient pagan & modern neo-pagan spring festival.
Lastly, the film "Saturday Night Fever" with soundtrack by the Bee Gees was a not unworthy effort. Based on a non-fiction magazine piece, it describes life as then lived in Brooklyn, NY particularly among a group of discothèque habitues. A keen social historical & family document depicting the signs of that specific time & place. The main character played by John Travolta spends all too much of his carefree young manhood "weekend dancing" helping "him to temporarily forget the reality of his life: a dead end job, clashes with his unsupportive and squabbling parents, racial tensions in the local community, and his associations with a gang of macho friends."
Furthermore, the "film also showcased aspects of the music, the dancing, and the subculture surrounding the disco era: symphony-orchestrated melodies, haute-couture styles of clothing, pre-AIDS sexual promiscuity, and graceful choreography."
HIV/AIDS really put a damper on things. (Whether it is a legitimate analogy for the deadly decadent narrowminded superstition-ridden backward trends of Reaganism-Thatcherism &/or resulting from a ChemBio military laboratory experiment run amok are issues for a later article.) Not that sexually aversive suburbanite outer-borough middle- America ever needed anything as drastic as the AIDS pandemic as an excuse to avoid sex.
But I've confidence in Science holding the ultimate answer to a widespread disease that may very well depopulate large areas of the globe including Africa, Asia & Latin America, as opposed to blind faith in some Big Daddy Bugaboo Beyond the Stars twiddling his omnipotent thumbs & playing cosmic tiddlywinks.
In the meantime, O my brethren & sistren, chew on this:
"If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing." -- New American Standard Version (1995)
To which I'd add:
Love is its own country.
The Bee Gees were a musical group founded in 1958. The group's line-up consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were successful for most of their decades of recording music, but they had two distinct periods of exceptional success: as a pop act in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and as prominent performers of the discomusic era in the late 1970s. The group sang three-part tight harmonies that were instantly recognisable; Robin's clear vibrato lead was a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the late 1970s and 1980s. The brothers wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.
Born in the Isle of Man to English parents, the Gibb brothers lived their first few years in Chorlton, Manchester, England, then moved in the late 1950s to Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia, where they began their music careers. After achieving their first chart success in Australia with "Spicks and Specks" (their 12th single), they returned to the United Kingdom in January 1967 where producer Robert Stigwood began promoting them to a worldwide audience.
The Bee Gees' career record sales total more than 220 million ranking them among the best-selling music artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997; the presenter of the award to "Britain's first family of harmony" was Brian Wilson, historical leader of the Beach Boys, a "family act" also featuring three harmonising brothers. The Bee Gees' Hall of Fame citation says "Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees."
Following Maurice's unexpected death in January 2003, Barry and Robin retired the group's name after 45 years of activity. In 2009 Robin announced that he and Barry had agreed that the Bee Gees would re-form and perform again. Robin died in May 2012 after a prolonged struggle with cancer.
After Zeppelin, keeping it maritime. For the time being. (Might post Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" later.)
Fourteenth of February , eighteen ninety nine.
The British ship Veronica was lost without a sign.
Baa baa black sheep, you haven't any wool.
Captain Richardson left himself a lonely wife in Hull.
Cherub, I lost a ship in the Baltic sea.
I'm on an iceberg running free.
Sitting, filing this berg to the shape of a ship;
Sailing my way back to your lips.
One passing ship gave word that you have moved out of your old flat.
You love the Vicar more then words can say.
Tell him to pray that I won't melt away.
And I'll see your face again .
Odessa, How strong am I?
Odessa , How time goes by.
Treasure , you know the neighbors that live next door.
They haven't got their dog anymore.
Freezing, sailing around in the North Atlantic.
Can't seem to leave the sea anymore.
I just can't understand why you just moved to Finland.
You love that Vicar more then words can say.
Ask him to pray that I won't melt away.
And I'll see your face again.
Odessa, How strong am I?
Odessa, How time goes by.
Fourteenth of February , eighteen ninety nine.
The British ship Veronica was lost without a sign
--song written by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb
R.I.P. Robin Gibb
December 22, 1949 - 20 May 2012
This album is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Odessa-3-CD-Deluxe-Edition/dp/B001HZ9ABM/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1335826777&sr=1-1
The Bee Gees are a musical group which originally comprised three brothers: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were successful for most of their decades of recording music, but they had two distinct periods of exceptional success: as a pop act in the late 1960s/early 1970s, and as prominent performers of the disco music era in the late 1970s. The group sang three-part tight harmonies that were instantly recognisable; Robin's clear vibrato lead was a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the late 1970s and 1980s. The brothers wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.
Odessa is the sixth studio album by the Bee Gees, released in 1969. It was the group's fourth album released internationally, and their first released as a double LP. Odessa would be the final album for the band's original incarnation. Guitarist Vince Melouney would pursue other interests, and Robin Gibb would leave the band over personal and artistic differences with brother Barry Gibb. Barry and Maurice would continue to record with drummer Colin Petersen as the Bee Gees, but disintegrated when Petersen was fired.
1. Odessa (City On The Black Sea) 0:00
2. You'll Never See My Face Again 7:38
3. Black Diamond 11:56
4. Marley Purt Drive 15:27
5. Edison 19:56
6. Melody Fair 23:05
7. Suddenly 26:55
8. Whisper Whisper 29:28
9. Lamplight 32:54
10. Sound Of Love 37:44
11. Give Your Best 41:15
12. Seven Seas Symphony 44:44
13. With All Nations (International Anthem) 48:55
14. I Laugh In Your Face 50:46
15. Never Say Never Again 54:57
16. First Of May 58:30
17. The British Opera 1:01:21
Barry Gibb - vocals, guitar
Robin Gibb - vocals, organ, piano, mellotron
Maurice Gibb - vocals, bass, piano, guitar, mellotron
Vince Melouney - guitar ("Whisper, Whisper"), ("Marley Purt Drive"), ("Give Your Best"), ("Sound Of Love"), ("Edison")
Colin Petersen - drums
Bill Keith - banjo ("Marley Purt Drive"), ("Give Your Best")
Tex Logan - fiddle ("Give Your Best")
Paul Buckmaster - cello ("Odessa")