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Morning of Their Lives: Bee Gees’ Original Australian Albums Reissued on CD by Festival Label

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Bee Gees - Morning of My LifeThough Bee Gees’ First introduced Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb to the world at large, the album title was actually a misnomer. The Bee Gees’ first album was, in fact, The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs, released in Australia in 1965 on Festival Records’ Leedon label.  Two albums were released in Australia before the Gibbs’ international debut, with a third “odds-and-ends” collection having arrived in late 1967 just months after Bee Gees’ First.  The Bee Gees’ Australian output has been released on CD numerous times over the years.  These editions have ranged from the comprehensive to the downright poor, from labels both legitimate and “gray area.”  Now, for the first time, all three of the Bee Gees’ original Australian albums are being prepped for reissue on remastered CDs from Festival Records, part of Warner Music Australia.  These discs (available individually or as part of a 3-CD box set) and a new Australian-era anthology, at left, will arrive down under from the recently-reactivated Festival imprint on February 1.

1965’s The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs was the first long-playing album for Barry, Robin and Maurice, but the Brothers Gibb had been signed to Festival Records since early 1963.  The precocious (and precociously talented) youngsters recorded a number of singles as oldest brother Barry carved out a reputation as a professional songwriter.  The Bee Gees also appeared, often uncredited, on numerous recordings from other Festival artists.  (Many of these guest appearances were collected on the Assault the Vaults CD compilation, which fetches quite a bit secondhand if you can find it at all.)   The Sing and Play album was assembled from five new songs and nine previously released Barry-written songs dating back to the group’s second single in 1963 (“Timber!” b/w “Take Hold of That Star”). Of the five new songs, two were promoted via a new single (“I Was a Lover, A Leader of Men” b/w “And the Children Laughing”) while the remaining three were exclusive to the LP.  Every track on this LP is available on the 1998 Festival collection Brilliant from Birth (which is still available secondhand at reasonable prices), but the new reissue is the first time the original sequence has appeared on CD.

In 1966, the Bee Gees had their biggest success with a song that Barry Gibb still performs today: “Spicks and Specks.”  The catchy track made it to No. 3 in Sydney, staying in the Top 40 for 19 weeks, and in other areas of Australia reached pole position.  “Spicks and Specks” b/w “I Am the World” made such an impression that its release led to the group’s signing with Polydor in the U.K.; it became the group’s first single there.  The Bee Gees’ new album, naturally, was titled after the hit song.  Spicks and Specks used most of the tracks intended for an aborted LP entitled Monday’s Rain.  This album was never issued outside Australia, and again, while all of the tracks appear on Brilliant from Birth, the upcoming reissue is its first CD appearance in its original configuration.

There’s plenty more after the jump, including full track listings for all titles!

On January 3, 1967, the Bee Gees began their journey back to England.  It’s hardly an exaggeration to state that “the rest is history” once they arrived.  They soon signed with manager Robert Stigwood and made Polydor Records (the label that had issued “Spicks and Specks” in the U.K.) their home.  “New York Mining Disaster 1941” b/w “I Can’t See Nobody” was the first Bee Gees 45 recorded in England.  It was released in April, 1967, and “To Love Somebody” b/w “Close Another Door” followed in June.  In July, Bee Gees First was issued in the U.K.; the American issue on Atco came on its heels in August.  Unwilling to ignore the group’s newfound international success, Festival issued a new album of Australian material late in 1967. Its compilers utilized nine songs that had not yet appeared on LP: the group’s first single, three songs recorded by the Bee Gees but not written by Barry, both sides of the “Cherry Red” single, and two more B-sides from 1966. To these nine tracks, Festival repeated three songs from the Sing and Play LP which had already been deleted from the catalogue by that point.  Turn Around, Look at Me (named after the Glen Campbell/Jerry Capehart song) is also making its CD debut, although its songs can be found on Brilliant from Birth.

Bee Gees - Barry Gibb SongsThe 24-song compilation Morning of My Life: The Best of 1965-1966 will join the three individual album reissues.  Alec Palao has written the liner notes for this newly-compiled release which contains single sides not featured on the other three discs in this campaign.  Lastly, the 3-CD box set The Festival Albums Collection -1965-67 contains replica editions of the three proper albums along with an eight-page booklet containing new liner notes by Glenn A. Baker and rare photos contributed by Mark Crohan.  All tracks on all releases have been freshly remastered.  Fans of this era might also be directed to another Australian release from Festival, 2012’s Down Under Nuggets.  The Bee Gees are among the bands included on this newly-curated Aussie counterpart to the American Nuggets series from Rhino.

The Bee Gees recorded well over 60 songs during their tenure at Festival, not counting their contributions to others’ records.  Although these reissues don’t address all of that material, they should make for a wonderful place to start.  All three individual albums, the box set and the compilation are due for release from Festival on February 1.  You can find track listings below, and Amazon links!

Bee Gees, The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs (Festival/Leedon, 1965 – reissued Festival, 2013)

  1. I Was A Lover, A Leader of Men
  2. I Don’t Think It’s Funny
  3. How Love Was True
  4. To Be Or Not To Be
  5. Timber
  6. Claustrophobia
  7. Could It Be I’m In Love With You
  8. And The Children Laughing
  9. Wine and Women
  10. Don’t Say Goodbye
  11. Peace of Mind
  12. Take Hold of That Star
  13. You Wouldn’t Know
  14. Follow The Wind

Bee Gees, Spicks and Specks (Festival/Spin LP EL 32031, 1966 – reissued Festival, 2013)

  1. Monday’s Rain
  2. How Many Birds
  3. Playdown
  4. Second Hand People
  5. I Don’t Know Why I Bother With Myself
  6. Big Chance
  7. Spicks And Specks
  8. Jingle Jangle
  9. Tint of Blue
  10. Where Are You
  11. Born A Man
  12. Glass House

Bee Gees, Turn Around, Look At Us (Festival LP FL 32731, 1967 – reissued 2013)

  1. Turn Around, Look At Me
  2. The Battle of the Blue and the
  3. The Three Kisses of Love
  4. Theme From Jaime McPheeters
  5. Every Day I Have To Cry
  6. I Want Home
  7. Cherry Red
  8. All Of My Life
  9. I Am The World
  10. I Was A Lover, A Leader of Men
  11. Wine and Women
  12. Peace of Mind

[Bee Gees, The Festival Albums Collection 1965-1967 contains all three albums listed above in one box set.]

Bee Gees, Morning of My Life: The Best of 1965-1966 (Festival, 2013)

  1. Spicks and Specks
  2. I Am the World
  3. I Want Home
  4. I Was A Lover, A Leader of Men
  5. How Love Was True
  6. In The Morning (Of My Life)
  7. Exit Stage Right
  8. Jingle Jangle
  9. Like Nobody Else
  10. Butterfly
  11. All By Myself
  12. Glass House
  13. Where Are You
  14. Playdown
  15. Second Hand People
  16. And The Children Laughing
  17. Wine And Women
  18. I Don’t Know Why I Bother With Myself
  19. All Of My Life
  20. How Many Birds
  21. Coalman
  22. Top Hat
  23. The Storm
  24. I’ll Know What To Do

Written by Joe Marchese

January 18, 2013 at 09:58

Posted in Bee Gees, News, Reissues

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