Apologies for taking a while to get this one done. Looking at the stats there doesn’t seem to be that many reading this blog, so my interest kind of wavered a little bit. Then I thought about the few of you that are interested and it didn’t seem fair make a promise to produce more of “Demos” posts and not do it. So, here I am with Part 2 …
Horizontal & Idea
I’ve clubbed these two albums together simply due to the fact that Horizontal demos have not come my way. Even the official “Studio Albums” release – that had extra disks with rare tracks/demos for the first 3 albums – only included one demo of a song that actually appeared on the album!
There’s a few tracks to get through, so let’s crack on then …
Really and Sincerely – the only track from Horizontal to have an available demo. It is a straight demo, being a more basic arrangement.
Ring My Bell – unreleased until “Studio Albums”. A rocking number with a repetitive chorus, it is fairly standard for the period and, if it had been released, could well have become a fan-favourite.
Mrs Gillespie’s Refrigerator – unreleased until “Studio Albums”. Great title (although Mr Wallor’s Wailing Wall is hard to beat!). Some whacky lyrics but the tune isn’t half bad and wouldn’t have been out of place on any of the first few albums. There is a second demo floating around which is not such good quality – it sounds to me like it might be an early version of the song.
Out Of Line – unreleased until “Studio Albums”. This sounds more like the Bee Gees’ Australian recordings, and if it had been thought of at that point it could have been one the better Australian songs. As it goes it’s a nice track with some fine harmonies but it doesn’t really fit with the more progressive songs they were doing.
Deeply Deeply Me – unreleased until “Studio Albums”. Another strange track with some weird ‘nasal’ Robin vocals. The song has an Egyptian-esque arrangement which fits the vocal perfectly. I quite like this one myself, despite it’s strangeness.
All My Christmases All Came At Once – unreleased until “Studio Albums”. A nice little ditty, with Robin on lead vocal – is there a pattern emerging here? A lot of early songs with Robins’ vocal being put on the scrap heap? That’s for another day. On to the track, it’s mainly an acoustic-guitar arrangement and changes tack completely at the end, almost as if it was going into another track.
Thank You For Christmas – The song is short at just under 2 minutes. It was written for a special TV programme and the Bee Gees mimed to the track on the show.
Let There Be Love – The demo is a piano / acoustic guitar arrangement. The whole thing is sung solo by Barry, so it lacks the uplifting harmony on the “I am a man …” present on the final version.
Kitty Can – One of my favourite Bee Gees songs ever. The demo is similar to the final version but has some additional ad-libbed almost jazz scat backing vocals (I think by Maurice, but don’t shoot me if I’m wrong!). Maurice’s higher vocal is more prevalent on this version and gives the song an extra dimension that I quite like, although may annoy some people!
Idea – another one of my favourites. The Bee Gees do this type of song so well, why they ended up going in another direction is anyone’s guess. They did go back to this kind of thing from time to time – most notably “Heavy Breathing” from Mr Natural. But I digress! The demo of this rocker is, again, very similar. The most notable different is the start, and the vocal is sung in a slightly different way. There were some lyric changes between this and the final recording.
Swan Song – A fairly standard Bee Gees song from the sixties. An alternate version of this has Barry singing in a much softer voice, with those breathy vocals that have become his trademark. I actually prefer this version to the final track.
Bridges Crossing Rivers – Unreleased until “Studio Albums”. This track should have been given the full treatment. I LOVE this song. What possessed them to ditch it? The demo is a little basic in it’s arrangement but you get the feeling listening to it that it could have been something special. Guess we’ll never know!
Completely Unoriginal – Unreleased until “Studio Albums”. Strange one this one, with it’s church organ intro. Almost like a studio jam that was developed a bit further just for the hell of it. Anyone who knows the Bee Gees know that they were always filming little skits – Barry has some clips on his website – and this song reminds me of that type of thing. Probably wasn’t meant to make it to the public arena, but it’s interesting to hear purely from a fan point of view.
Come Some Christmas Eve Or Halloween – Unreleased until “Studio Albums”. More church organ going on! Another Robin vocal fallen by the wayside. The song itself isn’t that appealing (probably because of the organ!), but Robin’s vocal is immaculate as ever.
Chocolate Symphony – Unreleased until “Studio Albums”. With a title like this you may expect an instrumental, but no. Barry on lead vocal, singing the verses almost in the style of Roy Orbison, the chorus is typical Bee Gees. Did they perhaps have a duet planned?
Coke Demos – the versions released with “Studio Albums” are the shorter versions. I have the two longer versions, but the quality is worse. These are two Coca-Cola commercials. Typical Bee Gees fare, but … well, they’re commercials!
Gena’s Theme – Unreleased until “Studio Albums”. This is an instrumental that sounds almost like it could have been used for a film or TV theme. It’s probably for that reason that it ‘feels’ too long!
That brings me to end of this part. As ever, for more info on these tracks, and many others from this period, go to Joe Brennan’s site – it’ll give you information on the recording order, when and where they were recorded, etc.
Part 3 will be posted at some point, although I’m not sure when that will be. Hopefully, I’ll complete it before the weekend but it looks like it’s going to be a big one, so I can’t promise anything. The reason is that the Odessa demos released with the “Studio Albums” box set has an almost complete set of demos – only The British Opera is missing. Add in the fact that a number of tracks have two or three versions and … well, it’s going to make for a bumper issue so you might want to make sure you get a coffee and, maybe grab a sandwich to keep you going while you read!