Well, it’s been a few days since I did a “proper” post and, seeing that I’m now happy with the look of the blog, I am now suitably inspired to continue in earnest.
In this part of the series I will be going over some of the demo tracks in my collection that come between Odessa and Spirits (Having Flown).
Who Knows What A Room Is – recorded during the Cucumber Castle sessions in July 1969 at the same time as Don’t Forget To Remember. The song is a solid rocker and, as such, doesn’t fit in with the final feel of the album. I can’t help thinking that, if it had been written 18 months earlier it would have been perfect for the “Idea” album!
Give A Hand, Take A Hand – the original attempt at this song was made, again, by Barry and Maurice during the Cucumber Castle sessions. If you’re interested in hearing it you can follow the link on the “YouTube – Demos” page. The main basis is the same as the re-recorded version on the 1974 album Mr Natural. There are some minor lyrical differences and the Mr Natural version is certainly sung with a lot more vocal inflections (if that’s the right phrase?) which brings out the feeling of the words. The demo in comparison is a lot blander.
Every Time I See You Smile – another track from “Cucumber Castle” sessions. This is more in keeping with what Cucumber Castle became and could easily have slotted onto the album. It certainly sounds like it was taken further than just a average basic demo, so it was obviously a strong contender for inclusion. Maybe it was Barry’s spoken vocal towards the end that made them have second thoughts.
Every Morning, Every Night – from another Barry/Maurice “Bee Gees” session in September 1969. This could have been so much more, but it ended up being too bland – it almost sounds like they’re fed up! I’m sure they weren’t but that’s how it sounds. There’s no real feeling in the vocal or the music.
Conquer The World – sometimes called “We Can Conquer The World”. In June 1970 Maurice and Robin entered the studio and produced a number of songs. A Robin lead vocal – if you’ve read previous posts in this series you’ll be aware of this pattern!). This is an unremarkable song. It tries to be upbeat but doesn’t really get there.
Distant Relationship – Recorded by Maurice and Robin at the same session as the previous song. It became Sincere Relation and was included on the Bee Gees’ comeback album “2 Years On”. It’s a poor quality recording so there’s a lot of hissing and clicking going on. The re-working that we all know is a sombre, almost claustrophobic whereas this this version is a lot lighter in its’ feel.
You’re Going Away – originally this was recorded by Robin during sessions for the unreleased “Sing Slowly Sisters”, however Maurice and Robin worked on the song in their June 1970 sessions. Unfortunately, I can’t say which version I have, but I suspect it’s the earlier Robin solo version because there’s nothing on it that would suggest that Maurice is present. It’s hard to describe how this sounds … it’s sung in the same key with the same piece of mellotron / organ music in the background. If I’m honest it gets boring after the first minute or so.
Don’t Forget Me Ida – recorded in September 1970 after Barry had returned to the fold and work was begun in earnest on the 2 Years On album. This is an almost upbeat love song with some decent harmonies. It’s a typical Bee Gees number for the period.
To Dance Again – an instrumental recorded for the T.V. programme The Three Musketeers. Has appeared on many bootlegs as “Modulating Maurice”. It’s quite an uplifting piece of music. Not much else to say really.
Merrily Merry Eyes – an outtake from the “Trafalgar” sessions of December 1970. More upbeat than many of the songs on Trafalgar. It’s got a hint of a country music feel, particularly towards the end but stops short of breaking into a full-on country number. The album would have benefited from its’ inclusion. Another great lead vocal from Robin, with a harmony chorus that is as good as anything else before or after.
If I Were The Sky – from the Trafalgar session of January 1971. Ooh, surprise – another Robin lead vocal. This has the feel of Robins’ tracks for Sing Slowly Sisters, which may be why it has been bundled on bootleg copies of that album.
Irresponsible Unreliable Indispensible Blues – another Trafalgar outtake, from March 1971. During the same session they recorded Walking Back To Waterloo. This is another song that would have been good on the album – many of the tracks are ‘gloomy’ and this would have brought some light to the shade. This is a more country track and the vocal from Barry is excellent – very gritty.
God’s Good Grace – from the sessions of April 1971. One more Robin vocal confined to the waste basket. It’s not the best song they’ve come up with, but they can’t all be winners can they?
Don’t Throw It All Away – Whoah, there! That was a bit of a jump! 1971 to 1977 without so much as a warning! Well, the simple reason is that I don’t have any demos for the period in between, and I did say I was going up to the Spirits demos. This demo is just Barry on vocal. There are some lyrical differences, particularly in the second verse. This is closer to the Bee Gees version in that it doesn’t have the falsetto break “we changed the world, we made it ours to hold…etc.” that appears on Andy’s version.
That completes this part; the next three parts of this series will be on the unreleased solo albums from each brother, starting with Robin’s Sing Slowly Sisters.