A Kick In The Head Is Worth Eight In The Pants
The infamous scrapped album, recorded in 1972. Exact dates are not known but Joe Brennan has some interesting information: “The songs must have been completed by the first week of November, because two reels with the 16-track masters of each side are dated November 6. Oddly, this is more than two weeks before the date for the Life in a Tin Can masters. So, they had two complete albums awaiting release by the end of November 1972.” Click herefor the complete entry.
Reasons as to why the album never made it to release are numerous, including the fact the brothers weren’t happy with the songs. The story from the official biography is that the record company didn’t think it was up-to-scratch.
The songs as they are given here are in the proposed order that they would have appeared on the album (according to the official biography).
Elisa – Recorded 1972. This, if my knowledge isn’t deserting me, was the first time that all three brothers took turns with a lead vocal on the same song (Robin, followed by Maurice then Barry on the last verse). Eventually making it onto the B-side of Wouldn’t I Be Someone in June 1973, this is a nice piano ballad.
Wouldn’t I Be Someone – Recorded 1972. Released as a single in June 1973, as a precursor to the release of the album. The fact that this song didn’t take off with the record-buying public is often blames for the cutting of the album. It’s a shame, really, because this is another fine ballad. It deserved a wider audience. It has a nice acoustic guitar-led musical arrangement and it’s strong, louder chorus, and the electric guitar break before Robin’s verse.
A Lonely Violin – Recorded 1972. The third ballad in a row according to the proposed track listing seems a bit much. Maybe this would have been changed if the album had made it out but we’ll never know. The song is as strong as the previous two. It has a beautiful piano arrangement with some emotive violin breaks which only enhance the feelings being portrayed in the lyrics. I challenge anyone to listen to this and not have the hairs on the back of your neck tingle!
Losers And Lovers – Recorded 1972. A great up-tempo number with a driving acoustic guitar backing track. Some strange lyrics appear in this one, but it’s only when you start thinking about them that you really notice them. Barry takes on most of the lead vocal with Robin taking a turn on the final verse.
Home Again Rivers – Recorded 1972. This is a country-sounding track but where you half-expect a Maurice vocal, the lead is actually sung by Robin! Some nice slide-guitar and some almost ‘orchestral’ elements. Lovely lyrics and the harmony on the chorus is worth the wait.
Harry’s Gate – Recorded 1972. Apparently “Harry’s Gate” exists and the brothers really did swing on it, whether it was actually in 1958 as suggested by the lyrics – who knows?. This is another good piano ballad with Barry taking the first verse and Robin the second.
Rocky L A – Recorded 1972. An out-and-out rock number, with Robin on lead vocal. It contains a reprise of the “Harry’s Gate” lyric from the previous number. This is one that should have been given official release – it could only have helped the Bee Gees’ reputation.
Castles In The Air – Recorded 1972. 30 seconds of this track was officially released on a special RSO released called “Short Cuts”, containing snippets of many Bee Gees classics. This song uses a good mix of Barry and Robin vocal. With Barry doing the verses, a short harmonic vocal break leading into a Robin solo chorus. It works really well and could have been used more
Where Is Your Sister? – Recorded 1972. This is another slow song that begins with a guitar intro leading into Barry’s vocal. The guitar continues throughout
It Doesn’t Matter Much To Me – Recorded 1972. This demo saw the light of day, probably by mistake, on the compilation album “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”. The re-make from the Mr Natural B-side should have been on this album – someone obviously picked up the wrong tape from the archive! I actually prefer this version – probably because I heard it on the compilation.
That’s it for the album, but there are four more tracks that are often bundled together on the bootleg tapes:
King And Country – Recorded January 1973. An early fade version of this song was the B-side to “Wouldn’t I Be Someone” outside of the US and the UK. Another guitar-led backing track with typical Barry vocal. Some people prefer the short version but I actually like the full version (apart from maybe the violins start a bit too early!).
Life, Am I Wasting My Time? – Recorded January 1973. A bit of a weird one this. It begins and up-tempo Barry vocal quickly changing to a typical Robin ‘lamenting’-type vocal. Then Barry picks up where he left off and the song carries on this feeling to the end.
Jesus In Heaven – Recorded January 1973. A Barry lead vocal over acoustic guitar. The song gradually builds in tempo, the guitar turning to a slide guitar element. I love this song – especially the lyric “I will not pray for you, it is not my tradition. My only mission … to survive!”. Couldn’t agree more!
Dear Mr Kissinger – Recorded January 1973. An acoustic guitar track with Robin doing one his better lower-end vocal, leading into a Barry low-end vocal and on to a harmonic chorus. This is a ‘kind of’ protest song – certainly there are political connotations in the lyrics – which was all-the-rage at the time.
I have provided links to many of these songs on YouTube if you’re interested in hearing them.
Next in the series are the “Spirits” demos.