Main Course

The Bee Gees

Polydor Records, 1975

http://beegees.com

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/07/2007

For any pop album to be deemed a classic, there must be at least four songs that shatter all expectations and are so strong that they simply cannot be denied. Such is the case with Main Course, the 11th release by the UK trio known as the Bee Gees.

Not only did this album present a new sound to the world, it also was the perfect jumping off point for the juggernaut Saturday Night Fever soundtrack a few years later. Producer Arif Mardin deserves the most credit for initially introducing the Brothers Gibb to American soul music in an attempt to give them the comeback they were so desperately looking for.

What is most surprising about nbtc__dv_250 Main Course is the fact that it mixes in a healthy dose of country music (yes, really). In actuality, the disco elements of the 70s period can only be detected on the first three songs, “Nights On Broadway,” “Jive Talkin'” and “Wind Of Change.” After such an impressive trilogy comes the folksy ballad,“Songbird,” the gentle piano number “Country Lanes” and a song written especially for country-pop songbird Olivia Newton-John, “Come On Over.” Somehow, the Bee Gees manage to put their own spin on each song and pull all of the diverse genres together in creating a cohesive package. At least they had the sense to separate the disco tracks from the country ones,; otherwise the Bee Gees would have had a real mess on their hands.

Every song on Main Course has its own distinct flavor and unique personality. It’s almost as if we move from the city life to the country life all in one sitting. The final two songs, “Edge Of The Universe” and “Baby As You Turn Away,” point to a more universal message of love and what it means to be truly alive. The midsection is the only point of the album where the order of the songs is a bit off. The unfortunately titled “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” should have come earlier in the sequencing, while “All This Making Love” doesn’t seem to fit at all. If anything, it is the one moment where the old Bee Gees sound can be heard. Thankfully, it’s surrounded by other songs that do work.

After Main Course, Bee Gees released the inferior Children Of The World, a project of retread sounding material that leaned ever closer to disco and included the one big hit “You Should Be Dancing,” providing John Travolta with ample inspiration. Once committing themselves to Saturday Night Fever, there would really be no turning back and the Bee Gees name would unfortunately forever be linked to the doomed days of disco.

So, while Main Course can’t necessarily be regarded as the Bee Gees' high point, it certainly was their turning point. And it remains a point well taken.

Rating: B+

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© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Polydor Records, and is used for informational purposes only.