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30.11.12 Music Week 41


BEE GEES • Mythology (Rhino 8122797181)

First released two years ago, to mark the golden anniversary of the Bee Gees,

Mythology is a sprawling four-CD set, comprising 81 recordings. It is packaged with a lavishly illustrated 60-page book, with reminiscences and observations from their peers, themselves and their families. Each of the three Gibb brothers who provided the group’s core membership is represented by a CD, as is brother Andy. The songs selected by Barry – the only survivor of the siblings – include many of their best known and commercially successful recordings, among them Night Fever, Stayin’ Alive, Jive Talking and You Win Again. Robin’s choices are more esoteric, and dominated by his wonderful, melancholic, bleating voice, the better to purvey the pathos of songs like New York

Mining Disaster 1941, Holiday and his solo hit Saved By The Bell. Maurice rarely sang lead but his widow and children have done a fine job in unearthing selections – including two previously unreleased – which show that he was the most underrated of the three. Although his hits were written with or by his brothers, Andy, of course, recorded as a solo artist, and his run of major American hits are all present and correct. With a very reasonable selling price of around £12, Mythology is a steal.

PHIL SPECTOR/VARIOUS: A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (Sony 88765433102)

While Phil Spector remains under lock and key, his Philles catalogue was

freed from the vaults with a plethora of new releases – all in gloriously remastered mono – marking its Sony Music debut last

year, including 1963’s A Christmas Gift For You. The jewel in Spector’s substantial crown it remains the most complete, concise and evocative of seasonal albums ever released. With a playing time of barely 34 minutes, it contains only one original song – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love – but Spector’s Wall Of Sound is perfect for such material, sprinkling new magic over old favourites like Sleigh Ride (The Ronettes) and White Christmas (Darlene Love). Even Spector’s own rather limp ‘thank you’ speech over Silent Night sounds sincere and apt. Perenially appealing, A Christmas Gift For You has been repackaged for 2012, with The Hits – a bonus disc featuring regular but equally timeless Spector masterpieces like The Crystals’ Da Doo Ron Ron, The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, and Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High.

NAKED EYES: Burning Bridges (Cherry Red CRPOP 111)

Alongside the likes of Chad & Jeremy and The Escape Club, Bath duo Naked Eyes were

part of a small elite of British acts who never made the Top 30 in the UK but had substantial success in the US. With Pete Byrne on vocals and the late Rob Fisher – who did eventually make it here as half of Climie Fisher – on keyboards, Naked Eyes produced some engaging new waveish synthpop. Burning Bridges was their 1983 debut album, and is full of sweet vocals over swirling synth beds. All of the songs were penned by the duo except for Always Something There To Remind Me, a beautifully ironic reworking of the Dionne Warwick hit which gave them a No.8 hit stateside. It was followed up by the equally wonderful and almost equally big (No.11) hit Promises, Promises. Liner notes for

the set include quotes from Pete Byrne, who reveals that the female vocals on Jellybean’s 12-inch mix of Promises Promises, one of several bonus cuts here, were those of his then unknown girlfriend Madonna.

VARIOUS: Rolling With The Punches - The Allen Toussaint Songbook(Ace CDCHD 1354)

That Ace’s Songwriter series would eventually doff its cap at New Orleans

legend Allen Toussaint was inevitable, and the result is every bit as delicious as anticipated with 24 of the maestro’s songs collected here. Robert Palmer, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur are among Toussaint admirers who do justice to his songs. Also here: The Pointer Sisters with their funky early take on Yes We Can Can and Glen Campbell extolling the virtues of Southern Nights.

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