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Michael Jefferson
2.23.09, 9:30 AM
http://rcm-images.amazon.com/images/P/B001HZ9ABM.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001HZ9ABM/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
Odessa - Bee Gees
3 CD Deluxe Edition (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/B001HZ9ABM/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike Jefferson

Scoff if you will at the idea that the same group who popularized dreaded disco, made leisure suits and chains de rigueur and turned John Revolta into a household name could produce an album that was both a sensitive and substantive masterpiece. But way back in 1968, before the Vienna Choir Boys days of "Stayin' Alive," Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb had so much talent and creativity they fashioned a breathtaking two-record set without breaking a sweat.

In celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the release of "Odessa," Rhino Records has given the Brothers Gibbs' fourth album the royal treatment. The original double LP has been expanded to three CDs: stereo and mono versions of the 17-song release adorn discs one and two, while the third disc, "Sketches For Odessa," includes 22 unreleased demos, alternate mixes and a pair of tracks recorded during the sessions that weren't on the original album. The reissue also restores the album's red flocked cover (with the group's name in gold lettering), and adds a nifty Bee Gees sticker, a poster, and a booklet chronicling the sessions written by rock historian Andrew Sandoval. Watch out, kids -- don't do what I did and scratch the velvet cover trying to open up the box!

Recorded at New York's Atlantic Recording Studios, "Odessa" has been compared in stature to The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart's Club Band," and in length to the Fab Four's "White Album," so you know its borderline genius. "Odessa" was originally entitled "The American Opera" - but the addition of distinctly international compositions such as "Melody Fair" and "Lamplight" cancelled that thought. It was renamed "Masterpeace" until cooler heads prevailed. Heavily orchestrated and arranged to represent a conceptual work, "Odessa" was both the brothers' artistic triumph and their Waterloo. Feeling underutilized and wanting to pursue a more bluesy direction, lead guitarist Vince Melouney had quit the group after "Idea," the Bee Gee's third album, but stayed long enough to work on "Odessa's" "Marley Purt Drive" and "Whisper, Whisper." Middle brother Robin, peeved that Barry's track "First of May" was chosen as the first single over his song, "Lamplight," also quit the group in a snit. Robin's departure halted the release of other songs from the album as singles, which cut into sales. Stifled by acrimony and jealousy, it would be two years before the brothers would record together again, releasing the album "2 Years On," and the single "Lonely Days."



More... (http://www.Coffeerooms.com/onmusic/2009/02/odessa.html)