September 24, 2010

DC's Music Festival: The Brothers Gibb and Being Known

Well, this weekend we have a little twin spin from the Brothers Gibb. That's what they were originally known as before the world came to know them as the "Bee Gees." Ask a person under 30 today what the "Bee Gees" stands for. Most would say "disco," and I guess they are partly right.

The Bee Gees were an -- perhaps the -- iconic band of the disco era, recording the soundtrack for "Saturday Night Fever," which included arguably the greatest dance song ever in "You Should Be Dancing." I admit it. I like their stuff ... but it's a lot broader and deeper than many know.

I remember my old man singing "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" when the song was on the radio in the early 70's. Maybe you have heard some of the Bee Gees' older stuff, too, such as the "New York Mining Disaster" or "I Gotta Get a Message to You." Suffice it to say, it's slightly different than, oh, "Jive Talking."

The truth is that the Bee Gees -- born on the Isle of Man to British parents but raised in Australia -- were adaptable chaps who completely remade their music style several times, and they managed to remain relevant and popular through four decades.

Still, many folks understandably know them almost exclusively for the disco hits of the 70's. Like most of us, the Bee Gees are known by the public at large for one thing, and by a few who really know them for something different, deeper, and perhaps even better.

What about us out here on the internet? What about people in a political movement? Truth is, we are scarcely known at all by those who watch from afar. There are scalawags on the left and right, though the ideas be pure or profane. Life is complicated. One thing I like about the Bee Gees is that if you listen to them all the way from "I Started a Joke" to "Still Waters" their music reflects an ambiguity, indeed, the mystery that is life on this fallen earth.

In some ways, that's why it's so intriguing to me that they are really known for disco music -- the anti-matter of music.

So, this weekend, I bring you two Brothers Gibbs' tunes that are some of their best ... and also tunes that you likely have yet to hear. If you have heard both before reading this post, well, let me know in the comments. And ... I want to party with you.

Our first tune, well, is somewhat amazing because my granddad liked it. I remember him coming over to the house once and saying, "I just heard this beautiful song ... by the Bee Gees." When I came to, I heard him say that it was playing on his favorite station -- yes, the country station.

And it's a pretty good country tune folks ... to my knowledge, the only one recorded by the Brothers Gibb:

Video (only one I could find, thus the French and Karaoke mixture ... my apologies, what can I say? ... is HERE. As you can hear, it's a mighty-fine country tune (with a mention of trains and all) by these chaps.

Ah, and then there's the next song, which right ahead of "Fanny" (no, I am not stoking the posterior fires here again, folks) is my all-time favorite Bee Gees song. Most know little of "Songbird", but it means a lot to me. It's about a broken person who dreams of getting well and taking off again some day ... and apparently does ... with no guaranteed results.

So many times, we get caught up in seeing the endgame. For sure, life is about results on many levels. But I believe that life is really found in the daily struggle to do the next right thing, to do what we were born to do, to spread our once-broken wings and try again ... especially after a deep disappointment.

So, until we visit again next week, I leave you with a song that reflects this, and more, the Brothers Gibbs' unknown magnum opus --- "Songbird":


Hoping the Blind Will See said...

What a great and nostalgic post DC. I loved the BeeGees growing up - through all their phases. I did know Songbird, but I must admit I had never heard the country song - though that is my favorite music these days. Thanks for a short trip back to simpler, and perhaps happier, times. Be well!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Hoping. Glad you enjoyed it. Hearing 1 of 2 of these is pretty good. It brings back great memories to me, as well ... "Songbird" especially.

Now you have a new country song to add to the collection.

LL said...

Listening to Songbird was a pleasant departure from the usual depressing news, political incompetence, and fear of dangerous looking future.

Anonymous said...

Another jewel, DC. The boys' early stuff are my favorites. You've got a good ear.

I look forward to Music Festival's big Jerry Vale retrospective.

sig94 said...

DC - Thanks. My initial reaction to any BeeGees song is pretty negative as I detested the disco scene as a young man. That association is still strong even today.

It is nice to know that they also created some beautiful and thoughtful works.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, all. And ... "my bad" ... it's "New York Mining Disaster 1941."

After Frank yesterday, plus the Bee Gees' song "Massachusetts," I've got the Bay State on the brain.

Corrected it above.

Anonymous said...

Sig, I understand ... although, I admit ... I like the songs from that era, too.

As I said, the irony is that much of their work is thoughtful (anti-disco, if you will).

Nick, you'd get a kick out of this. My youngest (9) likes the old stuff, too. When we are riding and she sees the Greatest Hits lying around, she goes for Disc One every time ... funny.

sig94 said...

DC - My 23 yr old got a home based satellite radio as a gift from her boyfriend (soon to be fiancee?) and the station she keeps it on is - oldies. For years now I find myself being drawn to music of the forties and fifties whenever I need a change. The last of the radio stations that played this music every now and then is forever gone now from central NY, replaced by... who cares.

Starsplash said...

Tis cool.

Romantics and passionate....ok now I am starting to sound like a homo.....**** with it.....

It takes the romantics and passionate
to stand up and be belligerent for the cause.

Maybe I'm point
Or maybe I tail
But never the less
It is the right trail.

I travel a path
I thought alone
Cried many a tear
Was shaken to the bone

I have sat lone listening post
Quiet as can be
Afraid I would hear
The enemy come for me

Cut off if not for a string
To my left I heard
Twigs and branches
Broken and stirred

My heart doubled it's pace
Sweat broke my face
I hesitated not
Time was the race

I gently pulled the string
Some rock in the can tinkled
A whisper found my ear
Time was a wrinkle

In the ditch
I swore I saw movement
Can no one hear
More whispering vent

Could my heart
Stand much more of this
In the back of my mind
registered a faint click

I jumped with a start
As gunfire erupted
And with shouts of joy and glee
The enemy disrupted

Trapped they all died
As all enemies should
I wasn't alone
I now understood

still alone in my vigil
still alone at my post
still alone I stand guard
still alone with my ghost

I was there
Not because I wanted to be
I was there by command
I was there for the free

If in moment
If I should die for the stand
Then it was my choice
To die for this land

Rhod said...

DC, I'm late to the party here. In my world, in those years, which was in the haunts of rank snobs and critics of all kinds, any popular form was at least suspect, but usually just crap.

I liked the Bee Gees in their pre-Disco version, although "Jive Talkin'" sounds better to me now than "Satisfaction", or "For What It's Worth", or "Lala".

I feel bad about the deaths of so many Gibbs Brothers, and long for choking death by vomit for all the Rolling Stones, Robert Plante and wish we could kill Buddy Holly and Jim Morrison again.

I'm old enough to have attended school with Steven Stills. His concerts today, or with his boring sometimes partners, are like zombie jamborees, where the Bee Gees, if they could tour again, would celebrate Life.

What's that about the wheels off Justice?

Rhod said...

What hasn't been mentioned is Goomba's only album, which the NYT panned as "...Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion as Tiny Tim as The Newbeats singing the fishmonger's cry on every cut." And they never heard the pre-George Martin arrangement, with DC on kazoo.

The title? Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion all. I am glad that this stoked the fires, memories, and all. The Brothers Gibb are good for that. Rhod ... put the flask away, man. It's too early.

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