It’s time to shine the Vinyl Spotlight! Every now and then on Paloozapalooza, I like to focus on a random LP from my collection. This week, we have:
The Bee Gees – Trafalgar (1971)
Six years before “Stayin’ Alive” and Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees were a very different band than the one people think of now. They still had those pipes, sure, but they were more of an ultra-serious prog band back then. And while I’m not the biggest fan of those early years, I’ll take this era of the band’s work over “Stayin’ Alive” or “How Deep is Your Love?” 10 times out of 10.
Trafalgar was actually the first Bee Gees record I ever owned. I found it while digging years ago, and the price was too good to pass up. Once I took it home, I was surprised to find that I liked pretty much the entire thing.
Album opener “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” was one of the band’s earliest hits, and it’s easily one of the best songs on Trafalgar. It’s a little cheesy, sure, but this is still the Bee Gees we’re dealing with here.
“It’s Just the Way” and “Somebody Stop the Music” are two other highlights. The lead guitar, piano and swelling strings on “It’s Just the Way” all work together to create a rich atmosphere that comes and goes in under three minutes. I actually pick up a strong Paul McCartney vibe from this one; if some had told me it was the Bee Gees covering Wings, I definitely would have believed them.
The final minute of “Somebody Stop the Music” actually has a bit of a McCartney vibe as well. I guess I just dig it when the Gibbs brothers sound like Paul.
My favorite song on Trafalgar, though, is “When Do I.” It’s actually probably my favorite Bee Gees song, period. Robin Gibbs’ delivery is absolutely huge on this song, and I love how things slowly builds momentum as they moves forward. (How was this not a single? Is it just me that hears the greatness here?)
Almost every track on this album is worth hearing. The nonstop orchestration can be a little too much when you try to listen to the full album—don’t these guys ever just want to sing over a single acoustic guitar or something?—but if you can get past that one hurdle, you’ll find a rewarding listen that almost makes you forget what the Bee Gees became just a few years down the line.
Listen below via Spotify …