by Nicholas James
It must have been hard for the listeners of
1978, when this compilation was first
released, to believe that they were
listening to the same group that were
topping the charts with songs such as 'You
Should Be Dancing'. This album is packed
full of tracks from the first phase of the
Bee Gees career, between 1963 and 1966, when
they were recording in Australia on
independent label Festival Records.
In recent years, there have been numerous
repackagings of the same early material (see
on this site, for example). Until the recent
release of the more comprehensive remastered
Brilliant From Birth, which is now
the definitive collection of these early
tracks, Birth of Brilliance was the best
place to hear them.
Listening to this CD you can see how the
group matured even through these three short
years. There is a big difference between the
maturity of the group as writers and
performers between early tracks such as
'Timber' and 'The Battle Of The Blue And The
Grey' and later tracks like 'Cherry Red' and
'Secondhand People' (and that is not just
the fact that Robin and Maurice's voices
hadn't broken when they recorded the first
Unlike the many repackaged albums mentioned
above, this album features a number of rarer
tracks from this period, such as 'Lonely
Winter' (an atmospheric ballad), 'In The
Morning' (the first recording of a track
that would be rerecorded and featured on the
Best of Bee Gees Volume 2), and the
You will be surprised at the range of sounds
and styles explored by the Bee Gees in this
period, especially when you consider that
they were teenagers. Of course, the Beatles
influence is there, particularly in the
earlier tracks ('I Was A Lover...',
'Claustrophobia' and 'Could It Be'). A lot
of these early tracks are written by Barry,
but in the songs 'Storm' and 'I Am The
World', we see Robin's song writing and
vocal skills begin to develop, as the Bee
Gees develop their own sound.
We also hear the Bee Gees spoof other
artists/styles of the period. In 'Terrible
Way To Treat Your Baby', Barry and Robin do
the Righteous Brothers and in 'Born A Man'
it is rock and roll stars such as Elvis
Presley that they imitate very successfully.
And listen also for some quite amazing vocal
histrionics on this album. The
aforementioned 'Born a Man' is a case in
point, and listen to Robin's voice in
'Monday's Rain'. Fantastic.
The Bee Gees were clearly full of
enthusiasm, ideas and talent at this early
stage of their careers and this album is a
great place from which to explore the birth
of this great band.
Why Buy Birth of Brilliance?
This is a fairly comprehensive collection of
their earliest material, but the more recent
Brilliant From Birth compilation is
a better option.