Odessa is the sixth studio album by the Bee Gees, a double vinyl LP released on 30 March 1969, initially in an opulent red flocked cover with gold lettering. Despite reaching the UK Top Ten and the US Top 20, the album was not particularly well-received, though now is regarded by many as the most significant of the group's Sixties albums. An ambitious project, originally intended as a concept album on the loss of a fictional ship in 1899, it created tension and disagreements in the band regarding the work's direction; finally, a dispute over which song to release as a single led to Robin Gibb temporarily leaving the group.Released by Polydor Records in the UK and Atco Records in the US, Odessa was the group's fourth album released internationally, and their only double album of original music. It would be the final album to feature the band's original incarnation, and the last to include guitarist Vince Melouney. The album includes the 1969 hit single "First of May" (UK no. 6 / US no. 37) and notable tracks such as "Lamplight", "Marley Purt Drive" and "Melody Fair", the latter of which features on the 1973 compilation Best of Bee Gees Vol. 2. The album was reissued as a single disc in September 1976 when interest was revived in the Bee Gees' career. Since then the album has gained increasing critical acclaim. It was reissued again in January 2009, as a deluxe three-disc set, and is included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.Wikipedia
Well. Not just a Bee Gees album, but a Bee Gees concept album. Not just a Bee Gees concept album, but one where significant creative differences resulted in not just one but two Bee Gees concept albums. About a Ukranian port. The first song alone lasts 1 day, 7 hours and 34 minutes.
Expectation: Some funky Bee Gees beats to energise my day Reality: What the hell is this
I like the Bee Gees pre disco albums. This is sort of their magnum opus - a big sprawling concept album in the wake of Sgt Pepper's, with hints of Beach Boys/Pet Sounds, Dylan's more country inflected sound here and there, and maybe a bit of Nilsson? I'm a sucker for this sort of ambition. One thing that I think holds this album back is the lead singing style, which often comes across so melodramatically when they lean in on that vibrato. I can see how it can be a big turn off to some but to me it is just sort of funny - which I'm sure is not the intended reaction. This sounds like the soundtrack to a musical and I find it quite enjoyable. Drags on a bit towards the end though.
This album showcases two things, neither of them good. Firstly, it highlights the problems that arise when an artist takes themselves too seriously; secondly, it illustrates how concept albums, although sometimes excellent and often make the lists of the best albums of all time, can also be hugely overrated and misguided. This album, to me, takes all of the fun out of a band that have created a lot of good, danceable tunes, without providing anything with any genuine further substance. At over an hour long, this thing rambles along with ideas that aren't nearly as interesting or profound, or even just as epic-sounding, as the Bee Gees must have thought it was at the time of recording. Suddenly and Whisper Whisper were the highlights on this for me, being two good tracks that didn't go on forever and were enjoyable to listen to. The rest of it went down like the Odessa
Thank Jeebus disco happened.
The group members may disagree for personal reasons, but Odessa is easily the best and most enduring of the Bee Gees' albums of the 1960s. It was also their most improbable success, owing to the conflicts behind its making. The project started out as a concept album to be called "Masterpeace" and then "The American Opera," but musical differences between Barry and Robin Gibb that would split the trio in two also forced the abandonment of the underlying concept. Instead, it became a double LP -- largely at the behest of their manager and the record labels; oddly enough, given that the group didn't plan on doing something that ambitious, Odessa is one of perhaps three double albums of the entire decade (the others being Blonde on Blonde and The Beatles) that don't seem stretched, and it also served as the group's most densely orchestrated album. Yet amid the progressive rock sounds of the title track and ethereal ballads such as "Melody Fair" and "Lamplight" were country-flavored tunes like "Marlery Purt Drive" and the vaguely Dylanesque bluegrass number "Give Your Best," delicate pop ballads like "First of May" (which became the single off the album), and strange, offbeat rock numbers like "Edison" (whose introduction sounds like the Bee Gees parodying Cream's "White Room"), and "Whisper Whisper" (the latter featuring a drum break, no less), interspersed with three heavily orchestrated instrumentals. Even the seeming "lesser" numbers such as "Suddenly" had catchy hooks and engaging acoustic guitar parts to carry them, all reminiscent of the Moody Blues' album cuts of the same era. Moreover, the title track, with its mix of acoustic guitar, solo cello, and full orchestra, was worthy of the Moody Blues at their boldest. The myriad sounds and textures made Odessa the most complex and challenging album in the group's history, and if one accepts the notion of the Bee Gees as successors to the Beatles, then Odessa was arguably their Sgt. Pepper's. The album was originally packaged in a red felt cover with gold lettering on front and back and an elaborate background painting for the gatefold interior, which made it a conversation piece.
Well, I don't know what I was expecting but it sure wasn't a store-brand Beatles album. If it weren't for Gibb's ridiculous vibrato and the blatant rip-off nature of the album, it'd almost be good. But it's not.
This evening I found a cold wet washcloth behind the toilet in my kids' bathroom and found it more interesting than this album. I was actually looking forward to this, but the Bee Gees Odessa is terrible, has zero personality and was a huge disappointment.
Wow, didn't expect this at all, I quite liked it. I wonder when they changed their style drastically, might investigate..
This was definitely not what I expected. When you think of The Bee Gees, you think disco obviously. But this album could not be farther from that. This is a double album filled with some really beautiful pop songs, some orchestral elements, and just overall the complete opposite of what I thought this would be going into it. The album starts off at an incredible point, if the album had stuck at that level I might be willing to give it a five, but it does eventually slip. Only one or two songs are truly weak but overall the album sorta begins to drag. It's a double album, clocking in at over an hour, and it would be much better if it was just 20-25 minutes shorter. Still some really great songs in here, though.
Wasn't sure what to expect from pre-disco Bee Gees. What I got was a very pleasant baroque pop album.
There is just too much greatness here to leave it at a 3. The run time is too long and the country tunes throw off the album, but the sound, harmonies, orchestration are so perfect.
This is an absolutely bizarre project, in a way that I am extremely partial for. Not entirely, perhaps due to being primed by Trafalgar first. In chronological order, that album comes across as a less interesting and slimmer version of Odessa. However, the songs here ride the edge of too cute for their own good, and there are maximal arrangements galore stretched out over a double album. Essential? Not on first listen, but this could be a favorite once the palette is cleaner.
No disrespect to Redcliffe but this was average at best. Their harmonies sometimes sounds like Free Willy calling out for his mum when he was stuck in the fish tank. Suddenly and Whisper Whisper were good though.
Get these guys a statue. 2nd best band from the Isle of Man... Sexy Breakfast if you're wondering...
better than expected but my bar was pretty low.
I never knew there was a pre-disco version of the Bee Gees. Turns out I didn't really need to know either. I'm not a disco fan. But I accept the iconic role the Bee Gees had in shaping that era in music and culture. However, "Odessa" feels like an also-ran in a late-60s era of much better, similar music.
not my Bee Gees
Sounded like a cover band except all they played were song I never heard. Thank god they found their sound later because it was painful to listen to them trying to sound like other bands. Sad.
OMG, there are so many low points in the first few songs my head was spinning trying to decide the lowest. Was it the pompous and schmaltzy Odessa, inspired by Robin Gibb seeing a travel brochure? Or trying to sound backwoods West Virginia on “Marley Purt drive” (with a “gotcha” at the end, letting us know the 15 kids are actually from an orphanage) or the choir in a song detailing Thomas Edison’s accomplishments? Or possibly the three symphonic pieces on the second disc that sound like they were written for “Lassi Come home”? Wikipedia tells us “The album was not well received by the public or the music press on release, and led to a decline in the band's fortunes.” No kidding.
How bout that opening track? The album really gets off to a good start - LOL. I find it hard to like anything on Side 1. The start of Side 2 is hopeful as the banjo comes out and they venture to the country on Marley Put Drive, but there is way too much fussing over the vocals for the country sound to work. In the next track, Edison, they decide to repeat the phrase "Edison Came to stay" 100 times. I don't get it. Whisper Whisper ends the side. The keyboards, percussion and guitar in that song are fun. Is this the turning point for the album? Nope. Side 3 starts with Lampshade which is hideous.The fiddle comes out for Give Your Best as they return to country. The fiddle is fine, but the Bee Jees ruin it. This would have been a hard listen if it were a single album. As a double, it's painful.
What a shocking album. I struggled to make it beyond the first track. It's billed as a concept album. That concept must be themed around crap. Lyrics such as "You know the neighbours that live next door, they haven't got their dog anymore..." don't help. I wish zero stars was an option.
Very weird coincidence to get this album on the day Russia invades Ukraine. Anyway, utter crap.
I like them have many of their songs on my play list.
This was an amazing album. I was well pleased.
This was beautiful, and sooooo different from what the Bee Gees are known. I mean, there was even some Country in there! Very pleasant listening experience.
Listened twice in a row
Oh! It's their Melody Fair!!
Definitely influenced by The Beatles and the Beach Boys this album is great musically and can be put in the same category as some of the top albums of the 60s and 70s. Enjoyed this one a lot more than any other Bee Gees album I've heard.
This aint disco. Reminds me of the beatles. Very cool stuff
Some fabulous Baroque pop that tickles my fancy greatly. Not what I expected from the Bee Gees though!
I’m a big fan of The Bee Gees, but up until this project had not really looked into their 60s catalog of albums. It’s something I’ve meant to do, so I’m glad this project has finally jump-started this long overdue endeavor. The versatility and craftsmanship of The Bee Gees is quite evident when you consider the many decades and styles of music they have created. Now that I have listened to two of their 60s albums, I’m further impressed at their work. This album is fascinating, beautiful and ambitious and after a few listens I can now say I’m a fan of every decade of The Bee Gees. I loved the orchestral grandeur, the concept and backstory, and the songs. While they may not have the fierce hooks of some of their later hits, the songs on Odessa still have great melodies and complex arrangements and the songs opened up more with every listen. I only wish I was listening to the original flocked album!
Well this just smacks of quality. This isn't the Bee Gees I grew up with but it is top-notch!
It was really well done, and their original sounds with this album is fantastic. It’s either a hit or miss but don’t sleep on this, deserves a listen
This was not what I expected. As soon as I saw Bee Gees I almost didn’t even want to listen to it because I’m not a fan of disco at all. WOW. A genre-bending magical journey is the only way to describe this album.
Got some nice Beatles vibes, and tons of great orchestral stuff.
This sounded nothing like I was expecting it to.
Really diverse music, very enjoyable
4.5 Que sorpresa de álbum, es algo que movió totalmente mi percepción sobre los BG's. Siempre creí que solo habían hecho música disco. Comienza muuuy lento para la mayoría de la gente pero como a mi me gusta mucho el progresivo, solo me tomó por sorpresa que no fuera disco, ya para "Marley purt drive" se pone mas movida la cosa y después de "Whisper,whisper" va bajando el ritmo tal como si fuera una opera con el gran finale de "the british opera". muy bien ganado el lugar como una de las primeras bandas en hacer opera rock/rock sinfónico (sinceramente pensé que eso había nacido con KISS y Metallica). Sigo impresionado con toda la mezcla musical del álbum, que sea el sexto y que no es música disco. Sin duda alguna se va a colar entre mis discos favoritos. Me gusta mas sin el falsete de Barry, le voy a dar una vuelta a los demás discos
I thought the The Bee Gees were Disco, but this sounds like the poor man's Beatles and I swear I don't mean that as an insult.
Interesting. I only knew bee gees because of their disco dance music. This album is kind of a mishmash of other styles.
aint no b without the g's broooooo
Zobaczylem nazwe bee gees i obawialem sie, ze czeka mnie kolejne diskowe sluchowisko, bo wlasnie z synthowego disko i teledyskow wpaczajacych w kamere kojarze te bande, ale poza tym nic wiecej o niej nie wiedzialem, a dostalem cos nieoczekiwanie dobrego podwojny albumik, ponad godzina muzyki ktora okreslilbym jako pomost miedzy beatelsami a beach boyami, glownie przez to ze jest to albumers konceptowy, wiec odniesienia do sierzanta peppera, czy pet sounda wydaja mi sie jak najbardziej na miejscu, zwlaszcza biorac pod uwage podobny styl wokalny jakim operuja bee geesy, takze banda braterska, wiec harmonijne wokale tworza ciekawe kompozycje, jestem calkowicie zbaflowany jak roznorodne jest to 60 minut, klasyczne rokowe traki jak you will never see my face again, influencje muzyka country w give your best czy marley purt drive, a tutaj kolejny zwrot akcje psychodelika beatelsowa sie wylewa z suddenly, whisper whisper czy i laugh in your face, koniec no nie zupelnie, sa rowniez traki calkowicie instrumentalne mini symfonie british opera czy seven seas symphony, cala trojka braciowa ma swoje traki na ktorych wokaluje, ale reszta jest wtedy wsparciem, dodatkowi dwa czlonkowie niebraterscy ogarniaja gitarke prowadzaca i drumersy, instrumentalnie bez zbednych ekscesow i nawet traki kontrowe w ktorych naprawde duzo sie dzieje, przez dodatek studyjnych banjosow czy smyczkow nie sa zbyt chaotyczne, kawalki sa tak prosto pisane, a jednoczesnie bardzo sluchalne przez gwalcenie kaczowych refreniorow i ich chorowanie, od strony technicznej nie mam sie do czego przyczepic, produkcja zrobila robote, bo spotifajowa skarbnica zawiera ultra deluxowa wersje prawie 2 i pol godziny, na ktorej znajduja sie early mixy i alternatywne tejki, wiec mozna uslyszec jaka roznice zrobili w koncowym produkcie, wiec kolejny raz jestem milo zaskoczony, ze poznaje na nowo zespol ktory juz znalem, zwlaszcza dostaja w rece taki konceptowy gem, no i redemption ark brytowej muzyki popularnej
I only knew the disco Bee Gees, but this is surprisingly good.
Decent songs, each sound a little too similar to one another though.
Ambitious in scope, trippy, complex, engaging, and psychedelic. In which the Bee Gees get their Sgt. Peppers on. It’s probably too long and it doesn’t make a lot off narrative sense as a concept album, but I still really enjoyed this.
Huh. I didn't expect Bee Gees to be so versatile. Or a 1969 album to be so long :D But yeah, listenable ^^
Pretty good. Too many songs on this album and a few were instrumental
An interesting concept album, different than I was expecting from Bee Gees (who I mostly enjoy for their greatest disco hits). Almost Beatles-esque, I can see why it's compared to Sgt Pepper's. The touches of country and psychedelic vibes were interesting too. The whole album really took me by surprise for the style and tone. Great choice! My top pick is 'Marley Purt Drive' - feels more like CCR than Bee Gees!
Entretenido, pero siempre en mi poco conocimiento, si no me dicen que son los Bee Gees y lo hubiera escuchado, habría jurado que eran los Beatles o algo así. 8/10
That was not what I was expecting. A bit of prog, a bit of country, a bit of folk-rock and no disco in sight. Surprisingly enjoyable.
This was pretty gloriously unexpected! Took a second listen to get my head around what I was hearing. Only really knowing the Bee Gees' disco output, a sweeping melodramatic concept album about the close of the 19th century rather took me by surprise! Fave track - "Edison", maybe? Or "Whisper Whisper". More listens are probably required...
12/02/2021 Today's Album: "Odessa" by Bee Gees - Usually when I think of the Bee Gees, I think of the high-pitched singing in tracks like, "stayin alive", but this album really shows their musical range. Slow ballads, strange psychedelic sound scapes, somewhat cloudy or rustic production, catchy hooks, soft melodies, smooth psychedelic pop, Beatles worship, and more make this album what it is. I like how much this album makes me want to sway and there really isn't too much to complain about in the instrumentals. If anything, I would say the record drags on in the middle few songs, but it makes sense as they are seemingly experimenting with a ton of different ideas. Piano ballads, upbeat country tracks, and general bangers come out of the second half. This album is really good and I think it took me a few listens to really understand it, but now that I gave it the time it deserves I like it a decent bit. Score: 8/10 Fun, creative, and enjoyable Highlights: You'll Never See My Face Again, Marley Purt Drive, Edison, Melody Fair, Lamplight, I Laugh In Your Face, First Of May
Cool!! Orchestral and christmasy
Lots of interesting stuff here! Parts were very charmingly folksy, some parts felt a touch country, some parts sounded like the Beatles. There were songs made me feel warm inside, like Lamplight and First of May. I loved the opening track, full of drama. Really liked the tracks without words too, especially the album closer. Lots of magic here; sometimes I even got Christmas vibes somehow. A lot of the tracks blended together for me. I think I'd need more time with this album to properly appreciate it, but there's a lot here to love.
Det här var hur bra som helst??? Inte alls beredd på soundet, trodde det skulle va disco. Riktigt nära att dela ut en femma men håller mig i tyglarna! Goa Supertrampvibes! Bäst hittills av det jag inte redan har hört
Toppen, visste att den skulle vara bra men blev ändå glatt överraskad. Kanske saknar några 'klassiker' och skulle behöva tightas till på ställen för att verkligen bli ett 5/5 album dock.
Man ba va händer. Sexigt av dem att göra det här albumet
Not the Bee Gees I expected but still pretty good
I was surprised by this album. I have always associated the Bee Gees with disco, and this wasn't that. Quite a range and depth here.
Интересный альбом, есть красивые композиции. Ближе к концу хуже запомнился, чем в начале прослушивания.
I think this is the first time I have listened to a full record of theirs. Very good.
Never thought they were not into dance music from the start. A very interesting piece.
Fun vibey rock album. Reminds me a bit of the beatles in the quirky songs
I didn't think I'd be able to make it past the seven minute plus title track. But the more I listened, the more it grew. By the end, you forget that it's a double. I'll take two more, please.
Its an interesting concept album, you can see they tried to replicate the magic that The Beatles and Beach Boys were doing in the late 60's. 7/10 Favorite Tracks: Odessa, Lamplight
Had expected this to be on the list, given the album's reputation as the best Bee Gees album of the sixties/early 70s. Not sure why: most of those albums seem to consist of >>5* singles and some lesser material. And in my memory this album is quite uneven as well (apart from being a bit more orchestral). Listened to it again a few times todays and it started to grow on me: 4 stars.
Oh wow. So like most people, I only really know the Bee Gees from their disco hits, although I did see their documentary and was aware that they started off in white R&B. I didn't realize that they went full Pet Sounds at some point, though! Honestly, I like this a lot more than their falsetto-heavy hits, and I can see this be a real grower. C+, maybe B-?
A little long but sooo listenable
Overall, I enjoyed it. It was different from what you'd normally think of when you hear the Bee Gees. Not sure how often I'd relisten to it, but it's got a worthwhile place in the 1001 albums.
Surprisingly great. I hadn't ever listened to a Bee Gees album before and had no idea they had music that sounded like this. Love the mix of orchestral, baroque pop, country, folk, and other styles. Very rich sound and well-produced.
This is a very sprawling album that is not what you think of when you think of the Bee Gees. A lot of it was cringy and pretentious which is the big risk when you do a concept album like this. Enjoyed it overall even though there I had some undeniable second hand embarrassment during some of the more corny parts. 3.75 stars.
Surpreendente, pop com qualidade em que a pretensão de apresentar ao épico se justifica.
This is like an album full of Paul McCartney's weirdest post-Beatles songs, but I think mostly in a good way?
I surprisingly kind of loved this. Who knew the Bee Gees have more depth than their cheesy disco would lead you to assume. I shouldn't be surprised since I knew First of May from an old mix my mom would play in the house while cleaning but had somehow forgotten about. This deserves another listen, but what a pleasant surprise.
A third double album in a row and this is taking up much time! After trashing their album Trafalgar - one of the worst records I have ever heard - I was pleasantly surprised by Odessa. Exemplary songwriting, luscious arrangements, big baroque pop. Ambitious, sure, exhausting, perhaps, but a showcase for the talented brothers.
huh never listed to any pre-disco Bee Gees before pretty interesting, I guess they kinda just sound like Beatles wannabes there’s some really good stuff here but nothing that stood out as too spectacular solid 8/10 to me
the bee gees are fucking great. there's so much talent that goes into making music that sounds this good, and voices that mesh this well. always always a cool listen
Disney theme with funky sound staging
I can't quite dance to the Bee Gees of the 60s the way I can to the Bee Gees of the 70s, but there is still a sound that I am fond of. A few tracks did leave me a little cold though.
Although this was a long double album, it certainly had a bit of everything to keep it interesting. And a lot of vibrato. Made me laugh a bit to read that it was re-released with the surging popularity of the disco era Bee Gees. Not sure this is what you'd want if "Stayin' Alive" was your thing. But it's a pretty cool experience and artifact of its time.
La soundtrack idéale du grand ménage de printemps
Where’s the falsetto??? That major disappointment aside, this was a wild album. It has a banjo song followed by a symphony. Nuff said.
This really surprised me as I hadn't heard of it before. And there's one song on it (First of May) that I remembered hearing in a film way, way back.
Hvað á maður að segja? Þetta er afar söngleikjalegt og metnaðarfullt, svo metnaðarfullt að hljómsveitin var næstum hætt, og hér er margt áhugavert og áheyrilegt. Þetta er ekki sérstaklega eftirminnileg tónlist við fyrstu hlustun, en svo nær hún manni. Borgar sig að hlusta aftur.
This album was not expected. I had no idea they did non disco material and this album was cohesive and full of surprisingly fun songs. Also had crazy legit bass for an album of the era. Surprised 4 stars.
Not what I expected, but very pleasant! Four stars.
Own on Vinyl
Well put on market Marley Purt Drive and you'll never guess who this is. Well, put on most of this album and I won't have a clue. And actually I prefer this side of the Bee Gees. No disco, no high pitch wailing. An actual album made by actual musicians. Rock on.
Gotta give this a 3/5 cause even though it went for fucking FOREVER it was kinda cool at least some of the time. Kinda realised that there was this point in the late 60s where all those bands who'd just gotten popular on the back of the 60s rock a la Beatles sound had gotten sick of it, wanted to experiment etc - this is like 50% "safe" songs like the ones John Lennon started complaining about the beatles making about the same time, and then 50% trying to break away from the safe stuff, as if to say "ok the times are a-changing but we're just gonna dip our toes in for the moment". The first song is... huge. Totally aiming for the sky kinda stuff, wasn't expecting that kinda thing from a 60s band.
-March 30th, 1969 Release Date (Spotify) -17 songs • 1H 4M - Not what I expected to hear from The Bee Gees. Expected 1970s staying alive but received more Prog-Rock-Pop vibes. Almost like The Beatles. -Marley Purt Drive -So far – coolest part of the album isn’t even the lyrics. The sound is nearly interchangeable with something like a Beatles Album. Some songs do something interesting with their direction. The most surprising part of the album is more the fact these kinda of sounds are coming from the same group associated with a disco scene -Suddenly -Whisper Whisper -Sound of Love — yo wtf is this song. It starts of so corny almost too much but ends with a combination of woodwind piano and brass. -
Best of the early albums. Lovely at times, 1960s weirdness but hints of the future.
Like Nick said - a solid Blood & Chocolate 3. It was alright, but I remember looking up and realizing I was only on the fourth song when I thought I was like halfway through the album. I would have never guessed Marley Purt Drive was by the Bee Gees! I think the middle portion of the album was best. Didn’t really understand how it was a concept album but I also didn’t look much into the lyrics.