by Kristin Battestella
I should listen to the real Kenny Rogers album before I proceed but eh. I got the record at a thrift shop and the best thing about it is the lyrics inside the sleeve. Being just a bit Gibb biased, I listen to the Barry demo sessions instead. Where Walls Have Eyes seems more like a Bee Gees album that has Robin doing all the leads, the 1982/83 Eyes Demo Sessions is like a Bee Gees album sung totally by Barry. Pretty cool, huh?!
This Woman is one of two tracks penned by Barry and Albhy Galuten. It has a catchy vibe and some cool lyrics. Although he did all that Gambler stuff, the duet version of the song seems a bit too rough for Kenny. You and I, however, is the complete opposite of Woman. It’s just an incredible soft Barry ballad written by all three brothers. Even the duet version isn’t that bad. I don’t think they are actually duets between Barry and Kenny, just tapes mixed together, but Rogers here has a soft tone right on keel with Barry’s. Proof you can’t go wrong with a good Gibb song!
Buried Treasure is the first true country-esque song of the album. Again one of five songs done by Barry, Robin, and Maurice. I’m not sure what extent Robin and Maurice participated in the recordings but sometimes the tracks sound so professionally arranged you keep expecting them to come in somewhere. Most of these demos are indeed in quality condition. I traded How Old Are You for them. Thanks Wendy!
Ah yes, Islands In The Stream. Anyway you cut it this is just a superb song. When I was a kid I liked country music, my favorites being The Stone Canyon Band, The Judds, and Dolly Parton. I loved this song and had no clue it was really those dreaded Bee Gees! Several different mixes of this song are floating around. Barry, Barry and Kenny, Kenny and Dolly, or all three. All work superbly. Living With You sounds a little less country and a little more rock like the songs from Staying Alive. Again it sounds a little too harsh for Kenny but fits fine with Barry. Go fig.
Evening Star is the first of three tracks written by just Barry and Maurice. It’s the perfection of country, and is it me or is Maurice singing on this one, too? Where Star would be the Maurice song if this were a Bee Gees Album, the next track Hold Me is definitely the Robin song. Barry’s breathy delivery here is on form, but the lyrics and sound have Robin written all over it! It’s fun to listen and guess which brother would have been what, even if the demos hold their own twenty years later!
Midsummer Nights continues this trend. This ‘Barry song’ is the second penned with Albhy Galuten. Nights has that tropical easy feel that most of the Barry solo tunes have. This whole album is just an easy listening pleasure. Midsummer Nights has a cheerful tune, where I Will Always Love You is the broken hearted ballad of the album. Barry for the most part sings these demos in just his normal easy voice. Parts of I Will Always Love You sound like he’s straining to stay in that vain or trying not to break into falsetto. The result sound dang cool, almost epic, which fits the song perfectly.
I also found an odd demo called Saying Goodbye which is supposed to be from this session. It’s written by Barry and Maurice, yet it has the same woe as me vibe as Hold Me. It’s not bad, but it’s tough to have two such tracks on one album, and with Kenny Rogers in mind, I can see why they went without it.
Eyes That See In The Dark is an interesting set to say the least. It’s tough to believe such quality stuff was only demos for another artist. Not that it’s going to stop us from listening anytime soon!