Naturally, when reading Sharpe’s Tiger you can see its influence on the 2006 telefilm Sharpe’s Challenge. The plots to blow the western wall, Sharpe’s undercover work, and his captivity all end up part and parcel in Challenge. When reading the book, I felt familiar with it already from Challenge, even though the film is supposedly a composite of the entire
Although it hails no major surprises in its lineup, 2001’s The Record may be the ultimate Bee Gees compilation set. I purchased the double cassette shortly after its release-I’m old fashioned and hadn’t made the jump to admitting I wanted a Bee Gees CD. My sister and I cracked it open on the way home, and The Record remained a car staple until I got my own vehicle-with a CD player.
The cover from Universal has a slightly rushed feel. No major details and a few pics of the boys through the years. I suspect not much thought went into the presentation, but I’m sure it was easy to pick a starting point. First’s New York Mining Disaster 1941 is ideal to start Barry, Robin, and Maurice’s history. This melancholy tale still rings true 40 years after it topped the British charts. 3 voices, a beat, and superb story will surpass today’s bubble gum pop any day.
Naturally, To Love Somebody should be here as another staple in the Brother‘s songwriting belt. Kid bands today are still trying to capture the magic of this song-penned by the Boys for the ill fated Otis Redding. Who knew?
Holiday is an excellent song on its own, but I always feel like it gets the shaft on compilations. Competition before and after might make this somber tale a skipper, but listen again folks. Sheer poetry.
Massachusetts is darling. You can’t help but listen more and more to the sweet melody or Robin’s easy voice. Also from Horizontal, by contrast World showcases the boys quiet psychedelic rage. Initially, I thought World was rather obscure sounding, but it has to be popular now. These sounds are back in style and World also made it to Number Ones.
Who last tried to cover Words? Barry’s sweet tune has often been attempted, but the original is tops. Even Robin took a stab at this one Live.
I don’t think I can ever say enough about I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You! My first favorite Bee Gees song. Although The Record shaves a few seconds off each tune here and there, any rendition of Message is essential for introducing the Gibber in training.
Mysterious I Started A Joke follows Message in pure melancholy Robin fashion. Do you think he will ever tell us what this song is really about? Nobody knows its meaning yet all can relate. Excellent.
Saved By The Bell and Cucumber Castle’s Don’t Forget To Remember make their obligatory appearances here representing the Brothers late sixties split. Both are slightly inferior when considered in the set and very dated compared to the timeless tunes before and after. They were however hits in their own right. Saved By The Bell and Don’t Forget To Remember mark unique individual histories for Barry, Robin, and Maurice.
Lonely Days closes Side A in perfect fashion. You start off slow, then rock at the end. It is slightly symbolic of the Gibby changes to come and still a foot tapper.
My dislike of Jive Talkin is quite irksome here because ! have to judge the old fast forward button. Too far and I’m into the next song, then the rewind takes me back to the Mr. Shrill Jive. Can I think of a song of similar time and stature to replace it? No.
I much prefer Nights On Broadway when choosing a song to represent the changed Barry, Robin, and Maurice. Pouty lyrics, kick ass music, and the discovered falsetto accenting the chorus-what could be better?
Also hailing from Main Course, Fanny Be Tender With My Love showcases the Brothers’ over the top harmony in ways no other song can. It’s tight and refined tighter each turnaround, yet it’s lofty and chorale-and you can hear every brother.
Love So Right has grown on me in recent listenings. Lyrics and softness from Barry oh yes, but I never paid much attention to the music. Indeed there are many layers here to analyze and enjoy.
Made famous by the Yvonne Elliman version, Barry, Robin, and Maurice present their recording of If I Can’t Have You here. Although it was also on Greatest, this was my first introduction to the song. Sometimes it’s weird because we are so used to Yvonne, but all be dang the boys sound like women as well.
My mastery of fast forward and rewind stems from my love for Love Me. My mother loathes this Children of The World staple not just for its melancholy feel, but also from my rewind.stop.play.fast forward.stop.play.rewind. Yes I would torture my parents just to hear a Bee Gees song.
Closing the cassette is fellow World alum You Should Be Dancing. This powerhouse highlights the full throttle the boys were about it embark on. Oh baby.
Cassette Two, Side C brings us to the heyday. The night I got The Record, my sister picked this side to start with, and of course she sang Staying Alive. Her rendition does make me appreciate the original just a bit more.
Of course, I learned to time the cassette so I could turn it over and catch How Deep Is Your Love instead. Excellent. Most excellent, Ted.
At first I was a little gun shy of Night Fever. All that disco stigma you know. With my Record cassette, however, I was able to turn it up and boogie. Shh. It really isn’t disco you know. Listen again and reminisce here with one of Barry, Robin, and Maurice’s quintessential tunes.
Ignore More Than A Woman for it’s Fever aspects and place in music and film history. Just focus on the song. It really is a piece of music genius. The lyrics and harmony are timed to perfection, and the beat is still swinging today. Marvelous.
Although Emotion dates back to the heyday with the Samantha Sang hit, this recording is an update from the boys exclusively for The Record. More rerecords follow, but Emotion is perhaps the most complete tune of them. I’m sure Maurice is there, and Barry and Robin both sound solid. The transition from a female song to male voices is perfection.
Feel good stalwart Too Much Heaven starts the Spirits whirlwind. If you haven’t heard this tune yet, go back to Mars. Tragedy is also simply a must hear. Seeing Maurice talk about Tragedy on the Keppel Road video only partly explains all the treats in this song.
Even in a compilation as big as The Record, Love You Inside Out still tops the Naughty list. Inside Out expertly captures the good and bad of the swinging lifestyle in words, music, and mood.
Guilty showcases Barry’s Grammy winning work with Barbra. Although it’s not The Bee Gees, Guilty is an important staple in the songwriting catalogue of the boys. Indeed it is a must in any history of The Brothers Gibb.
For me anyway, Heartbreaker has always been slightly lesser known. Dionne’s version is just fine, but it is a treat to hear a Gibb version in its entirety. Barry’s version here is not perfect-it seems to be just him in fact-but I love the lyrics and swaying beats. I’m so glad that this version also appears on the Love Songs CD.
Side D begins the modern day period for The Brothers-as in songs released in my lifetime 80). I dare say this side is my favorite, no maybe B. Can you choose?
We have a few Barry dominated updates, so why not one for Robin? Made famous by Kenny and Dolly’s country smash, Robin returns Islands In The Stream to its origins and gives it an R and B feel. A verse from the remake Getto Superstar is also included. Sweetness- if only to hear a Middle aged British white man say Ghetto Superstar.
You Win Again returned the Boys to the music forefront and was a chart topper no less. A lot of important people cite this one as their favorite, including Robin’s wife Dwina.
Less later day hits are included on The Record, but all the biggies are here. One represents the album of the same name, and the eighties monster hasn’t dated itself yet. Barry’s easy delivery and the band’s cool rhythm still get me dancing.
Secret Love brings the foot tapping into the nineties. It take listening to like High Civilization, but indeed Secret Love is the best song from that album, and it deserves a spot on The Record.
For Whom The Bell Tolls is edited slightly, but I’m glad the Size Isn’t Everything ballad represents here. Barry and Robin continue to volley back and forth, and their vocal time on The Record almost evens out when you think about it-and I’m sure they did. Tolls fits both brothers perfectly. I think it could be released today and still be a hit.
If ever I had a song to rival I’ve Gotta Get A Message to You, it might be Alone. The Still Waters standout is one of the best later day Bee Gees songs-if not the best one of the nineties.
I like Immortality, and if you’re getting a piece of the boys ‘songwriting for others’ catalogue, then it fits right in here. Barry’s demo however, is a tad too shrill. Again the jacket is lacking lyrics, so you’ll have to look them up online, but the boy’s poetic feel on Immortality is near perfection. Of course none of us are immortal, but love and music are.
This Is Where I Came In represents the final single by all three brothers. At the time of course we had no way of knowing, but with its smooth lyrics and expert guitar rhythms from Mo, This Is Where I Came in takes on special meaning. For any old school fan, this peak from the album of the same name is a must.
The Record closes by coming full circle. Spics and Specks ends the album in perfect Australian diddy fashion. Specks is still strong today, and that one dang note hasn’t changed in forty years. I’m not sure why they chose to end with the boys first Aussie number one, but it’s a nice touch.
So after saying I’m going to do a Here At Live review this month and then that month, I’m finally doing it! Why not take a gander at the boys 1977 Live double disc? I bought a promo record set of Here At Last from my local Gibber friend Molly, but I’ve only listening to it once or twice. My mom asked if it was really worth the $20 dollars....Heck yeah! Fortunately, I found the CD set at a shop several months later, and then all was right with the world.
If I had to tell my utmost favorite Bee Gees song, this version of I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You has to be it. Is it perfect? No. There are certainly tighter tunes out there to present as finer points of Gibb songwriting. I love the original-it’s so sappy and melancholy-but the Here at Last version of Message rocks and has that somber feel. The brass puts it over the top, and Robin is still quivering his sad tune in between. Barry’s ad-libbed ending gives Message that extra pop. There’s even a “You rock, Barry!” shout at the end. Robin’s recent live version comes close-it does after all have a full orchestra-but the height of harmony here wins out. A must hear and an excellent starting point.
As a later day Gibber, I find it refreshing to hear a live set start out with something other than You Should be Dancing (I’ve see One Night Only way too many times!) Live focuses on the old school, and it so sweet to here Love So Right live. Barry’s voice is sweet as ever, and the booming chorus keeps the powerhouse feel going. Robin and Maurice echo perfectly, and it almost feels like it’s just the boys singing a sweet diddy, never mind the 20,000 listening. Well, I don’t really know how many people the old Los Angeles Forum held. (Or as Barry says Los Angelees.)
In contrast from the first two tunes, Edge of The Universe sounds almost exactly like its Main Course original. It’s louder and Robin’s delivery seems stronger, which isn’t the case on all the songs here. Sometimes he gets drowned out by the booms. Obsessive fans will note this is the only album cover capturing Robin’s briefly there beard. Of course my nieces were more concerned with why they boys were wearing pink!
Come on Over might actually be a miss here. It is an excellent country-esque love song, but tunes like that aren’t meant for the Forum. Robin’s soft delivery softens the instruments behind. Maybe this tune was intentionally placed as a breather? Still, it is beautiful and pleasing, if unexpected live.
I like Can’t Keep a Good Man Down here more than the Children of the World original. Its instrumental length here amounts to a rocking guitar duel, as opposed to a dated seventies diddy. Quite a nice tune live that I thought was obscure, but not in 1977 it seemed. With tongues firmly in cheek, the boys and the band bring the house down. Again the only miss here seems to be Robin’s interlude. He’s louder in the chorus, but flubs the lyrics in his standout moment. Hmph.
Ah the medley! Even then the Boys had to squish all their hits into a mini show. New York Mining Disaster 1941 begins the tradition of Barry, Robin, Maurice and a microphone. Despite the band waiting patiently, Disaster needs nothing but the bare minimum. Broken into parts for the CD, a combo Run to Me/World follows Disaster. The most excellent chorus of Run to Me slides perfectly into the melancholy World. Even though I’m not sure how these two got put together, since Run to Me is from 1974’s To Whom it May Concern and World is from Horizontal. Not that it matters. The boys strong and snappy ending of World gets a rise from the crowd. As if there was any doubt.
Holiday/I Can’t See Nobody/I Started a Joke/Massachusetts continues the quickly moving medley. Although we have no video of Here At Last Live, The crowd’s giggles and cheers during Holiday gives fans in the know a picture of Maurice-obviously doing something to get attention. Although it sounds nothing like the original on First, I Can’t See Nobody sounds exactly as it does on One Night Only-20 years later. It’s spine chilling.
I Started a Joke should have gotten the full fledged treatment, but most of the song is here. If Robin gave you any doubts earlier, he washes them away here with one breath. He just needed to warm up I suppose. Massachusetts completes the set on a high note, and again Robin shifts perfectly from the melancholy Joke to uplifting Massachusetts. The over the top ending is perfect harmony.
The Boys keep things eased down with the Trafalgar hit How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. Barry balances between strong soul and wispy notes, and the music follows suit. As always the chorus is solid, and the extra echoes set the tune off.
To Love Somebody closes side one on a slow jam note. From Barry’s opening word, you can tell this version has a bit more soul to it. Maybe it’s the brass in the background or Barry’s huskier delivery, but the tune is slightly slower as well. Even though the original is dated quintessential summer of 67, this update gives the tune a serious 70s feel. It takes getting used to, but once you do, it’s dang good.
Never one to be forgotten, You Should Be Dancing starts off disc 2 of Here At Last Live. Of course my feelings for the original Children of the World track are ambiguous, but you must be in a dancing mood to give this tune a go. The brass, the band, the boys-all groove it to the hilt for 9 minutes. Yes I said 9 minutes. And this before Fever was burned into our brains.
I like Boogie Child-talk about your guilty pleasures. The original is of course dated, and the chorus is also here. I do however, so love the grooving verses and kicking music. For passing fans that think Barry is mister high pitch, it is interesting to note that the shrill vocals here are Robin and Maurice against Barry’s rough and husky delivery.
Down the Road hails from the underestimated Mr. Natural album. It rocks there just fine, but here the song seems out of place. The boys egg the audience to their feet, but Road isn’t the rabble rouser they try to make it out to be. It’s tough to sing along with Barry’s sped up vocals, and I wonder what Robin and Maurice did during this concert other than echo Barry? I think Down the Road’s placement works against it as well. My touch of negativity and yet I can’t think of a better song to replace Down the Road. Wait, is Fanny doable live?
And the one time we definitely know we here Maurice is with his “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Barry Gibb!“ introduction to Words. Like To Love Somebody, Barry summons shades of Barry White for his popular solo number. It is of course beautiful.
Not that the Boys were that stretched material wise, but the first half of Here At Last definitely has a few more memorable tunes than side 2. Wind of Change sounds awesome here, but just five years later this tune would be out of date. Pity. The one time Robin feels in volume with the music is here.
Barry, Robin, and Maurice save their cinchers for the big finish. Nights on Broadway leads the home stretch in perfect fashion and gets a rise from the crowd. It doesn’t sound that different from the Main Course hit, but the falsetto bits that changed the boys career isn’t that noticeable here. The soft interlude, however, is perfection.
And of course, Jive Talkin makes its presence known and it just has to be one of the longer songs on Here At Last. Grr. Although it’s kind of ironic, you can’t hear all of Barry’s vocal bits, for once the brass overpowers him. The big band, however, offers no major differences for my less than favorite track.
Without their traditional How Deep is Your Love/You Should Be Dancing closer of the nineties, The Brothers chose Lonely Days as the finisher here. It rocks and cracks me up. Live’s version of Lonely Days has all the ad-libs befitting a rock out and as many musical tweaks in all the right places. In later concerts, Lonely Days is jammed in the middle. People need to get up and rock their numb butts. Here, however, this unconventional ballad brings down the house and keeps it that way. I love the ending. The boys thank the audience, and shout, “Merry Christmas!”
Here at Last Live is a fascinating look at The Bee Gees getting down immediately before the Fever juggernaught. Despite a few less than powerhouses-and without Staying Alive or Tragedy or Grease-the boys could still sell out stadiums. That’s something the next generation needs to learn and Here At Last Live is the perfect time capsule to do it. Oh, and it sounds good, too.
By Kristin Battestella
Alright I confess, I was initially interested in the 1999 war drama Bravo Two Zero because of its star Sean Bean. This disturbing Gulf War film-based on the book by Andy McNab- however, transcends star power with its grit and scary realism.
SAS Sergeant Andy McNab (Bean) must take his team into
There’s really no way around spoilers this time I suppose. Since he wrote a book based on his experiences, we know McNab survives his ordeal, and if we know he gets captured, then we also know the happy go luckily opening of the film will soon turn grim. In Bravo Two Zero, however, its not knowing what happens or why it happens, but the arduous getting there is how this film gets you. Knowing the mission will go downhill, knowing the team doesn’t make it to safety, knowing the torture McNab endures-these things are disturbing and so gut wrenching to us because these aren’t things we civilians are supposed to know. War is grand and heroic! Pretty uniforms and lots of medals, right? Bravo Two Zero begs to differ. Well known in print and on screen across the pond, I’m surprised Bravo Two Zero has received so little attention in the
The supporting cast is in fine fashion, even though I have no idea who most of them are. This support behind Bean looks the part of the banged up career soldier. None of them start off pretty, and they certainly don’t end up pretty. Likewise, McNab’s captors look and sound authentically
Naturally, this film is not for the faint of heart. While perhaps worthwhile in high school classrooms for viewing and discussion, Bravo Two Zero has extensive torture scenes that should not be viewed by the squeamish, children, or anyone with post traumatic stress disorder. Shedding light on the underground of war is important, yes, but no less easy to stomach.
Of course if you don’t like Sean Bean, you might not like Bravo Two Zero-although any naysayer of the oft villain from Patriot Games and Goldeneye might be pleasantly surprised at the tour de force portrayal given here. He’s popular for his rugged good looks and bad ass personas, but its very easy to root for Bean during this two hours of abuse and dirty shame endured by McNab. It’s astonishing the pain McNab endures-mentally and physically. The things done to him; the things he made to do. Bean displays the strength and courage that the real life McNab clung to in order to survive. In my viewings, there are times I’m amazed McNab survived all he did. Bean’s by no means a glamorous actor, but I can’t see Orlando Bloom being hosed down in a torture scene. There’s nudity yes and veiled sexual content, but if you’re looking for the sexy loverboy Bean, you won’t find him here. I’m surprised Bean received no accolades or awards for Bravo Two Zero. Indeed die hard fans of the Beanster may find this simulated torture too tough to watch, but his acting chops shine through.
Contrary to my husband’s beliefs, I don’t buy every Sean Bean movie. I do have to be interested in the subject matter, you know. What struck me about Bravo Two Zero was its real life story stemming from the First Gulf War. Not many Gulf War pictures seem to be made. Three Kings with George Clooney’s side war story of gold? Courage Under Fire’s brief segments of female war action? Black Hawk Down captures the military mistakes of the time with clarity not seen since Platoon, but it’s about the
Bravo Two Zero is on the one hand very nineties. The music, the style, the clothes; and very British as well, in slang and feel. Viewing director Tom Clegg’s (Sharpe) vision today is, however, eerie and all too familiar at the same time. If Saddam Hussein was not referred to in the present tense during the film’s news footage, the audience could swear this is a tale from our contemporary action in the Gulf. It’s a little frightening to realize these things happened then, they are most likely still happening now, and since these last two wars have not shown us the error of our ways, it will probably happen again.
Despite its ruthlessness, Sean Bean fans will no doubt tune in to Bravo Two Zero. Action and war movies fans should also take a gander. There’s plenty of background material and debate on McNab to follow up with as well. It certainly isn’t pretty but Bravo Two Zero tells an important tale of grit and modern warfare. Pick up this necessary and affordable DVD today.