Polydor Records, 1975
REVIEW BY: Eric E5S16
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/27/1999
Long before The Bee Gees put disco on the map, they were making marks on the pop charts. They had been around since 1967, presenting their own sound, and it was anything but disco. Main Course, however, released in 1975, had just a small taste of what was yet to come. Two years later, the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever peaked disco music to its full tilt. The biggest hits on Main Course, "Nights On Broadway" and the #1 "Jive Talkin'" are two great songs in the beginning stages of disco for Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb: The Bee Gees.
The rest of the album is equally good, as the new sound of disco was just starting to grow. Of the ten songs on this album, less than a handful have the actual disco sound, that would later become their trademark. The remaining tunes sound as where they left off from their previous "pre-disco" albums.
"Wind Of Change" is another good disco spinning record. "Songbird" is a nice soft ballad, compared to the early Elton John. "Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)" is another favorite tune, found on many Bee Gees "greatest hits" compilations. "All This Making Love" is an album track that is just that; in my opinion, its one of my least favorite songs on this album. "Country Lanes" is another slow ballad, featuring the vibrato vocals of Robin Gibb only.
"Come On Over" is another slow tune, as it features beautiful harmony vocals. The piano and country rock-influenced guitar makes this song work so well. "Edge Of The Universe" is a medium-pop sounding record, that features Moog-sounding synthesizers. The closing song, "Baby As You Turn Away," has the high-vocal ranges that would be featured on many future Bee Gees recordings.
Main Course is a nice sounding pop album. As many may not like them, The Bee Gees proved before, during and after disco that their music can be enjoyed. Many critics have spoiled their music, hating disco, and putting the blame on The Bee Gees for making disco famous as it was. When disco died in the early Eighties, it seemed that the popularity of the Bee Gees died also. But they continued recording, despite not having as many big hits as they did, pre-disco and during.
Still, The Bee Gees are good to listen to. Even though their most recent albums have achieved some good or great reviews, it seems like the disco bug has somewhat haunted the group's career. In many of the big music magazines, The Bee Gees can still make good records. It's too bad that they don't have the popularity they once had. To some they do, but not according to the record-breakers they acclaimed with Saturday Night Fever, and the number-one songs from their album released afterwards, Spirits Having Flown.
What makes The Bee Gees sound so good, is their ability of harmony vocals. When they first started in the late Sixties/early Seventies, their harmonies were excellent, much better on the slower ballad tunes, like "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" and "I've Got To Send A Message To You". Even in the up-beat tempo songs, including disco, their harmonies are exceptionally good.
If you ever get a chance, check out the concert they did for VH-1, Storytellers. Their unplugged style concert was truly excellent. Robin, along with Barry on acoustical guitar, and Maurice on keyboards, all performed their magical vocals and harmonies they only way they could, performing their pre-disco hits, Saturday Night Fever favorites, and songs from their most recent album, Still Waters. It's a shame that their younger brother Andy, could not join them, as he died due to complications of his drug addiction in 1988. But despite his death, and the post-disco era, The Bee Gees still know how to record well, whether they record songs by themselves, or for other popular artists.