After the Bee Gees broke up for a short time at the end of the 1960s, Maurice, Robin, and Barry Gibb each recorded solo albums in 1970 that were unreleased, though material from each of those projects has been bootlegged. While The Loner does contain tracks that probably would have been on Maurice Gibb's solo album, it's not what the actual album would have been comprised of. It's missing some recordings known to have been made around that time, and it also adds some other recordings from the early '70s that wouldn't have been considered for the set. Even if it's only an approximation of what might have been, even if the quality of some of the cuts is below official release standard (though it's never truly bad), and even if the production of some of the numbers seems obviously unfinished, it's still a pretty interesting glimpse of what Gibb's solo album might have sounded like. It's not too far off from what the Bee Gees were doing on their group recordings in the late '60s and early '70s, and in fact it's more in line with the Bee Gees' sound than either Robin Gibb's early-'70s recordings (which were unrelentingly gloomy) or Barry Gibb's early-'70s solo work (which leaned more toward the pop, and sometimes country-pop, side of things). Some of the songs verge on the experimental (by Bee Gees' standards, at any rate), like the ghostly cinematic orchestral instrumental "Journey to the Misty Mountains"; others do recall Barry Gibb's slightly mawkish country-pop leanings ("The Loner"); others are very much in the mold of slightly florid early Bee Gees' pop/rock ("Please Lock Me Away," "Soldier Johnny"); and "Silly Little Girl" very strongly recalls the Beatles' more piano-based late-'60s work, though with a more naive and downbeat flavor. And two of the songs were actually officially issued as an obscure 1970 solo single, "Railroad" (another throwback to country-pop balladry) and the more palatable "I've Come Back" (which fits in snugly with the Bee Gees' early tuneful melancholy pop). Quite competently and engagingly written, produced, and sung, there's no reason most fans of the early Bee Gees wouldn't like this stuff as well, should it ever find official release. Note, however, that a few of the 25 songs are not quite typical of Maurice Gibb's solo work of the time, or even from the time, as the tracks also include his 1984 solo single "Hold Her in Your Hand"; a couple ridiculously fey music hall-ish numbers from the 1970 musical Sing a Rude Song; an item titled "Song for Lulu" that probably doesn't feature Gibb at all; and a version of "The Loner," "credited to the Bloomfields (who included Maurice Gibb and Lulu's brother-in-law, Billy Lawrie), that appeared on the soundtrack of the film Bloomfield.
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