Between the recording of their Life in a Tin Can and Mr. Natural albums, the Bee Gees cut an entire album in Hollywood titled A Kick in the Head Is Worth Eight in the Pants, working with musical arranger Jimmie Haskell. Although a couple of songs ("Elisa" and "Wouldn't I Be Someone") did come out on a single in mid-1973, the group was dissatisfied with the result and decided to cancel the release. This bootleg presents all ten tracks from the shelved LP in their original running order, along with four other songs that were submitted in January 1973, though it's been speculated that those four cuts were not intended to be part of an album, but used for potential B-sides (as one of them, "King and Country," indeed was). It's not one of the Bee Gees' major works, but it's not too obvious why they decided to withhold it from the public. These are amiable, tuneful songs in the group's usual mildly bittersweet, introspective early style, though perhaps the production was a little too lushly laid-back for its own good. The arrangements sometimes fall just short of early Barry Manilow territory, albeit with much better songs and singing. But others, like the winsome "Losers and Lovers," have a far more forceful edge. With its steel guitar and strings, "Home Again Rivers" skirts countrypolitan music; "Castles in the Air," with its Badfinger-style slide guitar and dramatic keyboard-based melody, is perhaps the strongest track; and "It Doesn't Matter Much to Me" would be redone shortly afterward by the band in a faster arrangement. The four numbers that might have been recorded as B-sides rather than album tracks are similar to those that would have definitely been on the LP, the most interesting of them being "Dear Mr. Kissinger," in which the Bee Gees' relatively seldom-voiced social consciousness rears it head. For those who have little or no use for the group's subsequent soul-disco phase, it's the last hurrah for the classic early Bee Gees sound -- something that, to a slightly lesser degree, could be said of the rest of the A Kick in the Head Is Worth Eight in the Pants sessions as well.
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