At last, a comprehensive collection of everything the group recorded in their "Australian years," from 1963 to 1966, before their move to England and rapid ascent to international stardom. These two CDs -- an entirely different package from the similarly titled, but much shorter, compilation 1963-1966: Birth of Brilliance -- include 63 songs, some of which are quite familiar to Bee Gees fans via numerous reissues, but some of which were hard to find outside of Australia, or indeed anywhere. Actually, this turns out to be a mixed blessing, since the rarer tracks are usually way less interesting than the numerous fine Beatlesque ones (such as "Peace of Mind," "Wine and Women," "I Want Home," "All of My Life") that have been pretty easy to acquire on U.S. repackages. There are, for instance, a bunch of fairly horrible MOR pop and country covers, presumably dating from circa 1963. Although it has sometimes been claimed that the Bee Gees sounded like the Beatles by coincidence because they grew up in Manchester, on the basis of this evidence, it seems unquestionable that they deliberately revamped their sound into a Fab Four vein after the Beatles became huge. There are some cool rarities like the moody, folk-rockish "Lonely Winter" and good quality TV broadcasts of Beatles, Lovin' Spoonful, and Dave Clark Five covers (their take on the DC5's "Can't You See That She's Mine" is surprisingly good). It's also good to have comprehensive (and typo-filled) liner notes covering the Australian period, but the utter lack of specific recording/release dates and sources for any of the tracks is exasperating.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2