Cucumber Castle - Bee Gees

Date: 1970
Label:
Polydor
Click here for full track listing

Where to Buy

Buy CD (released 2004)

Reviews
Nicholas James

How do you follow up the masterpiece that was Odessa? Sadly, this was almost certainly not the question that was on the Bee Gees' mind when they recorded Cucumber Castle. As you can see from the cover image, Robin is conspicuous by his absence. The Gibb brothers had just been through a very difficult patch, which had started when the Odessa album was recorded. Barry's relationship with Robin had deteriorated dramatically as 1969 progressed, until the two could no longer work together. Robin jumped ship, leaving Barry and Maurice to carry on the Bee Gees name.

Given the behind-the-scenes upheaval, it is surprising that Barry and Maurice managed to pull off an album this good. (The album's slightly odd cover, by the way, is explained by the fact that it tied in with a television special, starring British comedian Frankie Howerd alongside the two brothers.) Whilst the album suffers from the lack of Robin's voice and the brothers' three-part harmonies, the song writing is as strong as ever and Barry and Maurice are on top form. The production on Cucumber Castle is perhaps less interesting than the previous albums, and the group start relying on ballads to carry the album, something that would be much more pronounced over the coming years.

But there are some very strong tracks. The opening track is a pleasant little ditty, with nice vocals from Barry. Tracks like 'Then You Left Me' and 'I Was The Child' are great love songs in the classic early Bee Gees tradition. The country-tinged 'Don't Forget To Remember' is one of the Bee Gees' great tracks and deserved its number two chart placing as a single. 'The Lord' is an amusing song on the subject of religion, with some great guitar work, and Maurice's 'token' song is the equally amusing 'My Thing'. It is difficult to tell some of the later tracks apart at first listen, but even they grow on the listener. 'Turning Tide' is an acquired taste, but once acquired, it is mouth-watering.

And that really sums up the album as a whole. It probably isn't what the Bee Gees would have done had the group not started to fall apart at the seams, but after a few listens, you will love it to bits!


Jostein Hansen

Cucumber Castle was released at a time when the Bee Gees no longer existed and the final album compilation did not really showcase how many great songs, including several that were more up-tempo and experimental, that Barry and Maurice had finished before they split. The album could have had a very different sound if they had chosen these songs from the sessions of 1969:
 
'Who Knows What A Room Is?' - Up-tempo rocker with a fantastic, strong vocal by Barry.
'Give A Hand, Take A Hand' - A fast soul guitar ballad.
'Every Time I See You Smile' - A beautiful ballad by Maurice.
'Every Morning, Every Night' - A slow hard beaten bluesy.
'One Bad Thing' - A very strong and catchy pop song, could have been a big hit.
'End Of My Song' - A heavy blues rocker.

There was a later remake of 'Give A Hand, Take A Hand', which was released on the Mr Natural album.

Hopefully all these songs/outtakes will be included on the new remastered versions from Reprise/Rhino Records.


 

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Where to Buy
Buy CD (released 2004)


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