Mr Natural - Bee Gees

Date: 1974
Label:
RSO
Click here for full track listing

Where to Buy

Buy CD (released 1993)

Reviews
Nicholas James


This was the album that began the first true rebirth of the Bee Gees, a rebirth that would take them to the top of the world, make the group multi-millionaires and see them - in the space of a few short years - shape the music of a generation. Yet, Mr Natural was a total commercial flop, performing no better than the much-maligned material they had been churning out for the past few years. So how could this album be seen as a rebirth? Read on...

At this point in the Bee Gees career, the group appeared to have lost the support of both music critics and the general public alike, with seemingly nothing they released for the past two to three years making any sort of impression on the charts. They had even had an album rejected by their record company. So their manager, Robert Stigwood, sent them away to the USA to work with producer Arif Mardin. With Mardin, the Bee Gees would explore their love of R&B music - something that could be detected in their music in their first album, but which had all but disappeared through the early 1970s. They would match these R&B influences with their ability to write memorable and innovative pop songs, with marvellous effect. Mardin encouraged the brothers to move in the direction of a heavily black-influenced, urban sound. The album that resulted, Mr Natural, was a big change from what had gone before and, perhaps more importantly, it was very, very good.

Gorgeous ballads like 'Charade' and 'Voices' sit alongside agile tracks such as 'Throw A Penny' and the fantastic, inspired single 'Mr Natural'. The album has a vision and a cohesive sound that carries the listener on a journey that takes in other influences such as country & western ('Lost In Your Love') and US truck rock ('Heavy Breathing'). Stand-out tracks include the breathy R&B track 'Down the Road', featuring one of Barry Gibb's best vocal performances to date, and the wonderful 'Dogs' - a story of a homeless person.

There is no question that this is the best album the Bee Gees had produced since Odessa in 1969, yet it was not a commercial success. In hindsight, it is seen as a warm-up to the next album, Main Course, which would really change the face of the group (and music) forever, but at the time it must have been worrying for the brothers and their record company. Thankfully, the Gibb brothers and their investors persevered and the groundwork of Mr Natural prepared the group for an amazing transformation.

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Where to Buy
Buy CD (released 1993)


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