THAT'S MY JAM
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Bee Gees - Trafalgar (1971)
This may be a bold statement to some, but it is an easy conclusion for me: Trafalgar is unquestionably my favorite Bee Gees record.
This, from someone who has literally worshiped this band since birth, and was very likely even conceived to a Bee Gees tune.
The truth is, Trafalgar has for many years existed in my life as part of a (at times nightly) ritual. It starts with a small (occasionally healthy) pour of caramel-hued bourbon or scotch, a flop in my favorite easy chair, a silver-eyed fur ball yearning for a lap, and the warm, sweet crackle of needle to vinyl...a pure alien timbre magically leaps from thoroughly worn grooves to thoroughly worn speaker to thoroughly worn earhole. Eyes closed. Mind blank. Mouth saturated. Lap warm. Bliss.
How do you know if an album stands the test of time? Simply put, if you never get to the point where you can't stand listening to it. It is, as Barry coos in the opening verse of The Greatest Man In the World:
Before I heard your voice/
I never heard a sound like that before/
I want to hear it more and more/
Take me to heaven, my love...
1. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
3. The Greatest Man In The World
4. It's Just the Way
6. Somebody Stop The Music
8. Don't Wanna Live Inside Myself
9. When Do I
11. Lion In Winter
12. Walking Back to Waterloo
Especially effective moments are found throughout this record: from the original, pre-Al Green, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, to the sweeping crescendo of Israel, to the breathless, nearly-panting finale of The Greatest Man In The World...and just when you thought Robin Gibb was at his most exquisite, tightrope-walking, warbling, man-from-Mars vocal performance in the pseudo-lullaby, When Do I, comes the insane, almost feral chorus delivery of Lion In Winter. Sure, the Beatles hold sway over moments of this record, but to this listener, there is a calming purity and transcendental originality here even the lads from Liverpool in their wildest Strawberry Fields would raise a collective eyebrow at.
Download it here, but also buy the vinyl, carve out a corner, pour a depressant, call for a cat, slap on a diaper, and let go.
You can usually find a slightly dusty copy lying in a clearance bin for about .99 cents.
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