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Guilty Too - Barbra Streisand (2005)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. Come Tomorrow (Duet with Barry Gibb)
2. Stranger In A Strange Land
3. Hideaway
4. It's Up To You
5. Night Of My Life
6. Above The Law (Duet with Barry Gibb)
7. Without Your Love
8. All The Children
9. Golden Dawn
10. (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away
11. Letting Go

by Nicholas James

Barry Gibb is a genius.

That might seem like quite a sweeping statement, but I can assure you that it is not one I make lightly. The word 'genius' is ridiculously overused. But the word definitely applies to Barry Gibb. He has this almost uncanny ability to write perfect pop tunes of real depth and originality, that stand head and shoulders above the crowd and remain well-remembered long after they have slipped from the charts. That he is still doing this after 42 years in the business is quite an achievement, but not surprising really when you get to know his music.

For this album, Barry Gibb teams up with Barbra Streisand again to record Guilty Too. The album is released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Guilty album, which was written and produced by Barry Gibb and produced major hit singles such as 'Woman in Love' and 'Guilty'. This is in itself quite remarkable because Barbra has effectively dragged Barry Gibb out of semi-retirement to produce his first full album for an artist other than himself and his brothers for 20 years (the last being Eaten Alive for Diana Ross in 1985). Like its 1980 predecessor, Guilty Too is also entirely written and produced by Barry Gibb and, as with Guilty, Barry sings two duets with Barbra Streisand, this time called 'Come Tomorrow' and 'Above the Law'. Both use Barry's vocal talents to their best potential, the former being a particularly outstanding doo-wop/country-pop track, the latter being a lightweight piece of Carpenters-style MOR. Both are nice in their own way, though.

'Night Of My Life' sees Gibb return to a musical genre he knows better than most - dance music. This isn't a style of music that Barbra Streisand is particularly well-known for, but she rises to Barry's challenge. 'All The Children' is a rich, elegant track, with a crisp, neoteric sound and a killer chorus. Barry's backing vocals stand out on most of the tracks, adding a real depth to the material. In fact, all the new tracks have something to commend them. You will want to play them again and again.

Two of the tracks are reworkings of old Gibb songs. '(Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away' is Barry Gibb's third version of this track (the first was for Andy Gibb on his Shadow Dancing album in 1978, the second for the Bee Gees on their 1979 Greatest album). This may well be the best version of all, building from a soft ballad to a everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tour de force. The final track is 'Letting Go', which originally featured on the Barry Gibb solo album Hawks. This version of the track is substantially better than the original, which suffered from stodgy production and self-conscious vocals from Barry Gibb. This is a reinvigorated track, one of the best tracks on the album.

However, for me the real stand-out track is the first single, 'Stranger In A Strange Land' - a topical song about soldiers going to war in far off countries. This is just about the most perfect piece of pop confection that has been created in recent years. Infectious, relevant and very, very clever. The interesting change of key as the chorus rolls in, the astonishingly beautiful backing vocals, Streisand's solid central performance, the catchy opening bars (repeated throughout the track). Pop songs don't get much better than this superlative piece of work. It deserves to become a classic.

I wanted to resist comparing this album to the original Guilty album, mainly because it stands on its own as a great musical project. But, if I was forced into such a comparison, I would say that this is the superior album. Sumptuously produced, fresh, innovative songwriting, some really great vocals. Yes, Barry has pulled it off again!

There is no one else in the industry quite like Barry Gibb. I tip my hat to him.

Why Buy Guilty Too?

To hear the classic Gibb/Streisand collaboration again. This is not just an anniversary album, it is a fantastic recording of the highest quality with Barry Gibb back on top form again. Also released in a dual disc version, with DVD featuring a selection of videos from the album and an interview with Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand.

The original Guilty album has also been re-released, as a double disc with accompanying DVD of Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand performing the songs 'Guilty' and 'What Kind Of Fool' live.