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
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
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
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
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.
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.