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Robin's Reign (1969)
Audio CD
Track Listing

1. August October
2. Gone Gone Gone
3. Worst Girl in This Town
4. Give Me a Smile
5. Down Came the Sun
6. Mother and Jack
7. Saved By the Bell
8. Weekend
9. Farmer Ferdinand Hudson 
10. Lord Bless All
11. Most of My Life

by Nicholas James

In 1969 Robin Gibb left the Bee Gees after his relationship with older brother Barry had deteriorated significantly. Barry and Maurice Gibb went on to record the album Cucumber Castle, which spawned the number 2 hit 'Don't Forget To Remember'. Robin went on to release his first solo album, called Robin's Reign.

OK, the cover is awful. But was the music inside the album actually good? Yes and no. The pluses are that some of the songs are deeply emotional and slightly out of the ordinary, with one or two pleasant melodies thrown in for good measure. The first single, 'Saved by the Bell' falls into this category, being heavily influenced by the Bee Gees track 'I Started a Joke'. It has a powerful Robin Gibb lead vocal and an infectious melody, although the lyrics are somewhat simplistic (possibly even banal). The follow-up single, 'August October', is similarly catchy, as is the jaunty track 'Most Of My Life'. Other pleasantly simple tracks include 'Give Me A Smile', 'Mother and Jack' and 'Weekend'. But the album too often gets bogged down in long, quite dreary, songs that really go nowhere, both lyrically and melodically. Tracks like 'The Worst Girl In This Town', 'Farmer Ferdinand Hudson' and 'Lord Bless All' all fall into this category, being quite simply underdeveloped.

But what really drags this album down is the production, which is relatively poor throughout, even on the better tracks. Incessant drum machines and shoddy multi-track vocals dominate, with uninspiring use of strings and very little use of guitar.  The whole album is much less fluid and exciting than any of the previous Bee Gees albums, which suggests that Robin had, by this time either not matured musically to sustain a complete album, or that he had gone down something of a blind alley in a misguided attempt to do something different. Whether the former or the latter (and I suspect it is the latter), this is not an album that stands up to repeated listening. He would, however, do much better in future solo albums released in other decades.

This album also did little to end the feud between Robin and Barry, both of whom at this point in their careers believed they were the main reason for the Bee Gees' success. Perhaps if Robin's hit single, 'Saved By The Bell' had outperformed 'Don't Forget To Remember' in the UK charts (the latter had made it to Number 2), things would have been different and Robin's belief that he was the main talent in the group would have been borne out. However, as it transpired, 'Saved By The Bell' managed to rise to...number 2 in the charts, equalling Barry and Maurice's highest chart placing.

Perhaps we will never know.

Why Buy Robin's Reign?

To hear this creative artist in the very early stages of his fragmented solo career.