Robin Gibb 50 St. Catherine's Drive [Digipak] CD

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Robin Gibb 50 St. Catherine's Drive [Digipak] CD. Personnel: Peter-John Vettese (keyboards, background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Dwina Gibb.
Photographers: Brian Aris; Dwina Gibb; Paul Ford ; Bill Waters.
50 St. Catherine's Drive is the address where Robin Gibb and his brothers grew up on the Isle of Man in the early '50s, so its selection as the title of his 2014 posthumous album is bittersweet. It is also appropriate, as this record does feel somewhat like a homecoming, with Gibb touching upon many of the sounds and styles he played and sang over the years. Gibb wrote and recorded the majority of these songs between 2006 and 2008, roughly three years before he was diagnosed with the colorectal cancer that took his life on May 20, 2012, so it can't quite be called a deliberate last statement but it almost plays that way as it alternates between sad ballads, gently insistent midtempo pop, and the occasional dance number. Like any Bee Gees-related production after Saturday Night Fever, the production is too precise and pristine, a flaw underlined by the seemingly homemade digital production, which is just a shade too thin, but there's care evident in the construction of the songs and productions, even the sweetly melancholy closer "Sydney," which is the last song completed by Gibb in 2011 (recorded on an iPad, no less). Ultimately, the record is a bit too long and slick to grab anybody who isn't a fan of anything Gibb recorded after the Bee Gees' last comeback at the turn of the '90s, but for those hardcore fans this is a welcome farewell from Robin. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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