Yes, this was the Bee Gees 'white' album, only this doubled LP had a red velvet cover and a 'Titanic'-like illustration in the gatefold. Now available on a single CD, it marks the end of the sixties period for the Bee Gees.
The music? This was an important time for the Gibbs' who were maturing (at ages 19 and 21) and already millionaires. The music was conceptual and starting with the title track, it delivers with powerful orchestration and emotional, lyrical simplicity. It is a skewed look at a fabled seafarer lost at sea and emotionally destitute. At least, that's what the project started out to be.
Somewhere during the recordings, egos flared and tempers snapped, so what you ended up with is a collection of half Bee Gees conceptual songs and half individual Gibb contributions. It is still a remarkable recording!
Stand-out cuts are "Marley Purt Drive" that could have been recorded by "The Band" and "Melody Fair", a single in some countries and a well covered track.
Most of the other tracks deal with period issues like, drugs, sex, rock 'n roll, psychodelia and why not? Producer Stigwood unwittingly fueled the tensions by choosing "First Of May" as the A-Side single instead of B-Side "Lamplight", which was just as strong.
Regardless, the final outcome is a conceptual album filled with an orchestrally sweeping moodiness aligned with perfect harmonies and lyrics envied by everyone. This is one of the few albums of the period with orchestral solos with the Gibbs providing the chorus. It is monumental.