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Children of the World ()

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The Bee Gees' second R&B album, Children of the World, had the advantage of being written and recorded while the group was riding a string of Top Ten singles and the biggest wave of public adulation in their history off of the Main Course album. The group felt emboldened, but was also hamstrung by the absence of producer Arif Mardin, whose services were no longer available to them now that RSO Records had severed its ties to Atlantic Records. So they produced it themselves, all six bandmembers doing their best to emulate what Mardin would have had them do, with assistance from Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson. The result still sounds a lot like Mardin's production from the previous album, and the group was in very good form -- stretching out not only on disco numbers like "You Should Be Dancing," but also delivering beautiful soul ballads such as "You Stepped Into My Life" and "Love So Right" on side one, while side two featured a last look back at the older, more romantic Bee Gees sound. The album was also somewhat experimental in its way, making more use of synthesizers in a pop music setting than had ever been heard on a mainstream, commercial long-player before; not all of it works, because the technology wasn't quite perfected yet, but "Boogie Child," "Love Me," and "The Way It Was," as well as the title track were quite daring on a production level in their time, for a group shooting for millions of sales. Overall, the album isn't quite as beguiling as Main Course, which was a liberating experiment from start to finish. Children of the World is beautifully sung, but the group's sound changed here as well, Barry Gibb's falsetto now dominating the vocals, with Robin and Maurice Gibb moved out of center stage. But it's still one of the most enjoyably lighthearted albums in the group's history, and the dance numbers provided a fore-taste of their work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi Hide synopsis

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