By Steve Newton
Be-Bop Deluxe: now that’s what I call a true seventies-rock band.
Led by singer Bill Nelson–who also wrote every single song and handled a mean guitar–Be-Bop Deluxe combined the finest elements of ’70s-era hard-rock, glam-pop, art-rock, and prog.
I bought every one of their five studio albums, and loved them all.
1974’s Axe Victim was the first to catch my eye–and how couldn’t it with that wicked skull-guitar cover art. I scooped that up with no idea what the music was like, but just adored more-Ziggy-than-Bowie tracks like “Love is Swift Arrows” and “Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape”.
Next up was 1975’s Futurama, which saw the band move from a quartet to a trio, and perhaps head in a heavier, more riff-oriented direction, as heard on “Sister Seagull” and “Maid in Heaven”.
Then came 1976’s Sunburst Finish, which continued the enthralling progression with adventurous, guitar-drenched tunes like “Crying to the Sky” and “Sleep That Burns”.
Anybody else who loved Be-Bop back in the day should be pleased to note that Esoteric Recordings have recently released a deluxe, limited-edition box set version of Sunburst Finish that features 39 bonus tracks, previously unreleased out-takes from the album sessions, a BBC Radio “In Concert” performance, a rare John Peel Show session, a previously unreleased 1976 Harvest Records promotional video for the single “Ships in the Night”, and a session for BBC-TV’s “Old Grey Whistle Test” show. The package also includes a 68-page book, a facsimile of the 1976 Sunburst Finish tour program, postcards, and a replica poster.
Who in their right mind wouldn’t want a copy?
God bless Bill Nelson.