Be-Bop Deluxe

Be-Bop Deluxe was founded in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, by Bill Nelson in 1972. They never played bebop music, but instead came out of the blues-based British rock scene of the late 1960s. The band's sound early on was a mixture of glam rock and progressive rock band, not unlike Queen, but sounding nothing like them. By 1977 the band had moved to a more mainstream sound at the time as the band were being influenced by punk, new wave and David Bowie's Berlin-era at the end of the 70's.

Axe Victim Be Bop Deluxe - Axe Victim (EMI/Harvest) 1974

1. "Axe Victim" (5:14)
2. "Love Is Swift Arrows" (4:12)
3. "Jet Silver And The Dolls Of Venus" (4:10)
4. "Third Floor Heaven" (2:27)
5. "Night Creatures" (3:34)
6. "Rocket Cathedrals" (3:00)
7. "Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape" (3:23)
8. "Jets At Dawn" (7:19)
9. "No Trains To Heaven" (6:39)
10. "Darkness (L'Immoraliste)" (3:22)
11. "Piece Of Mine" [live] (5:13)
12. "Mill Street Junction" [live] (4:43)
13. "Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape" [live] (7:56)

I was in grade school when this was released. I had already begun to get into bands like Kiss and Aerosmith at this point in my life. I had a friend who was also into these bands. He had a brother who was a record collector. We were hanging out at his house and I noticed the cover for "Axe Victim" sitting on the top of the turntable. I was drawn to the cool skull guitar and the simple layout. As well, the band's haunting band photo was equally Of course his brother played the record for us. I became a fan of this album on that day. I sold all my vinyl in 1990 and basically forgot about this gem until I found a copy on I had forgotten how much I liked this. "Axe Victim" is guitar oriented, slightly glam, hard rock. Being that "Axe Victim" was the band's first album, I don't think Nelson was 100% sure of the direction he wanted to take his band. Because of this, Be Bop Deluxe offer up an eclectic mix of material that is sometimes jazzy and sometimes heavy. Comparisons to David Bowie and Mott the Hoople wouldn't be far off, although I think Bill Nelson's Be Bop Deluxe possess a sound that is all their own. Nelson's guitar work and soulful vocals are what makes this album so compelling, although Ian Parker's guitar playing, Robert Bryan's bass work and Nicholas Chatterton-Drew drum work is the backbone of the music.

This 1990 reissue of their 1974 album contains bonus live versions of 'Piece Of Mine', 'Mill Street Junction' & 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape' from 1977 as bonus tracks. The reissue also contains a 12 page booklet with lyrics, photos and a short biography.

Sunburst Finish Be-Bop Deluxe - Sunburst Finish (EMI/Harvest) 1976

1. "Fair Exchange" (4:49)
2. "Heavenly Homes" (3:36)
3. "Ships in the Night "(4:03)
4. "Crying to the Sky" (3:57)
5. "Sleep That Burns" (5:16)
6. "Beauty Secrets" (2:47)
7. "Life in the Air Age" (3:59)
8. "Like an Old Blues" (3:27)
9. "Crystal Gazing" (3:24)
10. "Blazing Apostles" (4:29)
11. "Shine" (7:48)
12. "Speed of the Wind" (4:20)
13. "Blue as a Jewel" (5:11)

"Sunburst Finish", with it's bizarre cover art, is held by many fan's as the band's best album. This is a solid, progressive rock album that is hard to categorize. There are some comparison's to Queen that can be made, although Be-Bop Deluxe are hardly a Queen clone. At times I am also reminded of bands like Gentle Giant, King Crimson and David Bowie. As usual the songs are all written by Bill Nelson. Nelson is a charismatic talent and his guitar work is exemplary. His guitar work is the center of most of these songs. Just check out the guitar solo in "Crying to the Sky". However, Nelson isn't the whole band. Rather, he is ably and capably backed by Charlie Tumahai on bass, Andy Clarke on keyboard and Simon Fox on drums. (Charlie Tumahai has since passed away.) "Sunburst Finish" was actually the band's first U.S. release, although it didn't do quite as well as it did overseas. The album entered the UK charts at No. 35. "Ships in the Night" was a minor hit in February 1976 and made the British Top, however, Be-Bop Deluxe were just never able to completely break into the mainstream. A good number of these tracks turned up on the band's excellent live album "Live in the Air Age."

I own the 1990 reissue on Harvest/ EMI of their 1976 album with three bonus tracks. Also contains a 12-page booklet with photos, lyrics and a short biography.

On vinyl:
Axe Victim
Sunburst Finish
Live! In the Air Age

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