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Be Bop Deluxe - Air Age Anthology CD (album) cover


Be Bop Deluxe


Crossover Prog

3.40 | 8 ratings

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Prog Reviewer

I never heard Be Bop Deluxe until 2006, when I bought this collection. Even though I was a teenager in the 1970s, I never met anyone who owned any of their records, or who recommended them to me. I have the impression they were never much noticed outside of the U.K., which is a shame, since they are one the freshest 1970s bands I've ever discovered.

Throughout the years I came across their name every now and then, and it was usually associated with "glam" or progressive rock. I read so many tributes to Bill Nelson's guitar playing that I finally gave in and bought this record, thinking: "They CANNOT POSSIBLY be bad!"

And sure enough they weren't. On many of their tunes, there's a strong Bowie influence (circa ZIGGY STARDUST and DIAMOND DOGS), both in the lyrics and the way of singing, which is mainly to the good as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, Bill Nelson has an attractive voice and writes truly pleasant, romantic melodies, which can be as catchy as Paul McCartney's at his best. The kind of songs that make you feel young, hopeful and energetic.

And to top it all, yep, it's really true: Nelson plays the most amazing guitar solos, without ever trying to be flashy, i.e. every single one of his solos has substance, every note counts, he's a true musical poet. (The only other band I can think of which managed to enrich fresh but fairly traditional songs with the most virtuosic solos, is early Steely Dan, but their style is completely different from Be-Bop Deluxe's.)

So if you enjoy this funny genre called "Art Rock", you shouldn't miss this band. They will amaze you, complete your picture of the 1970s rock scene, and cheer you up no end.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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