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Be Bop Deluxe - 1977 Live In The Air Age

ARTIST: Be Bop Deluxe
ALBUM: Live In The Air Age
LABEL: Harvest
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1995, One Way (USA), S21-18465 * 2008, EMI (Japan), TOCP-70362


LINEUP: Bill Nelson - lead vocals, guitars * Simon Clark - keyboards, vocals * Charles Tumahai - bass, percussion, vocals * Simon Fox - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Life In The Air Age * 02 Ships In The Night * 03 Piece Of Mine * 04 Fair Exchange * 05 Mill Street Junction * 06 Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape * 07 Blazing Apostles * 08 Shine * 09 Sister Seagull * 10 Maid In Heaven


Be Bop Deluxe have never been an easy band to categorize. Formed by guitarist extraordinaire Bill Nelson, the first Be Bop Deluxe record was essentially a heavy glam album with nods to both David Bowie and Sweet. As time moved on, Be Bop developed into a progressive rock band with pride of place going to the 1976 classic 'Sunburst Finish', but despite their cult following from rock fans 'in the know', Be Bop Deluxe never really broke big in either their native UK or North America. Part of the problem in the US was the tour situation which for the most part found the band supporting people like Ted Nugent, Nazareth and even Starcastle when in reality their music was far too unusual and very un-arena friendly to make any significant impact on punters who just wanted to party. By 1978, Be Bop Deluxe had turned into a whole other animal by releasing 'Drastic Plastic', an album that pre-dated the new wave movement by two years. As interesting as that album was, the band split up with Nelson forming Red Noise continuing the edgy path of the last Be Bop album as well as years of great and not so great solo albums too numerous to mention here.

The Songs
Despite owning all the Be Bop Deluxe albums, I was never able to catch the band live and still rue the day I turned down a ticket to see the band in New York headlining at the Palladium Theater with Styx as support no less! Thankfully, 'Live! In The Air Age' is a wonderful document of just how electric these guys were in a live setting. Bill Nelson's guitar work is clearly the star here especially on 'Fair Exchange' and the incredible 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape' with a solo that rivals Robin Trower or any other 70's six string god you care to mention.

In Summary
The recent CD edition on EMI carries three bonus tracks 'Shine', 'Sister Seagull' and 'Maid in Heaven' which initially came with the record as a bonus EP, making the entire package great value for money and why you are at it, pick up some of the other Be Bop Deluxe reissues a get a taste of one of the more creative and original bands from the true 'golden age' of rock.

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#1 | Jokerdean on January 10 2008 18:42:18
I just got this, as stated above this doesn't fit into any one style. Bill Nelson is an incredible player who shoulda got more recognition. Great songs and superb playI gotta get more stuff from these guys.
#2 | reyno-roxx on October 25 2009 21:24:02
I've been picking up the CD reissues with bonus tracks for as little as £3 new of late. Well worth it. Bargains each and every one.
#3 | rkbluez on November 27 2009 19:29:45
One of the best Live albums from the 70's...Bill's playing on this disc is stunning...possibly their best all around record...only complaint it was too short.
#4 | Explorer on January 10 2018 20:54:45
I see the entire Be Bop catalogue has been acquired by Cherry Red here in the UK, and a full reissue programme is planned. The good thing this time around is that it has the full backing from Bill Nelson, who hopefully will see some royalties finally!!

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