Be-Bop Deluxe

Sun­burst Fin­ish

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff - paul hen­der­son

Mid-70s gem given an up­grade and a pol­ish. It’s odd how time of­ten con­signs once raved-about records to the dark, rarely vis­ited cor­ners of rock his­tory, of­ten due not to down­grad­ing reap­praisal but sim­ply be­cause they fade from mem­ory. One (per­haps the only) good thing that comes from that hap­pen­ing is hav­ing such an al­bum popped un­der your nose, giv­ing it a lis­ten and be­ing jolted into re­mem­ber­ing how good it was first time around.

By the end of 1975, Be-Bop Deluxe had two cred­itable al­bums (Axe Vic­tim and Fu­tu­rama) and a cou­ple of classy sin­gles (Maid In Heaven and Sis­ter Seag­ull) un­der their belt, and hot-shot gui­tarist Bill Nel­son was turn­ing heads. They were one of a bus­load of bands and artist with real suc­cess seem­ingly close but with­out a sleek enough ve­hi­cle to take them to it. Then they recorded Sun­burst Fin­ish.

Recorded at Abbey Road (maybe some lin­ger­ing fairy dust landed on the tapes) and re­leased in Fe­bru­ary ’76,

Sun­burst Fin­ish was a thrill-ride of bal­letic melodies, tough riffs, punchy rhythms and some star­tling gui­tar play­ing. From the ratt-a-tatt in­tro of opener Fair Ex­change, through the ex­otic rhythm of Ships In The Night, Bowie-sug­gest­ing Crys­tal Gaz­ing and the glo­ri­ous melodic Cry­ing To The Sky with its swirling, sky­crack­ing gui­tar solo, to stop­start multi-faceted closer

Blaz­ing Apos­tles, it’s an al­bum brim­ming with in­ven­tive song­writ­ing and clever ar­range­ments, thought­ful lyrics and some taut per­for­mances.

Most peo­ple with their nose to the shop win­dow eye­ing-up the new four-disc, re­mas­tered, lim­ited-edi­tion box set will al­ready know the orig­i­nal al­bum. Here’s what else is un­der the lid: an ad­di­tional 39 tracks in­clud­ing 5.1 and stereo mixes and con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous BBC radio ses­sions; al­bum out-takes, a promo video for Ships In The Night and a cou­ple of Old Grey Whis­tle Test ap­pear­ances; an il­lus­trated 68-page book, a new es­say by Bill Nel­son, and a re­pro­duc­tion Sun­burst Fin­ish tour pro­gramme and poster.

Although there’s plenty of it, there’s not much of the ex­tras that’s ac­tu­ally sur­pris­ing. The new stereo and sur­round-sound mixes will be of in­ter­est to Be-Bop fans, as will the live BBC ses­sions of most of the al­bum’s songs, none of which dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly from the stu­dio ver­sions. The Whis­tle Test footage is avail­able on YouTube, although here it’s of a much higher qual­ity.

Al­to­gether this a well put­to­gether pack­age and a wellde­served up­grad­ing of an oddly un­sung mid-70s gem.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.