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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Axe Victim: Expanded & Remastered Edition'
Artist - Be-Bop Deluxe

For those not in the know, Be-Bop Deluxe were an English progressive rock band who achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success during the mid to late 1970s.

The band's sound emerged as a mixture of glam rock, prog rock and straightforward rock and roll. Indeed, Science fiction imagery was common in the lyrics, along with the more traditional themes of love and the human condition.

Digitally remastered and now an expanded 2CD edition, Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new remastered 2CD set of Axe Victim, the legendary 1974 debut album by Be-Bop Deluxe.

Recorded in the Spring of 1974 at several studios in London, Axe Victim was released by EMI’s Harvest label in June 1974 to much critical praise and introduced Be-Bop Deluxe to the record buying public.

The album featured the band’s first line-up of BILL NELSON (vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, piano), IAN PARKIN (rhythm & acoustic guitars, organ), ROB BRYAN (bass guitar, vocals) and NICHOLAS CHATTERTON-DEW (drums).

Axe Victim was a fine debut and was championed by DJ John Peel (who had been an advocate of Bill Nelson’s work since the release of the rudimentary self-released album Northern Dream in 1971) as one of his favorite releases of 1974.

Although Bill Nelson was still finding his creative feet, Axe Victim featured some fine material including the classic Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape, along with other fine material such as ‘Night Creatures’, ‘Third Floor Heaven’ (which featured Babe Ruth vocalist Jenny Haan guesting), ‘Jets at Dawn’ and the superb ‘Darkness (L’Immoraliste)’.

This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 17 bonus tracks drawn from a stunning new stereo mix of the album from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, along with both sides of the rare Smile Records single ‘Teenage Archangel’ b/w ‘Jets at Dawn’ released by the band in 1973 prior to being signed to EMI. Also included are previously unreleased out-takes from the original album sessions.

1. 'Axe Victim'
2. 'Love Is Swift Arrows'
3. 'Jet Silver & The Dolls Of Venus'
4. 'Third Floor Heaven'
5. 'Night Creatures'
6. 'Rocket Cathedrals'
7. 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape''
8. 'Jets At Dawn'
9. 'No Trains To Heaven'
10. 'Darkness (L'Immoraliste)'
11. 'Teenage Archangel' (1973 Single Version) [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'Jets At Dawn' (1973 Single Version) [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'No Trains To Heave' (First Mix) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]
14. 'Axe Victim (Album Version - First Mix) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]

To my mind, Be-Bop Deluxe was one of the best, and certainly one of the most overlooked, of the '70s progressive rock bands.

Its leader, Bill Nelson, is a fascinating lyricist and dynamic guitarist and this first album showcases many of the band's strengths, such as Nelson's appealing melodies and idea-filled lyrics and the guitar work filled with ringing notes and glissandi.

Furthermore, Nelson's style in this time period became extremely influential and is very similar to the most melodic Flame/Sky era of Carlos Santana's guitar style, and a driving sound satisfying to even the most art-rock-resistant fan.

The glam influences on the band are apparent here - 'Jet Silver and the Dolls of Venus' has strong Ziggy overtones, and the music has a more acoustic feel to it than the later eras of the band.

For me, the twin centerpieces of the album are 'Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape' and 'Jets at Dawn,' both languid, lyrical pieces which showcase both Nelson's way with a lyric and his coursing, redeeming guitar style.

Many other songs also entertain, though, such as 'No Trains to Heaven' has a gutbucket riff combined with a lyric devoted to seeking the kingdom within, whilst 'Love is Swift Arrows' contains the marvelous lyric "Oh Goddess in Heaven, whose number is 17, dressed you in blue jeans this year".

Whether you are a Be-Bop Deluxe fan who never got around to picking up Axe Victim or whether you have simply not discovered this wonderful, neglected band, I urge you to now pick up this wondrous 2CD Expanded Edition (or the even more expansive 3CD/DVD Limited Edition Deluxe Box-Set) of the classic debut album from the totally quintessential Be-Bop Deluxe.

1. 'Axe Victim'
2. 'Love Is Swift Arrows'
3. 'Jet Silver & The Dolls Of Venus'
4. 'Third Floor Heaven'
5. 'Night Creatures'
6. 'Rocket Cathedrals'
7. 'Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape''
8. 'Jets At Dawn'
9. 'No Trains To Heaven'
10. 'Darkness (L'Immoraliste)'
11. 'Axe Victim' (First Version) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'Night Creatures' (Spoken Word Version) (Previously Unreleased [BONUS TRACK]
13. 'Rocket Cathedrals' (First Version) (Previously Unreleased) [BONUS TRACK]

Another highlight of this 2CD set is the illustrated booklet featuring previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson.

This re-mastered, re-mixed and expanded edition of Axe Victim is a fitting celebration of a wonderful debut album and a tribute to the creative vision of Bill Nelson.

Official 2CD Purchase Link

Official 3CD/DVD Purchase Link