Exposé Online banner

Bill Nelson — Northern Dream
(Smiled SM777CD, 1971/1996, CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1996-08-01

Northern Dream Cover artBefore his days in the celebrated Be Bop Deluxe, Bill Nelson put out a lone solo album in 1971. This is indeed a far cry from his ambient, soundtrack-like projects he is best known for. Instead, this album fits squarely in the singer/songwriter mold of the early 70s. In particular, Nelson strongly evokes the sound of Neil Young's early albums, with acoustic guitar, spare drums and bass, augmented with soulful electric guitar leads. Nelson's voice is high and quivery, lending that same lonesome sound that Young is known for, and Nelson also shares Neil's taste for experimentation, with backwards guitar parts and a mildly psychedelic feel. The standout track is definitely "Love's a Way," which features a lovely chorus worthy of Mr. Young himself. The album gets better as it goes along, slowly pulling the listener into its folk rock groove, climaxing with a great guitar solo on "Chymepeace." Fans of Be Bop Deluxe will delight at the Nelson lead guitar style, still in its formative stages. For those looking for a lost prog masterpiece, you may want to look elsewhere, as this hardly qualifies as progressive rock. Even so, it has a certain honest sound that really appeals to me. I bet Neil likes it too.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 10, 1996 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): Bill Nelson

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Phased - Medications – The promo sheet says something about Black Sabbath crossed with Hawkwind, and for once you can take that at face value. Heavy, spaced-out rocking good fun, skeletal imagery notwithstanding. These guys...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues