Bill Nelson

Strangest Things

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This compilation of Nelson's work over a ten-year span follows an earlier Cocteau set, The Two-fold Aspect of Everything, which compiled single releases and oddities. Nelson is amazingly prolific, with many albums to his credit, and a growing list of box sets in various forms. The Strangest Things takes a scattershot approach to this overwhelming body of work, leaving out the CBS/Portrait period (which produced some excellent music) for legal reasons. There's no set pattern to any of the choices, apparently; fortunately, they're all good selections. If nothing else, it's great to have "Acquitted By Mirrors" on CD. It's also good to have a track (the wonderful "Heroes de Lumiere") from the much-delayed Simplex album (put on hold by Nelson due to a battle with a former manager). In addition to selections from a variety of the albums (not all the Cocteau releases are represented), there's a nice choice of tracks that had not been put on album previously: two tracks from the "Sex, Psyche, Etc." 12" single, as an example, various B-sides, and singles-only tracks that weren't included on The Two-fold Aspect of Everything and didn't get dropped into other albums. This is a fine compilation and a good overview of Nelson's work. The audio quality is superb, given that some of the original material wasn't easy to work with (Nelson worked for a long time with a home studio that was, to say the least, somewhat on the ramshackle side.) This is recommended as one starting place for anyone interested in investigating Bill Nelson's career after he quit being a guitar hero with Be Bop Deluxe, though the easier-to-find What's Now, What's Next double set is perhaps and even better place to begin.