There is an interesting history aligned to this album. In 1986 , when this album was originally set for release Bill Nelson was under contract to the "Portrait" label, which in turn was owned by the American arm of CBS. It was released in the U.K. as the artist intended but over in the more religiously pious and florid States it's album art involving occult symbolism and Masonic scripts, not to mention the albums title was frowned upon and the album was censored ,receiving a new title -"On A Blue Wing"- and new abstract cover art. The fact the scripts only spelt out the artist and albums name was no sop to their fundamentalist zeal either .
As is so often the case, when Nelson visited the States on a promotional jaunt the mild controversy drew more attention to the album than it would have gleaned otherwise. However the album has never been released in the CD format, until now. Not only that, this re-issue also includes a companion mini-album recorded at the same time called "Living For The Spangled Moment". Nelson, never one to sit on a single idea or concept for any length of time has changed the cover art for this re-release. He has as he puts in the liner notes " wrung the visual changes " but the albums central theme of love as turmoil and as an attempt to exorcise an romantic affair gone bad of course remains the same and resonates with an audience as it always has done and always will.
Artistically it's ambitious and dignified with multiple overdubs incorporating keyboards, violin, marimba, saxophone, percussion, bass and guitars. It's densely textured, yet often quite light and airy, with the various layers of detail given space to breathe. It also sounds resolutely of it's time, with that glamorous spangled production sheen so prevalent in the eighties, that and the judicious use of that eighties staple the fretless bass. The digital re-mastering has not stripped the album of any of that nuance and glistening epidermis. It reminds me simultaneously of albums by David Sylvian, Scritti Politi, Propaganda, Peter Gabriel, and Brian Eno and by proxy David Bowie.
The music occasionally is wilfully prosaic, lacking any sonic or melodious impact and the lyrics are often screamingly pretentious but at its best on tracks like "Contemplation" which has a vibrant multi-cultural vibe not dissimilar to Robbie Robertson's "Contact from The Underworld Of Redboy", or the sly pop tones of "Age Of Reason" this is a ravishing elaborate listening pleasure. Two of the bonus tracks from the mini album - the title track and "Illusions Of You" give incontrovertible empirical evidence that very little in life beats living for the spangled moment.