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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Futurama: Expanded & Remastered'
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, Futurama, the legendary 1975 album by Be-Bop Deluxe, has now been re-released via Esoteric Recordings / Cherry Red Records (UK).

This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 15 bonus tracks drawn from some stunning new stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, a previously unreleased out-take from the album sessions and rare single tracks.

CD 1: The Original Stereo Mix
1. 'Stage Whispers'
2. 'Love with the Madman'
3. 'Maid in Heaven'
4. 'Sister Seagull'
5. 'Sound Track'
6. 'Music in Dreamland'
7. 'Jean Cocteau'
8. 'Between the Worlds'
9. 'Swan Song'
10. 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)' (Bonus Track)
11. 'Lights' (Bonus Track)

CD 2: New Stereo Mix
1. 'Stage Whispers'
2. 'Love with the Madman'
3. 'Maid in Heaven'
4. 'Sister Seagull'
5. 'Sound Track'
6. 'Music in Dreamland'
7. 'Jean Cocteau'
8. 'Between the Worlds'
9. 'Swan Song'
10. 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)'
11. 'Lights'
12. 'Music in Dreamland' (Phonogram Studios Version) (Previously Unreleased)
14. 'Between the Worlds' (Alternate Single Version) (Previously Unreleased)

Recorded in the first two months of 1975 at Rockfield studios (with some sessions also taking place at SARM studios in London), Futurama was the second album by Be Bop Deluxe and the first to feature the line-up of Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charlie Tumahai (bass, vocals) and Simon Fox (drums).

Produced by Roy Thomas Baker (who at the time was also working with Queen), Futurama was an album of immense musical inventiveness and creativity and was a huge leap forward in creative terms for Bill Nelson.

The album gained much praise thanks to Bill Nelson’s composition skills and his highly innovative guitar playing. Featuring such wonderful material as ‘Maid in Heaven’, ‘Sister Seagull’, ‘Music in Dreamland’, ‘Sound Track’, ‘Between the Worlds’, ‘Jean Cocteau’ and ‘Swan Song’, the album would see Be-Bop Deluxe heralded as one of the most accomplished acts of 1975.

Top-heavy with massed guitars and melodic ideas pursued on a whim and just as quickly abandoned, it nevertheless contained two of the most perfect pop singles never to make the charts – 'Maid in Heaven' and 'Sister Seagull'.

Oh, and for those who are interested, the first three Be-Bop Deluxe albums are all, in one way or another, named after guitars. Axe is slang for a guitar, Futurama is a particular make of guitar, while Sunburst Finish refers to a style of finishing for the instrument.

Kicking off in some guitar-flaring (and original stereo mix) style with the pop sensibilities of the rampant 'Stage Whispers' (which also has a definitive pubescent Queen vibe to it), that was backed seamlessly by both 'Love With the Madman' (and its David Bowie mimicry) and the definite Queen-influenced 'Maid in Heaven.'

The first to feature the aforementioned line-up of Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charlie Tumahai (bass, vocals) and Simon Fox (drums) next up is the brilliant '70s prog cut 'Sister Seagull.'

Next up comes the pure pop Prog fluidity of 'Sound Track' which is backed by the free flowing operatic beauty of 'Music in Dreamland.' Up next is one of my own personal album favorites, the gentle trip of 'Jean Cocteau', which is followed by the frenetic 'Between the Worlds.'

The original album then rounds out with the six minute opus 'Swan Song,' with this newly expanded and remastered classic now containing on the first disc two bonus tracks: 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)' and funky soul of 'Lights.'

The second CD features all the same songs, all be they now recorded as new stereo mixes and inclusive of three Bonus Tracks: Once again 'Between the Worlds (Single Version)' and 'Lights,' and also 'Music in Dreamland (Phonogram Studios Version)' and 'Between the Worlds (Alternate Single Version).'

The set also features a booklet which restores the original album artwork and includes previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson.

This re-mastered and expanded edition of Futurama is a fitting tribute to a fine band, the creative vision of Bill Nelson and a wonderful album.

Official 2CD Purchase Link