What does it sound like?:
The second in the reissue series of the Be Bop Deluxe catalogue from the fine fellows at Cherry Red records, a 3CD, 1DVD set. This time it’s the second album from July 1975. Bill Nelson had split the original line-up of the band after the first album, Axe Victim, and following a false start with 2 members of Cockney Rebel on keyboards and bass, Futurama was recorded with bassist Charlie Tumahai and drummer Simon Fox, Bill Nelson playing keyboards as well as guitars.
CD1 contains the original album mix, with 2 bonus tracks, both of which have been readily available on previous releases. CD2 contains a new mix of the album and another set of bonus tracks. CD3 has a Peel session from March 1975 which was last available on the ‘At The BBC 1974-1978’ set from 2013, and an ‘In Concert’ from May 1975 which seems to be commercially available for the first time here. The DVD (not part of the review set) has a 5.1 surround sound version of the album (and a selection of bonus tracks), the band’s Whistle Test appearance from July 1975 and a promo video for the single release of Maid In Heaven.
Producer Roy Thomas Baker was recruited for this one, presumably EMI’s thinking being that his work with Queen had been commercially successful and he may sprinkle his fairy dust on BBD. He applied his trademark dense, layered sound on the sessions, which in some cases did not necessarily suit the material. Certainly the closest BBD came to undiluted prog – Bill Nelson has often been florid (and occasionally a little pretentious) with his lyrics.
Again, an album that I have lived with for many years. CD1 has no surprises, basically reproducing the 1st CD release of the album. CD2 is where the interest starts. A shame that there is no credit for the remix, as the mystery remixer has produced a bright, clear mix revealing much detail lost in the original mix. Safe to say that this is the version that I will return to in future.
CD3 opens with the Peel session, which is a good set of simplified arrangements of Maid In Heaven, Stage Whispers, Sister Seagull and Lights. By the time the In Concert set here was recorded, keyboard player Andy Clark, who completed the line-up which would stay together until the band finally split, had been recruited. A set representative of the band’s sound at tthe time, spoiled only by the strange policy that Radio 1 operated at this time, where the presenter (in this case Alan Black…no, me neither…) introduced each song, rather than just introducing the band at the start and letting them get on with it. No problem with the keyboard sound this time (unlike the live set on the Sunburst Finish box!).
Overall, an excellent job done once again. A worthwhile purchase for the Bill Nelson obsessive in your life.
What does it all *mean*?
An excellent album properly available once again. For the less obsessive, there is also a 2 disc version.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Well considered, intelligent rock music. The Massive, in fact…