Futurama

Be Bop Deluxe

album - May 1975

TRACKS:

01)  Stage Whispers
02)  Love With The Madman
03)  Maid In Heaven
04)  Sister Seagull
05)  Sound Track
06)  Music In Dreamland
07)  Jean Cocteau
08)  Between The Worlds
09)  Swan Song

ALBUM NOTES:

Futurama is the second album by Be Bop Deluxe, and was recorded at Rockfield Studios, Wales during January and February 1975.  Futurama featured a different set of musicians than the debut album, now with Charlie Tumahai on bass and backing vocals, and Simon Fox on drums.  Nelson provided keyboards in addition to his usual guitar and vocal duties.  Andy Clark (keyboards) would effectively join the band immediately after recording Futurama, and this line up would remain solid throughout the band's future life span.
     
The album appeared on vinyl and cassette, and was promoted by the release of the single Maid in Heaven, backed with the non-album track "Lights".  Once again commercial success was elusive although the band's profile was certainly higher than the previous year.  Futurama would be another album largely discovered in the period after the band experienced their commercial breakthrough in 1976.  Vinyl copies were released in a single sleeve and the record was housed in an inner sleeve bearing lyrics to all songs.
 
When reissued on CD in (Feb) 1991, EMI elected to enhance the album by adding 3 bonus tracks, although they represent a mixed bag in the context of this album and the reissue programme as a whole.  The original (withdrawn) single "Between the Worlds" was certainly an appropriate inclusion, but this was less so with the live version of "Maid in Heaven" taken from Live! In the Air Age and "Speed of the Wind", which would have been more at home on Drastic Plastic, it being a left over from those sessions.  If you no longer kept your vinyl copy of Futurama, and require song lyrics, then this CD edition satisfies that need, and the informative sleeve notes penned by Kevin Cann provide useful context.  For some reason copies of this CD ran dry soon after release, making it unavailable for approximately 5 years.


In 1997 the album re-appeared on CD (with Harvest label design) allowing those who missed out on the 1991 release to fill a significant gap in their collection.

In April 2017 Cherry Red, who from 2011 to 2018, had done so much to raise the profile of Bill Nelson's solo recordings from the period 1980 to 2002, acquired the rights to release the Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise material issued between 1973 and 1979.  While this resulted in the deletion of existing physical editions, Cherry Red kept Futurama on catalogue from 1 June 2017 via the usual download sites such as Amazon and iTunes while an expanded edition was prepared for a 2019 physical release. 

On 31 May 2019 Futurama therefore became the second Be Bop Deluxe album to be issued as a Super Deluxe Edition comprising 3 CDs and 1 DVD as follows:

 

  • a freshly remastered version of the original album plus 2 bonus tracks

  • a 2019 stereo remix of the full album and 2 bonus tracks alongside 2 previously unreleased studio tracks

  • an album of BBC recordings including 7 unreleased live tracks from May 1975

  • the original album plus 3 bonus tracks presented in a 5.1 mix and 2 filmed performances, the previously released OGWT footage from  July 1975 and a super rare promo video for Maid in Heaven that was made in 1975 but never shown on TV.

 

The album is presented in a triple fold out digi-pack and contains a 68 page booklet with an essay penned by Bill Nelson, reminiscing about the recording of the album at Rockfield Studios, postcards of publicity photographs from the period and a reproduction of an advertising poster issued to record shops.    

 

A 2CD edition of the album is also being released at the same time as the Super Deluxe Edition featuring Discs 1 and 2 which will also replace the standard download edition.

 

The full track listing for the Super Deluxe Edition is:

 

Disc: 1 

01)  Stage Whispers

02)  Love With The Madman

03)  Maid In Heaven

04)  Sister Seagull

05)  Sound Track

06)  Music In Dreamland

07)  Jean Cocteau

08)  Between The Worlds

09)  Swan Song

10)  Between The Worlds (Single Version)

11)  Lights

 

Disc: 2 

01)  Stage Whispers (New Stereo Mix)

02)  Love With The Madman (New Stereo Mix)

03)  Maid In Heaven (New Stereo Mix)

04)  Sister Seagull (New Stereo Mix)

05)  Sound Track (New Stereo Mix)

06)  Music In Dreamland (New Stereo Mix)

07)  Jean Cocteau (New Stereo Mix)

08)  Between The Worlds (New Stereo Mix)

09)  Swan Song (New Stereo Mix)

10)  Between The Worlds (Single Version) (New Stereo Mix)

11)  Lights (New Stereo Mix)

12)  Music In Dreamland (Phonogram Studios Version)

13)  Between The Worlds (Alternate Single Version)

 

Disc: 3 

01)  Stage Whispers (BBC Session March 1975)

02)  Sister Seagull (BBC Session March 1975)

03)  Maid in Heaven (BBC Session March 1975)

04)  Lights (BBC Session March 1975)

05)  Stage Whispers (BBC in Concert May 1975, Previously Unreleased)

06)  Third Floor Heaven (BBC in Concert May 1975, Previously Unreleased)

07)  Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape (BBC in Concert May 1975 Previously unreleased)                                        

08)  Sister Seagull (BBC in Concert May 1975, Previously Unreleased)

09)  Piece of Mine (BBC in Concert May 1975, Previously Unreleased)

10)  Maid in Heaven (BBC in Concert May 1975, Previously Unreleased)

11)  Axe Victim (BBC in Concert May 1975, Previously Unreleased)

 

Disc: 4 

01)  Stage Whispers (5.1 Surround Mix)

02)  Love With The Madman (5.1 Surround Mix)

03)  Maid In Heaven (5.1 Surround Mix)

04)  Sister Seagull (5.1 Surround Mix)

05)  Sound Track (5.1 Surround Mix)

06)  Music In Dreamland (5.1 Surround Mix)

07)  Jean Cocteau (5.1 Surround Mix)

08)  Between The Worlds (5.1 Surround Mix)

09)  Swan Song (5.1 Surround Mix)

10)  Between The Worlds (Single Version) (5.1 Surround Mix)

11)  Lights (5.1 Surround Mix)

12)  Music In Dreamland (Phonogram Studios Version)(5.1 Surround Mix)

13)  Maid In Heaven (Old Grey Whistle Test)

14)  Sister Seagull (Old Grey Whistle Test)

15)  Maid In Heaven (Previously Unreleased Promo Video)

 


 

PAST RELEASES:

The original edition of Futurama was deleted sometime around 1979/80, but was reissued as a budget release in 1983 by EMI, as a double album combined with the band's debut album, Axe Victim.  The 1991 CD edition was replaced in 1997 which ultimately went out of print with the transfer to rights to Cherry Red.     


CURRENT AVAILABILITY:

This 4-CD box set and 2-CD set is available for pre-order in the Dreamsville Store. 



IF YOU LIKED THIS ALBUM, YOU'LL PROBABLY ENJOY:
Joy Through Amplification, Fantastic Guitars, New Northern Dream, Fancy Planets, Special Metal,

Romance of Sustain, Orpheus in Ultraland, Modern Moods for Mighty Atoms, Satellite Songs,

The Alchemical Adventures of Sailor Bill, Golden Melodies of Tomorrow, Practically Wired



BILL'S THOUGHTS:


Bill Nelson compares Axe Victim to Futurama:

"Axe Victim is a peculiar album, it hints at what was to come but really is just the sound of a band finding itself, an album of material which we'd almost abandoned.

That there was such a vast difference between that album and Futurama reveals a remarkable progression.  Futurama was the first real Be Bop Deluxe album.  Axe Victim is kind of a juvenile  sophomore statement, a naive thing...nevertheless, there are hints at a more mature approach in some of Axe Victim's songs.  Unfortunately, "Jet Silver" and "Rocket Cathedrals" are not amongst them."
_____

Bill Nelson comments on the 3-piece line up of Be Bop Deluxe:

"The three piece Be Bop Deluxe actually toured in that form.  I remember performing "Love With The Madman" live on stage whilst sitting at a Fender Rhodes electric piano.  I'd written many of the Futurama songs on an old ex-chapel upright piano I had at my little terrace house at Anderson Street in Wakefield, rather than on guitar, so it eventually seemed sensible to add a keyboard player to the line-up.  Andy was the only keyboard player who passed the audition, (although separating him from the hippie-style Afghan coat he wore and getting him into something a wee bit more stylish was not an easy task!"
_____

Bill Nelson comments on internet pictures of his home at 27 Anderson Street, Wakefield:

"It's interesting to see those interior pics after all these years...quite a few changes/modifications since I left there in the early '70s.  The bathroom wasn't in the main part of the house back then, but in an extension behind the kitchen.  Seems the bathroom's been relocated and is now in what was originally the second bedroom.  In fact that's the room where the first line-up members of Be Bop Deluxe used to sit together to learn the songs I'd written for the band, before we worked on them in a 'proper' rehearsal space.

The wood wall panel thing surrounding the gas fire in the lounge wasn't there either...it's a more recent addition...(I remember drawing the cover for the Northern Dream album whilst kneeling on the floor in front of the fire in that room.)

The 'front room' once housed an old upright piano on which I wrote most of the songs for the Futurama album.

The bedroom is very much as it was when I slept in it...the window looks out onto Anderson Street and the perimeter lights of Wakefield Prison would cast their glow into that bedroom at night.  It was around 43 years ago..."

ALBUM REVIEWS:

Review on Spill Magazine

Review on Exclusive Magazine

Review on Music Street Journal

Review by LMNOP

Review on Sea of Tranquility

Review on ProgNaut



FAN THOUGHTS:

Rev. Keith A. Gordon:

"Some of my personal Be-Bop favourites come from the band's 1975 sophomore album Futurama, with which Nelson took a decidedly left-hand turn towards progressive-rock territory.  Evidently dissatisfied with the outcome of Axe Victim, Nelson fired everybody and got new musicians for Futurama, changing the band's sound immensely.  While critics at the time questioned the prog-rock tendencies of Futurama, the album's best songs evince a sort of prototype pop-metal songwriting and performance that would influence the coming "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" bands.  The larger-than-life "Maid In Heaven" offers up some of Nelson's most inspired guitarplay, the song's memorable riff and infectious melody matched by sing-a-long lyrics and the guitarist's great tone and energy.  By contrast, "Sister Seagull" is a hauntingly beautiful performance with cascading instrumentation, judicious use of a melodic riff, and Nelson's high-flying solos.  Performed beautifully here, the song's emotional lyrics are made all the more poignant by the powerful musical accompaniment, including the crying seagull guitar licks at the end."


astrophobia:

"My first BeBop Deluxe album (yes, album) was Futurama, but I cannot remember where I bought it.  All I remember is that it was being played in the shop and I nearly pissed myself.  Never in my life had I heard anything like it.  I was hooked.  To this day it is still my favourite BeBop album as every track exudes quality.  I even ordered the sold out Axe Victim on the strength of that first listening."


asterisk:

"I then went over the B section and noticed there was indeed a Be Bop Deluxe card, with two copies of this oddly-illustrated Futurama album, both taped-up in plastic album bags.  I then did the usual of comparing of both copies to make sure to grab the one in the best condition, and then walked back towards the counter.  Then I stopped and went back to contemplate buying both but then came to my senses thinking why deprive anyone else of the opportunity I just experienced?  So up to the counter with my new favourite album.

I asked the fellow 'what is this strange and wonderful thing?'  He told me they were one of his favourite bands and that it had just come in with the shipment of new releases about an hour or so before.  But I had to know - were they any other albums by this Be Bop Deluxe?  He fumbled around beneath the counter and produced and even stranger looking album with an illustration of a guitar appearing to have been fashioned out of a human skull on its cover.  How charming, I thought.  But was it any good?  He asked if I wanted to hear it and I declined, not wanting him to take off Futurama."


Harlequin:

"A friend played me "Sound Track" from Futurama and it was like the first time I'd heard The Beatles.  I bought that and every Be Bop record I could find.  That led me to The Skids, The Lucy Show and XTC via the John Leckie connection."


eddie:

First Be Bop LP you bought, and the name of the shop?:

 

"With me it was Futurama from 'Listen Records' in Glasgow, Renfield Street.

The night before my mate had managed to smuggle (I kid you not) a mobile disco into a house for some girl's birthday party, and he said have a listen to this, it was "Stage Whispers" cue all sorts of flashing lights and whatever.

I think we ruined the frigging party because we kept playing this track over and over again."


polly:

"When I brought Futurama home the very first thing she (Mum) said, was, "those boys all look clean and tidy".  Praise indeed."


Parsongs:

"I really think Roy Thomas Baker did a good job on this one.  It has a really "BIG" sound with a wide dynamic range.  And I love Bill's piano playing on these tracks.  I wonder if he played the piano at Abbey Road - was it a Bluthner or a Steinway?  I think they might have had both..."


loversaremortal:

"Have loved Bills work since hearing Futurama way back when...and seeing BBD at the Liverpool Stadium in the 70's...I am catching up quickly on the great man's solo output...and I am VERY VERY Impressed...so ingenious and authentic and honest...qualities which shine through Bill's music."

© Bill Nelson 2020

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon