Back in the seventies Be Bop Deluxe were caught on the horns of three different movements – at heart they were a progressive band, many of their fans saw them as Glam-rockers and the general rock fans loved them for Bill Nelson’s incendiary guitar lines.

Nelson was the clear band leader and after their first album, ‘Axe Victim’, he split the band up and set about putting a new lineup together. Simon Fox (drums) and Charles Tumahai came on board and the band immediately set about making the ‘Futurama’ album. It was released in 1975 and while the critical acclaim was fairly warm, their chart sales weren’t.

A shame really, because it is a fantastic album. Sure, Nelson throws too many ideas at it, it doesn’t have a real consistency of writing and in some respects it sounds like a band enjoying the first steps of playing together. But for all that there are standout songs and a few, such as ‘Between The Worlds’ that could have been massive hits if they hadn’t confused the radio jocks (John Peel excepted).

Of the really good elements of the album are Nelsons’s playing, especially when he is tearing up the jazz-fusion scales like a madman, Simon Fox’s drumming is massively impressive and the best moments of the album are truly memorable. I love the way that they can switch between straight ahead rock and into a burlesque section and back into progressive themes in the same number. I also love the quality of each of the musicians – there are rough edges but it is clear that they are playing together and not just for themselves.

This release comes complete with a re-mix of the original album which certainly seems to clean up the original, as well as a great essay from Bill Nelson himself and some great pictures,

Definitely one worth adding to the Bill Nelson collection.


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