3CD/1DVD Limited Edition Box Set
Be-Bop Deluxe has an allure like folklore. They exist within the impressionism of ‘70s rock and roll ecstasy, forging their imprint through varying styles while being forerunners to a contingency of being rock influencers. In the moment, their name drew more fascination in the ‘70s rock contingency than their progressive imprint. Yet, Futurama remains to be one of the more important rock releases to come out of the 1970s.
At the helm of brilliance is Bill Nelson. His guitar work is unparalleled, showing an effortless style that was immersed in creativity and imagination. Nelson stops for a wink and a nod as he bends notes like a rift in time. A true gentleman. With a new lineup from their debut Axe Victim, their second Harvest Record release featured Nelson at the forefront with the late Charlie Tumahai on bass and backing vocals and Simon Fox on drums.
What makes this limited edition set invaluable is not only a pristine remastered edition of Futurama, but all of the goodies that surround the release, including 36 bonus tracks drawn from the new 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixes and BBC radio sessions from 1975. Those Beeb recordings are true gems.
Be-Bop Deluxe – Sister Seagull (Old Grey Whistle Test)
“Sister Seagull” is the pinnacle of this album and their 1975 BBC Old Grey Whistle Test performance is rock and roll bliss. Nelson posterizes in polyester bell bottoms that glow bright red. He compliments it with a dapper white jacket. Nelson presents a fantastical aura of British properness. This is not someone who looks like he can shred, but when that guitar solo kicks in, Nelson enters an alternate state of mind. I cannot think of a better example of rock and roll mysticism that converted to the confines of a solid hitmaker. “Sister Seagull, your the reason I survive.” Where The Old Grey Whistle Test acts like an afterthought, rolling credits during the performance, John Peel’s Peel Session only validates the song’s greatness.
Where the three come together to present their star power is “Maid in Heaven.” The power chords clash with a high-end note at showcase strength. Tumahai’s accentuated vocals and bass work is the definition of freedom. You just want to crank up the volume and let the song blow your hair back.
Be-Bop Deluxe – Maid in Heaven (1975 UK TV Appearance)
Be-Bop Deluxe owes much to the BBC for putting them on a pedestal. The Radio One “In Concert” from 1975 shows the care the station took to present the band in the best light. Documenting this live show that also dips into songs from Axe Victim is an historical feet.
Where “Stage Whispers” harks slight hints of New Romanticism to come, “Jean Cocteau” shimmers like champagne catching a reflection of sunlight with an influential nod to the West Coast Sound of the late 1970s. The coolness of the bongos flickering about in the background, this debonair Jobim-esque stance by Nelson makes proper homage to the strange elegance the filmmaker offered.
Anyone who has a vested interest in ‘70s rock and glam, Futurama is a must for the collection. Be-Bop Deluxe fits in the spectrum between high-brow classic rock and eclectic intriguement.