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November 2002


CD, Black Melody MEL 4

remastered reissue September 2008

Dance Like A Star (first version) **
  Interface **
Looking For The Black Haired Girls *
  The Circus Of Dr Lao ***
4JG **
  Reach Out [I'll Be There] (instrumental) **
Blank Clocks *
  New Pink Floyd **
Cairo *
  Once Upon A Time In The West [Funeral March] **
Dominion advertisement **
  Overkill Disaster Crash (first version) **
Dada Dada Duchamp Vortex *
  The Year Of The Jet Packs **
Daz *
  Pulse Lovers *
Future Religion *
  King Of Kings **
Disco Disaster **
  The Last Man On Earth (excerpt) **
* The Future, ** The Human League (many tracks featuring only Martyn and Ian), *** Philip Oakey
This album, credited to The Future + The Human League, compiles recordings the two groups made between 1977 and the moment The Human League signed to Virgin Records in 1979.
The project began soon after producer and recording artist Richard X contacted this site in early 2001 after noticing it features the sleeve of his first Girls On Top single, Being Scrubbed, which mixes Being Boiled with TLC's No Scrubs. After he expressed an interest in releasing the early works of The Future and The Human League on his Black Melody label, I contacted Martyn and Philip to find out how they felt about the idea, and both seemed interested.
Richard and I then began gathering unreleased recordings from our collection of bootlegs, and following my visit to The Human League's Sheffield studio in October 2001, I was kindly given copies of further unreleased material by the League's long-standing engineer, David Beevers, including a copy of The Future Tapes, some of which had never been bootlegged.
As the project began to gather momentum, David volunteered to explore the many master tapes stored in the League's studio and found many more unreleased recordings, some of which had probably not been played since the 1970s. While David was busy restoring and cleaning up these tapes, many of which were in bad condition, Richard and I met with Martyn and Ian, who also looked through their collections for other recordings and photographs which could be used for the artwork.

After much deliberation, Richard arrived at the tracklisting above, though the album contains some additional snippets of material not listed above or on the sleeve. These are as follows:

before Dance Like A Star:
a spoken introduction by Philip, taken from the legendary 'Taverner tape'
after 4JG:
a bizarre recording of a young child, reciting the nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep and attempting to pronounce "The Human League" while one of the League members tinkers with a synthesizer in the background
after Dada Dada Duchamp Vortex:
a spoken introduction by Philip (interrupted by Martyn), taken from the fourth version of Dance Like A Star (see the transcription)
after Disco Disaster:
the 'Dominion jingle'
after King Of Kings:
Philip and Ian recording screams, possibly for use on Introducing or Almost Medieval (unconfirmed)
after The Last Man On Earth:
an excerpt from the introduction of the radio broadcast of the League's Festival Of Fools show in Amsterdam, June 1980 - one of the original line-up's final live shows
Unfortunately, the sound quality is uneven throughout the album; this is due to the variable quality of the tapes available. Of the tracks listed on the sleeve, Philip's The Circus Of Dr Lao is probably the most lo-fi, as the only good quality recording of this track which could be located was missing Philip's vocals. The only available vocal version was actually taken from a bootleg cassette, and this appears on the album. Thankfully, the other recordings were taken, if not directly from the original master tapes, then from good quality DAT backups of those masters.
While many more unreleased recordings remain in the League's archives, this album does provide the listener with a good overall introduction to both The Future and the League's early recordings which led to their publishing and recording contracts with Virgin companies.
Incidentally, if you're wondering why the album has this title, check the introductory narrative for The Future Tapes. Also, if you have any difficulty reading the sleeve notes on this CD's inlay card, you can read the original notes (which are almost identical) at the end of the plain text version of this site.
The compilation was reissued in September 2008 as the sold-out original release was commanding such high prices among collectors. Many tracks were remastered, leading to a slightly improvement in sound quality in some cases, as the original compilation master had been destroyed in a fire. The reissue was also made available as a digital download, albeit with an edited version of The Last Man On Earth, due to unreasonable pricing regulations imposed by certain digital music vendors on long tracks.
Writing credits: * The Future, ** Marsh/Ware, except Dance Like A Star, Dominion advertisement and Disco Disaster (Oakey/Marsh/Ware), Reach Out (B Holland/L Dozier/E Holland), Once Upon A Time In The West (Ennio Morricone) and King Of Kings (Miklos Rozsa), *** Philip Oakey
Produced by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, except * The Future, Dance Like A Star, Dominion advertisement and Disco Disaster (The Human League), and *** Philip Oakey
Available on CD from Black Melody
selected UK compilations (part one)
Dance Like A Star
selected UK compilations (part one)