"Human Alchemy" is a song by Andy Partridge. It appeared on the 1983 album Mummer.

A promo video was made for the XTC episode of Play at Home.

The demo appeared on Andy's Fuzzy Warbles Volume 6 in 2004.


“Slavery, that was a kind of alchemy for White folk, or so they reckoned. They calculated a way of turning each bead of a Black man's sweat into gold and each moan of despair from a Black woman's throat into the sweet clear sound of a silver coin ringing on the money-changer's table. There was buying and selling of souls in that place. Yet there was nary a one of them who understood the whole price they were paying for owning other folk.” — Prentice Alvin, by Orson Scott Card

Andy (on the demo): “From the same session at Tudor Studios that produced ‘Jacob's Ladder’ (see Fuzzy Warbles Volume 5). I seem to remember this growing in the studio, with all the dubbery played, or not played, live, as the mixing desk was far too primitive to allow for competent deconstruction later. It's me acting the lobotomised Ringo on studio owner Terry ‘Fatty’ Alderton's drums. He and his Mrs., Kay, played in decent local group Green Steam.”


An alchemy, human alchemy

We stole them from their freedom to be sold

To turn their skins of black into the skins

Of brightest gold

An alchemy, human alchemy

We stoked the fires of trade with human coals

And made our purses from the flailed skins of

Purest souls

An alchemy, human alchemy

Other lands became a larder full of all the good things

All we had to do was go and take

Blood the colour of the rain that grew our wicked harvest

Black the colour icing on our cake

We stole their babes and mothers, chiefs and braves

Although we held the whip, you knew we were

The real slaves

To alchemy, human alchemy

Alchemy, human alchemy

alchemy, human alchemy

alchemy, human alchemy



Promo video for "Human Alchemy." Uploaded by YouTube user "karmike2."

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