Stephen Bray first met the Material Girl in 1977, when she was the Starving Coed, dancing in a University of Michigan nightclub. The 17-year-old Madonna had yet to drop her surname, let alone revolutionize dance-pop, but after a round of gin-and-tonics, Bray was convinced of her talent.

Three years later they were in New York City, cutting dance tracks that would launch her career.

Bray held onto the those earlier collaborations. He unearthed the tracks as an archiving project, transferring the deteriorating magnetic tape recordings to digital audio tape. "I realized that if I'm doing all this work...maybe other people will like this too," he said. "It was very nostalgic and enjoyable to retrace my steps as a writer and her steps as a singer."

Now, for the first-time ever, those primitive dance tracks are available on Pre-Madonna--a nine-track CD that features seven never-before-heard Madonna songs, including the four that secured her recording contract. By mail order only.

"Don't Cry for Me Argentina" this ain't. While no one will confuse "Laugh to Keep from Crying" (RealAudio sample) or "Crimes of Passion" (Real Audio sample) for the slick "Lucky Star" or "Like a Virgin," there's no denying the trademark Madonna sound is present here.

In an move straight out of Evita, Madonna dumped Bray as her producer/songwriter/lover after signing with Warner Bros. However, Bray later resurfaced to team with Madonna for hits like "Express Yourself," "True Blue," "Into the Groove" and "Papa Don't Preach."

Madonna's spokeswoman declined to comment on the album, which is available under the mail-order label 1-800-HARMONY or via the Pre-Madonna Web site.

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