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Thread: Blue Oyster Cult !

  1. #1

    Blue Oyster Cult !

    This band completly passed me by & my knowledge starts and ends with 'Don't Fear the Reaper'. What has piqued my interest is a feature in the latest Prog magazine! The band make references to ELP, Genesis & Yes in the interview and Dave Meros of SB says they were a band that introduced him to Prog!
    Question is where they a prog band & what do you reccomend? The feature talks about a concept album called 'Imaginos' that was meant to be a double!

  2. #2
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I have a few BOC albums, but for my money, they were a great singles band whose albums tended to be hit-n-miss, more so than a prog band. I would think they were more a proto-metal band, but not everything they did was metal. To my ears, they played a darker, edgier brand of '60s styled rock ala The Byrds or The Animals and similar to Golden Earring (if that helps). Check out some of their reissued CDs and you'll hear demos of songs (that were left off albums) that could have passed for '60s pop nostalgia like Sally and their more than competent cover of Be My Baby. After Fire Of Unknown Origin ('83) I lose interest as they tended towards cheese, but they still had a handful of great tunes. Agents Of Fortune (containing the song Don't Fear The Reaper) was great stem to stern, so was the aforementioned Fire Of Unknown Origin. But others that I've owned, not so much.
    Digital playback brought high fidelity to the masses and audiophiles will never forgive it for that

  3. #3
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I'm mostly like you but Fear the Reaper is one of those timeless songs. I have Tyranny and Mutiny and Agents of Fortune. They are both very impressive but I don't revisit them too much.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  4. #4
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    BOC are one of my all time favorite bands, but they are not really prog to my ears. We have had several BOC threads on this forum recently so you might want to look back through the archives and see what is there. If you are just getting into them you might want to try a compilation album (there are several) or one of their live ones to see if you dig them or not. “Workshop Of The Telescopes” is a pretty good 2 CD compilation. For live, “On Your Feet Or On Your Knees”, “Extraterrestrial Live” or “A Long Day’s Night” are all good ones.

    Steve Sly

  5. #5
    Not prog, not a singles band by any means. All their albums are great except Imaginos IMO. Buck is a rock guitar god! Not heavy metal to me either, hard rock. Very melodic, cryptic, interesting lyrics, great musicians, inventive. Start at the beginning and get them all! I've seen them countless times, never been disappointed.

  6. #6
    Jon Neudorf
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    To the original poster:

    Maybe not a prog band per se but almost every '70s album had progressive moments. I don't think you can go wrong with almost any of their albums. Self titled debut, Tyranny and Mutation, Secret Treaties, Agents of Fortune and Spectres are all superb albums. Even the much maligned Mirrors is worth it for "The Great Sun Jester" and the title track (both excellent tunes).

    One of my faves from the eighties is Fire Of Unknown Origin. In fact, it might be my overall fave and definitely proggy in places.

    Of the more recent stuff, Curse Of the Hidden Mirror and Heaven Forbid were both a return to form and pleasant surprises.

    I really can't say enough good things about this band. Have fun exploring these gems. I envy you!

    Regards,
    Jon

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    Agents Of Fortune (containing the song Don't Fear The Reaper) was great stem to stern
    QFT

    Quote Originally Posted by rapidfirerob View Post
    Not prog, not a singles band by any means. ... Not heavy metal to me either, hard rock. Very melodic, cryptic, interesting lyrics, great musicians, inventive.
    Smart rock?

  8. #8
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    The first four albums, Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny & Mutation, Secret Treaties and most of Agents of Fortune are exceptionally inspired slices of 70s progressive hard rock.

    File next to Captain Beyond, the Good Rats and Alice Coopers early 70s output.

    Those albums sound as good today as they did when I was a middle school stoner!
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  9. #9
    Second concert I ever saw ("Specters" tour) back in early 1978.

    I was leaning up against the center-stage. Horselips was the opening band, but I hated them. I've since learned that I might have liked them if I paid more attention. But, the strumming bass playing was too much for me.

  10. #10
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    the debut was good , but the next 3 were the cream of the crop imo: "tyranny and mutation", "secret treaties" and "agents of fortune" are all pretty excellent. i prefer tyranny and secret as my two fave BOC rekkids/cd's. they did have some proggy bits sprinkled around theys albums. some of their stuff was based on sci fi and concepts by i think the album artist from their early albums or was it the producer?

  11. #11
    Stupid music trivia point: on the song Shooting Shark, a certain future American Idol judge deputized for the band's bassist, Joe Bouchard.

    As far as best albums, anything up through Spectres. I actually don't have the next couple albums after that. I do have Extraterrestrial Live (a very good double live album), Revolution By Night (not bad, but Shooting Shark really is the best song), and I think I have that album they put out in the mid 90's (Heaven Forbid I think it was called), which I don't really remember much about.

    Oh, and Veteran Of The Psychic Wars was probably the best song Michael Moorcock ever co-wrote.

  12. #12
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    Smart rock?
    I have heard the band referred to as "a thinking man's metal" but no, not nearly as hard or metal as Judas Priest, even back then.

    Quote Originally Posted by rapidfirerob
    Buck is a rock guitar god!
    I don't recall him doing anything very rock guitar god-like, but then again, he may have been just that in a live setting. He does certainly qualify as one of rock's great riff meisters, as evidenced in a song like Sinful Love off of AoF.
    Digital playback brought high fidelity to the masses and audiophiles will never forgive it for that

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    I have a few BOC albums, but for my money, they were a great singles band whose albums tended to be hit-n-miss, more so than a prog band. I would think they were more a proto-metal band, but not everything they did was metal. To my ears, they played a darker, edgier brand of '60s styled rock ala The Byrds or The Animals and similar to Golden Earring (if that helps). Check out some of their reissued CDs and you'll hear demos of songs (that were left off albums) that could have passed for '60s pop nostalgia like Sally and their more than competent cover of Be My Baby. After Fire Of Unknown Origin ('83) I lose interest as they tended towards cheese, but they still had a handful of great tunes. Agents Of Fortune (containing the song Don't Fear The Reaper) was great stem to stern, so was the aforementioned Fire Of Unknown Origin. But others that I've owned, not so much.
    Fire Of Unknown Origin came out in '81. It was The Revolution By Night that came out in '83. I think that BOC's first five studio albums are classics. My dad has Secret Treaties on CD, so I bought it myself. Never listened to his CD because it was scratched, but that album cover drew me to BOC. I do love their cover of Born To Be Wild that is included on the Secret Treaties remaster. Flaming Telepaths/Astronomy, The Red And The Black(both versions), and Redeemed are my fave BOC songs. Love the Mellotron on Astronomy and Be My Baby, and the Moog on Flaming Telepaths.

  14. #14
    "Don't Fear the Reaper" is about the extent of my knowledge also, although I've seen them live. That song, if you're around my age, is one that carries a lot of nostalgia. It was a great "put you in the mood" song...or maybe that was just me

  15. #15
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    The first four albums are classics of the hard rock era. Buck was one of the best hard rock players out there.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  16. #16
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    I can't recommend Imaginos. When they decided to put out the album, it was originally going to be a side-project, but they wound up using so many members of the band, they gave it the BOC name. However, it wasn't really a "band album," it's a "producer's album," and manages to hit all the common pitfalls of such things. It's overproduced: too much audio processing robs the music of any visceral punch. Every track as some new guest musician(s) on it: robbing any feeling of coherency from track to track. It definitely doesn't sound like Blue Oyster Cult. Instead it sounds pretty generic, even though the lyrics have all the cool mysticism you'd expect. Basically, it's obscure for a reason. If you want what folks love about the band, it isn't much there.
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  17. #17
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    A good friend of mine at work is a huge fan of BOC and saw them play many times over the years. Imaginos is one of his all time favorite albums.

    There are a lot of tunes I love on Imaginos....even if it has it's flaws.

  18. #18
    E.T.I. is a great song but I strongly prefer the live version on Some Enchanted Evening to the original. It has more groove; it was a tad slow in the studio. Godzilla is also an all-time great riff. I also go with Agents Of Fortune as my favorite album overall, the earlier ones are spotty but there's great great songs sprinkled through-out. Mirrors is kind of a turd, it does have moments but I'd say avoid it until you thoroughly explore the early stuff.

    One possible BOC-prog connection- Cities On Flame (With Rock and Roll) pretty blatantly rips off the riff to 21st Century Schizoid Man...

    Oh, and Buck IS one of the true underrated guitar heroes of the 70s!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by trurl View Post
    E.T.I. is a great song but I strongly prefer the live version on Some Enchanted Evening to the original. It has more groove; it was a tad slow in the studio. Godzilla is also an all-time great riff. I also go with Agents Of Fortune as my favorite album overall, the earlier ones are spotty but there's great great songs sprinkled through-out. Mirrors is kind of a turd, it does have moments but I'd say avoid it until you thoroughly explore the early stuff.

    One possible BOC-prog connection- Cities On Flame (With Rock and Roll) pretty blatantly rips off the riff to 21st Century Schizoid Man...

    Oh, and Buck IS one of the true underrated guitar heroes of the 70s!!
    Have you ever visited the site Vintage Prog? They state that Cities On Flame rips off The Wizard By Black Sabbath. The only thing it shares with the King Crimson is that both songs have a sinister instrumental middle section.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by notallwhowander View Post
    I can't recommend Imaginos. When they decided to put out the album, it was originally going to be a side-project, but they wound up using so many members of the band, they gave it the BOC name. However, it wasn't really a "band album," it's a "producer's album," and manages to hit all the common pitfalls of such things. It's overproduced: too much audio processing robs the music of any visceral punch. Every track as some new guest musician(s) on it: robbing any feeling of coherency from track to track. It definitely doesn't sound like Blue Oyster Cult. Instead it sounds pretty generic, even though the lyrics have all the cool mysticism you'd expect. Basically, it's obscure for a reason. If you want what folks love about the band, it isn't much there.
    It was originally going to be an Albert Bouchard solo album. In fact, Albert intended there to be a trilogy of albums, which would tell the Imaginos story. The lyrics were originally written by the band's manager Sandy Pearlman back in the late 60's. A couple songs on the early BÖC albums are derived from the original...I dunno if I should call it an epic poem or what, but that's how far the origins of the whole deal go back.

    It ended up becoming a BÖC album apparently only under duress from the band's label. And in the process of converting this big epic trilogy into just one album, some of the songs got edited, presumably a number of others got dropped. I seem to recall there's something like a half dozen session players credited with playing on the record (including the guys who replaced both Allen Lanier and Albert Bouchard on Club Ninja!), along with all five original members and something identified as "The Imaginos Guitar Army", which as it turned out, including Joe Satriani (!), Robby Krieger (!!), and Aldo Nova (?).

    I remember one review at the time where it was suggested that "This could have been a great Albert Bouchard album, but instead it's a just ok BÖC album".

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by notallwhowander View Post
    I can't recommend Imaginos. When they decided to put out the album, it was originally going to be a side-project, but they wound up using so many members of the band, they gave it the BOC name. However, it wasn't really a "band album," it's a "producer's album," and manages to hit all the common pitfalls of such things. It's overproduced: too much audio processing robs the music of any visceral punch. Every track as some new guest musician(s) on it: robbing any feeling of coherency from track to track. It definitely doesn't sound like Blue Oyster Cult. Instead it sounds pretty generic, even though the lyrics have all the cool mysticism you'd expect. Basically, it's obscure for a reason. If you want what folks love about the band, it isn't much there.
    “Imaginos” has a long strange history with the band. The concept was originally conceived by Albert Buchard and Sandy Pearlman back in the early days of the band. Several songs from the concept made it onto the “Secret Treaties” album including “The Subhuman” and “Astronomy”, but “Imaginos” as a whole was abandoned as a complete project. Rumors of it’s existence persisted over the years among Blue Oyster Cult fans however. Years later, Albert decided to record and release it as a solo project (he was no longer in B.O.C. by this time) enlisting a bunch of musician friends in the recording. To make a long story short eventually the remaining guys in Blue Oyster Cult also got involved and it was released as a Blue Oyster Cult album even though a whole bunch of additional people appear on it, and it was mainly Albert’s baby. I would agree that it was overproduced and the concept itself, although brilliant in some ways, is presented in a haphazard way and not as effective as it could have been. In fact the “story” of Imaginos is not presented in chronological order on the album which makes the whole thing kind of a confused mess. All that being said there are some really great tracks on the album and I think it is worth owning for them. I like the re-done versions of “Astronomy” and “Blue Oyster Cult” (“The Subhuman) better than the originals. IMO “Imaginos” could have been the great Blue Oyster Cult concept album that most of us fans felt they were capable of making, but it ended up being a mish mash of ideas, some of which worked and some of which didn’t.

    Steve Sly

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by JIF View Post
    Have you ever visited the site Vintage Prog? They state that Cities On Flame rips off The Wizard By Black Sabbath. The only thing it shares with the King Crimson is that both songs have a sinister instrumental middle section.
    The main riff does rip off The Wizard, big time, but I'm talking about the middle section. The whole structure and phrasing is very KC.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by notallwhowander View Post
    I can't recommend Imaginos. When they decided to put out the album, it was originally going to be a side-project, but they wound up using so many members of the band, they gave it the BOC name. However, it wasn't really a "band album," it's a "producer's album," and manages to hit all the common pitfalls of such things. It's overproduced: too much audio processing robs the music of any visceral punch. Every track as some new guest musician(s) on it: robbing any feeling of coherency from track to track. It definitely doesn't sound like Blue Oyster Cult. Instead it sounds pretty generic, even though the lyrics have all the cool mysticism you'd expect. Basically, it's obscure for a reason. If you want what folks love about the band, it isn't much there.
    This is the only BOC album I can't stand, just a mess from start to finish, for me. I know others love this thing. Buck is so melodic, creative and adept a rock guitarist, anyone who hasn't heard him on BOC's albums is missing out. Plus, you need to see him play live, mind blowing. As is so often true with the best in any field, he makes it look easy. I read back in the 70s that he warmed up for three hours to play what he did on stage. Though completely different styles, I enjoy his playing as much as Jeff Beck's. Both are in a category of their own. I am not comparing at all, obviously.

  24. #24
    Estimated Prophet notallwhowander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    I like the re-done versions of “Astronomy” and “Blue Oyster Cult” (“The Subhuman) better than the originals.
    Really a matter of taste, I suppose. I find the original "Astronomy" a high-water mark of the band, right up there with "Don't Fear the Reaper." For me the Imaginos version is like a poor Hollywood version of a favorite novel.

    I appreciate everyone who took the time to expand and clarify the history of Imaginos. The deep history of the story/song cycle is exactly why I tracked the album down. I was primed to really like it, but in the end it just didn't work for me.

    I also agree with all the love for Buck!
    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

  25. #25
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus View Post
    Question is were they a prog band & what do you reccomend?
    No and Tyranny & Mutation
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

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