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Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Don Nix - Gone Too Long (1976 us, awesome bluesy classic rock, 2018 japan remaster)

Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he acquired a broad taste in music...records from blues greats such as Sonny Boy Williamson and Freddie King were placed alongside the Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra discs in his collection. Nix first started playing guitar but picked up the saxophone for his first real band.

The Mar-Keys were "a high school band" formed by Messick High School students. Along with Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love, Charlie Freeman, Packy Axton and others, they recorded "Last Night", an instrumental record intended for local radio that became an international hit in 1961, establishing the foundation of Stax Records. The group had follow up hits "The Morning After" and "Popeye Stroll".

They toured the world (with acts such as the Yardbirds, Ike and Tina Turner, Sam the Sham, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, etc.) and backed up various other Stax artists (Carla and Rufus Thomas, William Bell, etc.) onstage and in the studio.

The band eventually broke up following a rowdy appearance on American Bandstand (Packy Axton arrived at the studio taping less than sober and the entire band gave Dick Clark the "finger" afterwards) with Cropper and Dunn joining Booker T. and the MG's, and Wayne Jackson forming the Memphis Horns with Andrew Love. Other members of the original group included renown session guitarist Charlie Freeman and Jerry Lee "Smoochie" Smith.

After years of touring with the Mar-Keys, Nix was tired of the travel and uninterested with the show business aspect of playing onstage. He found his niche creating and directing music production behind the scenes.

He played the part of backup musician to tracks cut at Stax studios (including William Bell's huge hit You Don't Miss Your Water and eventually wore the hat of record company exec, overseeing the day to day operations of Stax's rock themed subsidiary label Enterprise.

Nix honed his production skills at Stax, John Fry's Ardent Studios, and at Leon Russell and Denny Cordell's Shelter label, producing artists such as Albert King, Delaney and Bonnie, Joe Cocker, Sid Selvidge and Tracy Nelson.

Despite his reluctance to ever beome a front man or stage performer, Nix released brilliant (but underrated) solo albums on Shelter and Enterprise, such as Living By The Days and Hobos, Heroes, and Street Corner Clowns. Well worth the listen, Nix used the finest musicians and vocalists from Memphis (Larry Raspberry, Jeannie Greene, etc.), Muscle Shoals, and the crowd at Shelter, known as the Shelter People (Claudia Lennear, Kathi McDonald, Chris Blackwell, Carl Radle, Don Preston, etc.) as players.

Nix's most notable project during this period was producing childhood hero Freddie King at the famous Chess Studios in Chicago. Leon Russell and Duck Dunn played on the session which produced a hit record for King, a song penned by Nix entitled "Goin' Down" , which has become somewhat of a standard jam tune with bar bands and rock stars alike. It has been covered by Deep Purple, Pearl Jam, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mick Jagger, Maggie Bell with Stone the Crows and many others.

Jeff Beck covered "Goin Down" on his 1972 Jeff Beck Group album on Epic, and the next year Nix produced his colaboration with ex- Vanilla Fudge members Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice titled Beck, Bogart, and Appice.

Despite his reluctance to go back on the road, it was a necessity for Nix to tour and promote his solo albums. He formed the Alabama State Troupers around the premise of recreating an old time traveling music show.

Nix teamed with singer Jeannie Greene and guitarist Lonnie Mack, and they hit the road to promote their individual solo albums, backed by the finest musicians from Muscle Shoals and Memphis.

The group included Wayne Perkins and Tippy Armstrong on guitar, Clayton Ivey on piano, organist Ken Woodley, Bob Wray on bass, Ken Woodley on keyoards, drummers Tarp Tarrant (from Jerry Lee Lewis's band) and Fred Proudly (formely of the Hot Dogs), and the "Mt. Zion choir" with singers Marilyn Greene, Brenda Patterson, Mary "Bouche" Anderson, Carolyn "Pepper" Watkins and Marianne "Tweety" Watkins along with bodyguard/bouncer/cook "Sweet Emily" Smith. The band was a rock and roll version of a big tent revival.

They played shows up and down the west coast (most were simucast on local FM radio), and charged "plain folk prices" (usually $1 or $1.50). The tour was a wild success but ran into trouble when Lonnie Mack unexpectedly pulled out after the first few shows.

Nix turned to an old friend from Memphis, legendary Beale street bluesman Walter "Furry" Lewis for help. Lewis fought his fear of flying and caught the first plane west to join the tour.

The presence of a true authentic bluesman meshed with the younger players onstage was new and unexpected to the early 70's rock audiences, but they were remarkably well received. Lewis continued until the tour ended, and the next year Elecktra released the album The Alabama State Troupers/Road Show.

This two disc live recording is out of print, but is still considered a "must hear" for all Memphis music collectors and listeners.

One notable career event was her collaboration with George Harrison and many others in the production of the Concerts for Bangladesh - a pair of star-studded benefit concerts held at Madison Square Garden.

Harrison asked Nix to assemble a "soul choir" for the show (Claudia Lennear, Marlin and Jeannie Greene, etc.) and later told Nix that he should join the singers onstage. Though reluctant, Nix explains that "you don't say 'no' to a Beatle."

Apple intended to release a three disc album with a film to document the event,but the world class film team that Harrison commissioned to record the concerts were prevented from filming the shows ("right at the last minute" according to Nix) due to union regulations. A crew of Madison Square Garden union hacks apparently more familiar with sporting events actually filmed the concerts. 

1. Goin' Thru Another Change - 3:04
2. Feel A Whole Lot Better (Gene Clark) - 3:57
3. Gone Too Long - 3:18
4. Backstreet Girl (Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) - 4:02
5. Rollin' In My Dreams - 2:52
6. Yazoo City Jail - 3:39
7. Harpoon Arkansas Turnaround - 2:30
8. Forgotten Town - 3:15
9. A Demain (Until Tomorrow) (Don Nix, Denimal) - 4:54

Personnel (not confirmed, only by rumors)
*Don Nix - Vocals, Guitar
*Leon Russell - Piano, Keyboards
*George Harrison - Guitar
*John Mayall - Vocals, Guitar
*Donald "Duck" Dunn - Bass
*Bob Dylan - Vocals

1971  Don Nix - In God We Trust (2016 SHM remaster)
1971  Don Nix - Living By The Days (2011 japan SHM remaster)

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Bob "Catfish" Hodge - Different Strokes The Complete East And Westbound Recordings (1972/75 us, remarkable funky blues folk classic rock, 2014 double disc remaster)

Blues rocker Bob “Catfish” Hodge grew up in Detroit, where he formed his first group while still at school. The city became world famous via the success of Motown, which inspired many young Detroiters, both black and white, to take up music as a career. In the late 60s Hodge founded the band Catfish. Emerging from a rock scene which starred the Stooges and the MC5, they recorded two LPs for Epic, neither of which sold well.

Hodge then self-released his first solo album, before moving to London to write some songs, hoping to become the next James Taylor. Instead he penned ‘Boogie Man’ and headed back to Detroit to get a record deal. Forming a new band, he went to see Westbound Records’ Armen Boladian, who invited George Clinton and Calvin Simon of Funkadelic to see them play.

Within weeks Hodge and his band were recording their first album, produced by Simon at Manta Studios in Toronto at the same time Funkadelic were making “America Eats Its Young”. A mix of boogie rock and soulful horns, “Boogie Man Gonna Get Ya” sold well and picked up good radio plays. A second album, “Dinosaurs And Alley Cats”, had a more laidback feel, most notably on ‘Circus Is In Town’.

Hodge then moved to Virginia, where he met Bonnie Raitt and played on many bills with her. Recorded in Los Angeles, his next album, “Soap Opera’s” (sic), was his most complex and featured a stellar line-up that included Raitt, Dr John, Birtha’s Rosemary Burton and the Flying Burrito Brothers’ Sneaky Pete Kleinlow.

Long out of print, this 2CD set brings together Hodge’s three Westbound and Eastbound albums, a handful of out-takes and a long-forgotten B-side. When we discussed this reissue, he was cheerful and happy with his past. When asked to look back on this period he said simply, “It was a very good time in my journey through life. It gave me a wonderful opportunity at the time when I was ready and able to take it.” 
by Dean Rudland

Disc 1
1. Different Strokes - 3:43
2. Ghetto - 3:07
3. Hungry Love - 6:49
4. I Want You (She's So Heavy) (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) - 5:23
5. I'll Be Gone - 3:06
6. Stop - 2:27
7. I'm The Man - 3:22
8. Boogie Man (Bob "Catfish" Hodge, Gary Shinder) - 9:36
9. Train To Detroit - 3:05
10.Heartbeat Of The Street (Bob "Catfish" Hodge, Gary Shinder) - 5:18
11.Color Tv Blues - 7:02
12.Circus Is In Town (Bob "Catfish" Hodge, Carol Hoffman) - 4:09
13.Never Tell Your Mother She's Out Of Tune (Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) - 6:03
14.Ten Speed Bike (Bob "Catfish" Hodge, Gary Shinder) - 2:48
15.Living The Blues - 5:49
16.Birmingham (Bob "Catfish" Hodge, Gary Shinder) - 4:57
All songs by Bob "Catfish" Hodge excpet where stated
Tracks 1-8 from "Boogieman Gonna Get Ya" 1972
Track 9 Unreleased
Tracks 10-16 from "Dinosaurs And Alleycats" 1974

Disc 2
1. What Those Wimmin Do - 4:32
2. Big Boss Man (Al Smith, Luther Dixon) - 5:36
3. We Got Love In Our House - 4:52
4. Keep Driving Me Crazy - 3:31
5. Silver Arrow - 4:09
6. Ain't It A Shame - 5:57
7. Bulldog - 1:50
8. Oscar Teo - 4:38
9. Des Woman - 3:24
10.It's All Over Now (Bobby Womack, Shirley Womack) - 4:55
11.Sweet Cocaine - 3:10
12.Take A Look In The Mirror - 4:01
13.For Free (Joni Mitchell) - 5:33
All songs by Bob "Catfish" Hodge excpet where noted
Tracks 1-2 Unreleased
Tracks 3-13 from "Soap Opera's" 1975

1972   Boogieman Gonna Get Ya 
*Bob "Catfish" Hodge - Vocals, Guitar
*Bob Babitch - Piano
*William H. Landless - Bass
*Pat Freer - Drums
*Jerry Paul - Percussion
*Dallas Hodge - Guitar

1974  Dinosaurs And Alleycats 
*Bob "Catfish" Hodge - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Organ
*William H. Landless - Bass
*Crispin Cloe - Baritone, Tenor Saxophones
*Dave Chambers - Drums
*"Shakey" Al Werneken - Guitar, Gong
*Dallas Hodge - Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Babitch - Piano
*Jim McCarty - Slide Guitar
*Carter Threlkeld - Trumpet
*Rachel O'Brien - Vocals
*Phyllis Gore - Vocals
*Richard Pinkston - Vocals

1975  Soap Opera's 
*Bob "Catfish" Hodge - Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Banjo
*Larry Zack - Drums
*John Badanjek - Drums
*Mac Rebennack "Dr. John" - Piano
*Wayne Cook - Piano, Organ
*Sneaky Pete Kielnow - Pedal Steel
*Bonnie Raitt - Guitar, Vocals
*James "Hot Ups" Montgomery - Harp
*Bob Scarf - Soprano, Sax, Flute
*Rosemary Butler - Vocals

1970  Catfish - Get Down 

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Monday, May 18, 2020

The Allman Brothers Band - Live At The Atlanta International Pop Festival (1970 us, fantastic blues psych jam rock, 2003 double disc set)

This double disc was recorded over two days in Atlanta in 1970. The venue was only 14 miles from the Allmans “Big House” in Macon, Georgia. So they feel at home.

Day one features some fine excursions, including a stompin’ version of “Hoochie Coochie Man” with Berry Oakley on vocals. It’s nasty. No other way to describe it. There’s a very nice version of the underrated “Dreams” that clocks in at almost 10 minutes and features solos by Duane and Dickey, and Gregg on vocal and organ. Even though Duane has been dead for more than 30 years, it would be hard to find a rock guitarist who sounds this sweet, but still plays with such incredible power. It’s an easy thing to forget what a magnificent player he was. Easy, that is, until you dial up on a tune with him playing. Anyway, disc one has some great music on it, including a “Mountain Jam” that gets interrupted by the rain.

But it’s disc two that lets you hear the Allman Brothers at their finest. Recorded two days after the first, on this disc they seem more comfortable, and they expand ideas throughout the set. Some of the songs are repeated from the first set, but, as you’d expect from a band that jams this much, things get changed around.

This version of “Statesboro Blues” is guaranteed to knock your socks off and make your rear end move. To really catch what this band is all about at their best, check out July 5th’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” It’s a journey that has a lot of fun stops, and highlights each player’s strengths. It’s a shame some of today’s so-called jam bands can’t capture this feeling. No meandering. Everything, even when it appears to be found by chance, has a purpose.

Disc two also features a very cool version of “Stormy Monday,” a classic take on “Whipping Post,” and a 28-minute “Mountain Jam” with guest Johnny Winter.
Some of this has been bootlegged before, but the sound here is terrific. Kirk West’s liner notes are informative and fun, and there are some great photos in the small booklet. 
by John Heidt, December 2005

Disc 1
1.Introduction - 1:04
2.Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie Mctell) - 6:05
3.Trouble No More (McKinley Morganfield) - 4:04
4.Don't Keep Me Wonderin' (Gregg Allman) - 3:49
5.Dreams (Gregg Allman) - 9:49
6.Every Hungry Woman (Gregg Allman) - 4:31
7.Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) - 5:29
8.In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Dickey Betts) - 11:35
9.Whipping Post (Gregg Allman) - 14:47
10.Mountain Jam Part I (Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, J. Johnny Johnson, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks) - 10:35
11.Rain Delay - 1:14
12.Mountain Jam Part II (Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, J. Johnny Johnson, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks) - 6:51

Disc 2
1.Introduction - 1:10
2.Don't Keep Me Wonderin' (Gregg Allman) - 4:04
3.Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie Mctell) - 4:25
4.In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Dickey Betts) - 13:14
5.Stormy Monday (T. Bone Walker) - 9:04
6.Whipping Post (Gregg Allman) - 14:23
7.Mountain Jam (Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, J. Johnny Johnson, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks) - 28:20

Allman Brothers Band
*Gregg Allman - Vocals, Hammond B-3 Organ, Keyboards
*Berry Oakley - Vocals, Bass
*Duane Allman, - Guitar
*Dickie Betts - Guitar
*Thom Doucette - Harmonica
*Butch Trucks - Drums, Percussion
*J. Johnny Johnson - Drums, Percussion
*Johnny Winter - Guitar

1968-89  Dreams (4 disc box set) 
1971  S.U.N.Y. at Stonybrook NY
1973  Brothers And Sisters (2013 Japan SHM super deluxe four disc set edition)
1973  Gregg Allman - Laid Back (2016 japan SHM remaster and 2019 double disc remastered and expanded)
1974  Gregg Allman - The Gregg Allman Tour (2008 japan SHM remaster)
1977  The Gregg Allman Band - Playin' Up A Storm
Related Act
1974  Richard Dickey Betts - Highway Call 
1977-78  Dickey Betts - Dickey Betts And Great Southern / Atlanta's Burning Down (2010 Retro World reissue)

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Country Joe And The Fish - Together (1968 us, magnificent acid folk psych rock, 2005 remaster)

Together, Country Joe & the Fish's third album, was the group's most consistent, most democratic, and their best-selling record. Unlike their first two albums, which were dominated by Country Joe McDonald's voice and compositions, Together featured the rest of the band -- guitarists Barry Melton and David Cohen, bassist Bruce Barthol, and drummer Chicken Hirsh -- almost as prominently as McDonald.

That's usually a formula for disaster, but in this case it gave the album more variety and depth: McDonald tended to favor droning mantras like the album-closing "An Untitled Protest," which worked better when contrasted with the likes of Melton's catchy anti-New York diatribe, "The Streets of Your Town," and the group-written "Rock and Soul Music." Songs like the latter cast the group as a soul revue, true, and they couldn't quite pull that off, but Together had the charming quality of unpredictability; you never knew what was coming next. 

Unfortunately, what came next in the band's career was a split. Barthol was out by September 1968, Cohen and Hirsh followed in January 1969. Thereafter, McDonald and Melton fronted various Fish aggregations, but it was never the same, even when this lineup regrouped for Reunion in 1977. 
by William Ruhlmann 

1. Rock And Soul Music (Country Joe McDonald, Barry Melton, David Cohen, Bruce Barthol, Gary "Chicken" Hirsh) - 6:54
2. Susan (Gary "Chicken" Hirsh) - 3:31
3. Mojo Navigator (Ed Denson, Barry Melton, Country Joe McDonald) - 2:27
4. Bright Suburban Mr. And Mrs. Clean Machine (Gary "Chicken" Hirsh, Barry Melton) - 2:22
5. Good Guys-Bad Guys Cheer-The Streets Of Your Town (Barry Melton) - 3:42
6. The Fish Moan - 0:28
7. The Harlem Song (Country Joe McDonald) - 4:23
8. Waltzing In The Moonlight (Gary "Chicken" Hirsh, Barry Melton) - 2:16
9. Away Bounce My Bubbles (Gary "Chicken" Hirsh) - 2:28
10.Cetacean (Bruce Barthol) - 3:41
11.An Untitled Protest (Country Joe McDonald) - 2:48

Country Joe And The Fish
*Country Joe McDonald - Vocals, Rap, Lead Guitar
*Barry Melton - Vocals, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
*David Cohen - Rhythm Guitar, Organ, Lead Guitar, Organ, Piano
*Bruce Barthol - Bass, Vocals, Backing Vocals
*Gary "Chicken" Hirsh - Drums, Vocals, Bells

1965-71  The First Three E.P's
1967  Country Joe And The Fish - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die (2013 digi pack double disc set)
1967  Electric Music For The Mind And Body (2013 double disc remaster)
1968  Together
1969  Live! Fillmore West
1969  Here We Are Again
1970  CJ Fish
1970  Tonight I'm Singing Just For You
1971  Hold On It's Coming
1971  War War War
1973  Paris Sessions 
1969  Various Artists - Quiet Days In Clichy (2010 remaster)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Lou Reed - Rock 'n' Roll Heart (1976 us, shinny uptempo with pop hooks, 2006 japan remaster)

By the mid-'70s, Lou Reed had been through a lifetime of rock 'n' roll experiences in just a little more than a decade. From early-'60s session work to the Velvet Underground to the unexpected chart success in the early '70s with the solo hit "Walk On the Wild Side," Reed was never one to stay in limbo. He followed his hit Transformer album with the dark and haunting Berlin, the live album Rock and Roll Animal and the back-to-basics Sally Can't Dance.

His next move remains one of the most famous middle fingers in the history of music: the 1975 release of Metal Machine Music, a double album of guitar feedback and other noise effects. Was it a joke, a bold artistic statement, a contractual obligation or all of these? In early 1976, Reed told an interviewer, "I committed a number of blasphemous acts that I can back myself up on, only in saying that it got me the chance to make Metal Machine Music, and it gave me the power to make Coney Island Baby my way, from top to bottom. That's why I did Metal Machine Music. It was supposed to clear the air. Most people, even if you are into electronic music, aren't going to listen to that."

Reed was back on a more conventional path with Coney Island Baby in early 1976, and by October, he returned with the self-produced Rock and Roll Heart, his seventh solo album. It's another of Reed's more conventional records, opening with the soul-injected "I Believe in Love," which surges along with R&B horns. Its refrain of "Good time music, good time rock 'n' roll" is a 180-degree turn from the barrage of noise found on Metal Machine Music.

Reed sticks to traditional music here: "Banging on My Drum" is a straightforward rocker, "Follow the Leader" is funky and "You Wear It So Well" is a soulful ballad. On "Ladies Pay," he even sounds like he's imitating Patti Smith imitating Lou Reed.

There's much use of horns on Rock and Roll Heart, bearing the influence of early rock 'n' roll and jazz that often hangs out in Reed's work. The closing "Temporary Thing," one of the album's best tracks, creates a tension that never breaks over five intense minutes as it borrows from the Velvets, jazz and soul music. "Rock 'n' Roll Heart" didn't get much love. But give it a chance. It's a fresh and intriguing listen, hardly the throwaway its critics claim.
by Dave Swanson, October 28, 2016

1. I Believe In Love - 2:46
2. Banging On My Drum - 2:11
3. Follow the Leader - 2:13
4. You Wear It So Well - 4:52
5. Ladies Pay - 4:22
6. Rock & Roll Heart - 3:05
7. Chooser and the Chosen One - 2:47
8. Senselessly Cruel - 2:08
9. Claim to Fame - 2:51
10.Vicious Circle - 2:53
11.A Sheltered Life - 2:20
12.Temporary Thing - 5:13
All Songs by Lou Reed

*Lou Reed - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Marty Fogel - Saxophone
*Michael Fonfara - Piano, Organ, Clavinet, ARP Synthesizer
*Bruce Yaw - Bass
*Michael Suchorsky - Drums
*Garland Jeffreys - Background Vocals

1972-76  Lou Reed - Original Album Classics (2008 five disc box set)
1974 Lou Reed - Rock 'N' Roll Animal (2006 japan edition)
1975  Lou Reed - Live (2006 japan reissue)
1978 Lou Reed - Street Hassle (2006 japan)
1972 Lou Reed, John Cale And Nico - Live At Bataclan Paris (2013 remaster)
1967-69  Velvet Underground - Another View (SHM Japan)  
1968-69  Velvet Underground - VU (japan remaster)

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Blue Oyster Cult - Some Enchanted Evening (1978 us, solid hard rock, 2007 digi pak remaster with bonus tracks plus dvd)

Even though their previous studio release, Spectres, was one of the best selling albums of their career it just didn't live up to the monstrous ideology of that Blue Oyster Cult had created with such seminal releases as Secret Treaties and Agents of Fortune. Everything was there, to be true—searing leads, wonderfully out of place vocal harmonies, taut rhythms—but something was also missing. Funny thing is that it was almost as if the band knew that themselves and purposely realized that they needed to release a scorching live album to the public in order to reclaim some of that raucous bar band blast they were once so (in)famous for bringing.

To wit Some Enchanted Evening kicks off with "R.U. Ready 2 Rock," one of the more catchy, but also more lackluster offerings from Spectres. Needless to say, the live version is everything the studio version wasn't: it's loud, brash, and lives up to its title in every way, chugging and lunging out at the Atlanta audience with bristling energy and showcasing the band in their true element.

With "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)" the band keeps the energy levels in the red, the familiar guitar lick driving the crowd into a frenzy as Buck Dharma lets loose with some scorching mutant blues. This is still one of the best captured versions of this searing number out there. By the third song, the epic "Astronomy," the band is in full swing and showing and proving that they really can't f@#k this one up.

From the intricate and sweeping grandiosity of "Astronomy" the band kick full bore into the blazing cover of the MC5 classic "Kick Out The Jams." BOC simultaneously stay true to the original Detroit rock fever of the original while putting their own New York certified stamp on it. That it mudslides right into a turgid rendition of "Godzilla" is all the better, too. While the original version found on Spectres is a bona fide classic its given a breath of hot, magma filtered air in a live setting. Coupling it with "Don't Fear The Reaper" is altogether a smart move, both for the folks who were at the show twenty years ago and for those of us reliving the experience vicariously.

The set is rounded out with a wonderful take on The Animals "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place." Rolling along to Dharma's crisp guitar leads and snappy basslines from Joe Bouchard. It's a meandering lull that will suck you in. But there's a punch line: the track grows from a lumbering lope into a full-blown growl and snarl, from the vocals and guitars down to the flailing drums and rumbling bass. As brilliant as those fools who brew Guinness.

The original seven song version of Some Enchanted Evening is perhaps the best introduction one could have to the bugged out world of Blue Oyster Cult. The band presents some of their best material in a manner that is not only true to the studio recordings, but also delivers them with unmistakable energy imbued in a live setting. Give this to any BOC virgin and they'll be able to tie a cherry stem into a bow without thinking twice.

As for the bonus material, the new version tacks on an additional seven tracks to recreate the original vision of the album (it was initially intended as a sprawling double live album, but later trimmed down to the single disc version most hardcore heads will no doubt have tucked away in a dusty crate somewhere). While cuts like "ME-262" keep the energy levels on tilt, they also feel somewhat out of place. While only the first four tracks of the original issue were recorded in Atlanta, the remaining three were mixed so that it sounded like one singular show. In similar fashion the bonus material is made up of four tracks recorded in Detroit, buffered by selections from shows in Little Rock, Rochester, and Boston.

"Harvester Of Eyes" is a charging, old school BOC rocker. "Hot Rails To Hell" follows suit, the guitar skirling and cantankerous in a menacing bleed of grunge encrusted blitzkrieg. "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" gets a drastic overhaul, sounding edgier and heavier than the studio version. And "5 Guitars" is just as the name implies. Sort of. It begins with a rolling bass swatch and snappy snare drum shuffle before blowing out into nothing but six-string sizzle. At 8-minutes and 33-seconds it's also the longest track on the album. The bonus portion concludes with two covers: the pretty staid "Born To Be Wild" (with the exception of the over-the-top keyboard solo) and another version of "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place."

Whereas the original seven song live album feels like a whole, mixed to sound like a snapshot of a single show and presents all sides of the band, from balls-to-the-wall rock to textured, nuanced almost softly psychedelic allusions, the second seven song section feels like a completely different show, one where the band is hell-bent on recapturing their garage rock roots. It might have been cool to have had them sequenced in such a way that it sounded like one show instead of two distinctly different ones buffered up against one another. Oh yeah, for the seriously hardcore there is an accompanying DVD of a show from Landover.

All in all the new, expanded version of Some Enchanted Evening is a ripping good time that showcases Blue Oyster Cult at the top of their arena rock game. In many ways this album even eclipses some of their studio efforts and works as a welcome shift from their impending slickness that began on Spectres and carried over into some of their later work, as well. 
by Spence D.  27 Mar 2007 

1. R.U. Ready 2 Rock (Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) - 6:07
2. E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) (Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) - 5:16
3. Astronomy (Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) - 8:26
4. Kick Out The Jams (Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Dennis Thompson, Rob Tyner) - 3:07
5. Godzilla (Donald Roeser) - 4:08
6. (Don't Fear) The Reaper (Donald Roeser) - 6:09
7. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 4:40
8. Me 262 (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) - 3:24
9. Harvester Of Eyes (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Richard Meltzer) - 4:35 
10.Hot Rails To Hell (Joe Bouchard) - 5:01
11.This Ain't The Summer Of Love (Albert Bouchard, Murray Krugman, Don Waller) - 2:48
12.5 Guitars (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Allen Lanier, Joe Bouchard, Albert Bouchard) - 8:34
13.Born To Be Wild (Mars Bonfire) - 6:30
14.We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 4:36

1. R.U. Ready To Rock (Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) - 5:29
2. E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) (Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) - 5:04
3. Harvester of Eyes (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Richard Meltzer) - 4:35
4. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 4:09
5. Golden Age of Leather (Bruce Abbott, Donald Roeser) - 6:48
6. Astronomy (Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) - 8:18
7. ME 262 (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) - 3:24
8. Kick Out The Jams (Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Dennis Thompson, Rob Tyner) - 3:03
9. This Ain't The Summer Of Love (Albert Bouchard, Murray Krugman, Don Waller) - 2:48
10.5 Guitars (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Allen Lanier, Joe Bouchard, Albert Bouchard) - 8:34
11.Born To Be Wild (Mars Bonfire) - 6:30
Filmed in 1978 at the Capital Center, Largo, MD, all tracks previously unreleased.

Blue Oyster Cult
*Eric Bloom - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Joe Bouchard - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
*Albert Bouchard - Drums, Vocals
*Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - Lead And Rhythm Guitars, Vocals
*Allen Lanier - Keyboards, Guitars

1972-79  Blue Oyster Cult - Original Album Classics (2008 five disc box set)
1974/77  Blue Oyster Cult - Spectres / Secret Treaties (2007 bonus tracks remaster and 2014 blu spec remaster) 
Related Act
1970 Stalk-Forrest Group - St. Cecilia, The Elektra Recordings (Rem Bonus Tracks)

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Lou Reed - Original Album Classics (1972-75 us, amazing 2008 five disc box set)

The career of Lou Reed defied capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to strung-out junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. Few would deny Reed's immense importance and considerable achievements. As has often been written, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and abuse), decadence, transvestites, homosexuality, and suicidal depression. As has been pointed out less often, he remained committed to using rock & roll as a forum for literary, mature expression throughout his artistic life, without growing lyrically soft or musically complacent. By and large, he took on these challenging duties with uncompromising honesty and a high degree of realism. For these reasons, he was often cited as punk's most important ancestor. It's often overlooked, though, that he was equally skilled at celebrating romantic joy, and rock & roll itself, as he was at depicting harrowing urban realities. With the exception of Neil Young, no other star who rose to fame in the '60s continued to push himself so diligently into creating work that was, and remains, meaningful and contemporary. 

Although Reed achieved his greatest success as a solo artist, his most enduring accomplishments were as the leader of the Velvet Underground in the '60s. If Reed had never made any solo records, his work as the principal lead singer and songwriter for the Velvets would have still ensured his stature as one of the greatest rock visionaries of all time. The Velvet Underground are discussed at great length in many other sources, but it's sufficient to note that the four studio albums they recorded with Reed at the helm are essential listening, as is much of their live and extraneous material. "Heroin," "Sister Ray," "Sweet Jane," "Rock and Roll," "Venus in Furs," "All Tomorrow's Parties," "What Goes On," and "Lisa Says" are just the most famous classics that Reed wrote and sang for the group. As innovative as the Velvets were at breaking lyrical and instrumental taboos with their crunching experimental rock, they were unappreciated in their lifetime. Five years of little commercial success was undoubtedly a factor in Reed leaving the group he had founded in August 1970, just before the release of their most accessible effort, Loaded. Although Reed's songs and streetwise, sing-speak vocals dominated the Velvets, he was perhaps more reliant upon his talented collaborators than he realized, or was even willing to admit in his latter years. The most talented of these associates was John Cale, who was apparently fired by Reed in 1968 after the Velvets' second album (although the pair subsequently worked together on various other projects). 

Reed had a reputation of being a difficult man to work with for an extended period, and that made it difficult for his extensive solo oeuvre to compete with the standards of brilliance set by the Velvets. Nowhere was this more apparent than on his self-titled solo debut from 1971, recorded after he'd taken an extended hiatus from music, moving back to his parents' suburban Long Island home at one point. Lou Reed mostly consisted of flaccid versions of songs dating back to the Velvet days, and he could have really used the group to punch them up, as proved by the many outtake versions of these tunes that he actually recorded with the Velvet Underground (some of which didn't surface until about 25 years later). 

Reed got a shot in the arm (no distasteful pun intended) when David Bowie and Mick Ronson produced his second album, Transformer. A more energetic set that betrayed the influence of glam rock, it also included his sole Top 20 hit, "Walk on the Wild Side," and other good songs like "Vicious" and "Satellite of Love." It also made him a star in Britain, which was quick to appreciate the influence Reed had exerted on Bowie and other glam rockers. Reed went into more serious territory on Berlin (1973), its sweet orchestral production coating lyrical messages of despair and suicide. In some ways Reed's most ambitious and impressive solo effort, it was accorded a vituperative reception by critics in no mood for a nonstop bummer (however elegantly executed). Unbelievably, in retrospect, it made the Top Ten in Britain, though it flopped stateside. 

Having been given a cold shoulder for some of his most serious (if chilling) work, Reed apparently decided he was going to give the public what it wanted. He had guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner give his music more of a pop-metal, radio-friendly sheen. More disturbingly, he decided to play up to the cartoon junkie role that some in his audience seemed eager to assign to him. Onstage, that meant shocking bleached hair, painted fingernails, and simulated drug injections. On record, it led to some of his most careless performances. One of these, the 1974 album Sally Can't Dance, was also his most commercially successful, reaching the Top Ten, thus confirming both Reed's and the audience's worst instincts. As if to prove he could still be as uncompromising as anyone, he unleashed the double album Metal Machine Music, a nonstop assault of electronic noise. Opinions remain divided as to whether it was an artistic statement, a contract quota-filler, or a slap in the face to the public. 

Later, Reed never behaved as outrageously (in public and in the studio) as he did in the mid-'70s, although there was plenty of excitement in the decades that followed. When he decided to play it relatively straight, sincere, and hard-nosed, he could produce affecting work in the spirit of his best vintage material (parts of Coney Island Baby and Street Hassle). At other points, he seemed not to be putting too much effort into any aspect of his songs ("Rock and Roll Heart").
by Richie Unterberger

Disc 1 Lou Reed 1972
1. I Can't Stand It - 2:37
2. Going Down - 2:57
3. Walk and Talk It - 3:40
4. Lisa Says - 5:34
5. Berlin - 5:16
6. I Love You - 2:21
7. Wild Child - 4:41
8. Love Makes You Feel - 3:13
9. Ride Into The Sun (Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker) - 3:16
10.Ocean - 5:06
All songs by Lou Reed except as noted

Disc 2 Transformer 1972
1. Vicious – 2:58
2. Andy's Chest – 3:20
3. Perfect Day – 3:46
4. Hangin' 'Round – 3:35
5. Walk on the Wild Side – 4:15
6. Make Up – 3:00
7. Satellite of Love – 3:42
8. Wagon Wheel – 3:19
9. New York Telephone Conversation – 1:33
10.I'm So Free – 3:09
11.Goodnight Ladies – 4:21 
12.Hangin' Round" (Acoustic Demo) – 3:57
13.Perfect Day" (Acoustic Demo) / "Transformer" Radio Advertising (Hidden Track) – 4:50
All songs written by Lou Reed

Disc 3 Berlin 1973
1. Berlin – 3:23
2. Lady Day – 3:40
3. Men of Good Fortune – 4:37
4. Caroline Says I – 3:57
5. How Do You Think It Feels – 3:42
6. Oh, Jim – 5:13
7. Caroline Says II – 4:10
8. The Kids – 7:55
9/ The Bed – 5:51
10.Sad Song – 6:55
All tracks composed by Lou Reed

Disc 4 Sally Can't Dance 1974
1. Ride Sally Ride - 4:05
2. Animal Language - 3:05
3. Baby Face - 5:05
4. N. Y. Stars - 4:01
5. Kill Your Sons - 3:40
6. Ennui - 3:43
7. Sally Can't Dance - 4:12
8. Billy - 5:10
9. Good Taste - 3:30
10.Sally Can't Dance (Single Version) - 4:12
All songs by Lou Reed

Disc 5 Coney Island Baby 1975
1. Crazy Feeling - 2:56
2. Charley's Girl - 2:36
3. She's My Best Friend - 6:00
4. Kicks - 6:06
5. A Gift - 3:47
6. Ooohhh Baby - 3:45
7. Nobody's Business - 3:41
8. Coney Island Baby - 6:36
9. Nowhere At All - 3:17
10.Downtown Dirt - 4:18
11.Leave Me Alone - 5:35
12.Crazy Feeling - 2:39
13.She's My Best Friend - 4:08
14.Coney Island Baby - 5:41
All compositions by Lou Reed
Track 9 Recorded November 18, 21, 1975 At Mediasound Studios, NYC
Track 10 Recorded January 3, 4, 1975 At Electric Lady Studios, NYC
Track 11 Recorded October 19, 20, 1975 At Mediasound Studios, NYC
Track 12 Recorded January 3, 4, 1975 At Electric Lady Studios, NYC
Track 13 Recorded January 4, 1975 At Electric Lady Studios, NYC
Track 14 Recorded January 6, 1975 At Electric Lady Studios, NYC

1972 Lou Reed
*Lou Reed - Guitar, Arranger, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
*Clem Cattini - Percussion
*Helene Francois - Harmony Vocals
*Kay Garner - Harmony Vocals
*Steve Howe - Guitar
*Les Hurdle - Bass
*Paul Keogh - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
*Brian Odgers - Bass
*Caleb Quaye - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
*Rick Wakeman - Piano, Keyboards
1972 Transformer
*Lou Reed - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Herbie Flowers - Bass Guitar, Double-Bass, Tuba
*Mick Ronson - Lead Guitar, Piano, Recorder, Backing Vocals, String Arrangements
*John Halsey - Drums
*Ronnie Ross - Baritone Saxophone
*David Bowie - Backing Vocals
*The Thunderthighs - Backing Vocals
*Barry Desouza - Drums
*Ritchie Dharma - Drums
*Klaus Voormann - Bass
1973 Berlin
*Lou Reed - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Bob Ezrin - Piano, Mellotron
*Michael Brecker - Tenor Sax
*Randy Brecker - Trumpet
*Jack Bruce - Bass
*Aynsley Dunbar - Drums
*Steve Hunter - Electric Guitar
*Tony Levin - Bass
*Allan Macmillan - Piano
*Gene Martynec - Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Vocal Arrangement
*Jon Pierson - Bass Trombone
*Dick Wagner - Background Vocals, Electric Guitar
*Blue Weaver - Piano
*B.J. Wilson - Drums
*Steve Winwood - Organ, Harmonium
*Bob Ezrin, Dennis Ferrante, Steve Hyden, Elizabeth March, Lou Reed, Dick Wagner - Choir
1974 Sally Can't Dance
*Lou Reed - Vocals, Guitar
*Danny Weis - Guitar, Tambourine, Background Vocals, Horn Arrangement
*Paul Fleisher - Saxophone On "Billy"
*David Taylor, Lou Marini, Trevor Koehler, Jon Faddis, Alan Rubin, Alex Foster - Horns
*Steve Katz - Harmonica, Horn Arrangement
*Michael Fonfara - Keyboards, Background Vocals, Horn Arrangement
*Prakash John - Bass, Background Vocals
*Doug Yule - Bass On "Billy"
*Ritchie Dharma - Drums On "Kill Your Sons" & "Ennui"
*Pentti "Whitey" Glan - Drums
*Michael Wendroff - Background Vocals
*Joanne Vent - Background Vocals
1975 Coney Island Baby
*Lou Reed - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
*Bob Kulick - Guitar
*Bruce Yaw - Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass
*Michael Suchorsky - Drums
*Joanne Vent, Michael Wendroff, Godfrey Diamond - Background Vocals
*Doug Yule - Bass, Guitar (On Bonus Tracks)
*Bob Meday - Drums (On Bonus Tracks)
*Michael Fonfara - Keyboards  (On Bonus Tracks)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Blue Oyster Cult - Spectres / Secret Treaties (1977 / 1974 us, exceptional hard rock, 2007 bonus tracks remaster and 2014 blu spec remaster)

Often looked at as the least attractive and least talented younger sibling to the monster Agents of Fortune, 1977's Spectres is actually quite strong on its own and holds up pretty well next to that breakthrough album. As SONY Legacy is slowly making their way through the catalog, this remaster is quite nice and a long time coming. All the original album cuts sound great, and there are four bonus tracks included, all songs recorded at the same sessions, and appearing here for the first time.

Making your way through this release, there really are a lot of intelligent, catchy, heavy rock tunes, some dripping with a dash of proggy atmosphere & texture, a little dose of "metal" here and there, but for the most part just very good rock music. Sure, the thing kicks off with the infamous "Godzilla", a snarling heavy rock beast that reminded fans that they could easily melt the speakers alongside Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent anyday. However, let's not forget the brash "Golden Age of Leather", or the super melodic "Death Valley Nights", complete with searing guitar licks from Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser. Spirited funk rock track "Searchin' For Celine" and the meditative rocker "Fireworks" both show the writing talents of Allen Lanier and Albert Bouchard, and the Eric Bloom/Ian Hunter penned "Goin' Through the Motions" is a great rock radio tune that surprisingly wasn't a smash hit. The heavy rocker "R.U. Ready 2 Rock" became a live favorite, and features crisp riffs from Buck and honky tonk piano from Lanier. "Celestial The Queen" is a grand & majestic tune that relies heavily on layers of vocals and Lanier's keyboard work. The last two tracks are quite interesting; "I Love the Night" is a tender piece written by Roeser, featuring his melodic vocals and an emotional guitar solo, while "Nosferatu" is a dark and mysterious piece about vampires, and comes pretty close to prog rock.

The bonus tracks are a mixed bag, but will be of great interest to fans. "Night Flyer" is a poppy rocker, "Dial M for Murder" features some snarling guitar work, an angry vocal from Bloom, and raging Hammond from Lanier, but "Please Hold" is pretty awful. The band's take on the Ronettes classic "Be My Baby" is suprisingly good, if a bit odd. After hearing these four songs, you'll realize why they were left off of Spectres, but it's great having them here so you can take in the entire session in one listen. Overall, this album might not be the immediate classic that Secret Treaties, Agents of Fortune, or Tyranny and Mutation are, but it comes close. 
by Pete Pardo

The music is clean and precisely heard.  The shouted parts in “Godzilla” are easily discernable while the clarity of the music is excellent.  This is true throughout Spectres, which should please fans.  The expanded parts of Spectres contain 4 bonus tracks recorded during the Spectre sessions but not used.The bonus cuts are easily discernible as having been from these sessions however, it’s also clear why they were left off.  They are fun tracks and their inclusion here is worthy as it shows us a process of selection.  These tracks feel out of place with the overall theme of the album but regardless add value to this new package.  “Please Hold,” the third bonus cut is a mid-‘60s Stones-like song that holds well.  The final bonus track, “Be My Baby” is a cover of The Ronettes’ popular, “Be My Baby” and is actually a very good cover at that, if not a curiosity, and an oft-traded BOC track - it reminds of the use of “Loco-Motion” by Grand Funk Railroad.

1. Godzilla (Donald Roeser) - 3:41
2. Golden Age of Leather (Bruce Abbott, Donald Roeser) - 5:53
3. Death Valley Nights  (Richard Meltzer, Albert Bouchard) - 4:07
4. Searchin’ for Celine  (Allen Lanier) - 3:35
5. Fireworks  (Albert Bouchard) - 3:14
6. R.U. Ready 2 Rock  (Sandy Pearlman, Albert Bouchard) - 3:45
7. Celestial the Queen  (Helen Wheels, Joe Bouchard) - 3:24
8. Goin’ Through the Motions (Eric Bloom, Ian Hunter) - 3:12
9. I Love the Night (Donald Roeser) - 4:23
10.Nosferatu  (Helen Wheels, Joe Bouchard) - 5:23
11.Night Flyer  (Joe Bouchard, Murray Krugman) - 3:48
12.Dial M For Murder  (Donald Roeser) - 3:11
13.Please Hold (Albert Bouchard) - 2:47
14.Be My Baby" (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector) - 3:01

Blue Oyster Cult
*Eric Bloom - Vocals, Guitar
*Joe Bouchard - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Guitar
*Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - Lead, Rhythm Guitars, Vocals
*Albert Bouchard - Drums, Vocals, Harmonica
*Allen Lanier - Keyboards, Guitar
*Newark Boys Chorus - Vocals

1972-79  Blue Oyster Cult - Original Album Classics (2008 five disc box set)
Related Act
1970 Stalk-Forrest Group - St. Cecilia, The Elektra Recordings (Rem Bonus Tracks)

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Blue Oyster Cult - Original Album Classics (1972-79 us, superb hard rock, 2008 five disc box set plus 2014 Blu Spec Agents Of Fortune)

Blue Öyster Cult was the thinking man's heavy metal group. Put together on a college campus by a couple of rock critics, it maintained a close relationship with a series of literary figures (often in the fields of science fiction and horror), including Eric Von Lustbader, Patti Smith, Michael Moorcock, and Stephen King, while turning out some of the more listenable metal music of the early and mid-'70s. The band that became Blue Öyster Cult was organized in 1967 at Stony Brook College on Long Island by students (and later rock critics) Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer as Soft White Underbelly and consisted of Andy Winters (bass), Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (guitar), John Wiesenthal -- quickly replaced by Allen Lanier -- (keyboards), and Albert Bouchard (drums), with Pearlman managing and Pearlman and Meltzer writing songs. Initially without a lead singer, they added Les Bronstein on vocals. This quintet signed to Elektra Records and recorded an album that was never released. They then dropped Bronstein and replaced him with their road manager, Eric Bloom, as the band's name was changed to Oaxaca. A second Elektra album also went unreleased, though a single was issued under the name the Stalk-Forrest Group. 

Cut loose by Elektra, they changed their name again, to Blue Öyster Cult, and signed to Columbia Records in late 1971, by which time Winters had been replaced by Albert Bouchard's brother Joe. Blue Öyster Cult, their debut album, was released in January 1972 and made the lower reaches of the charts. Columbia sent a promotional EP, Live Bootleg, to radio stations in October, and followed with BÖC's second album, Tyranny & Mutation, in February 1973. Their third album, Secret Treaties, was released in April 1974 and became their first to break into the Top 100 bestsellers. (It eventually went gold.)

In May 1976 came their fourth studio album, Agents of Fortune, including the Top 40 (Top Ten on some charts) hit single "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (featured in the classic John Carpenter horror film Halloween), which became their first gold and then platinum album. (On Your Feet went gold shortly after.) 
by William Ruhlmann

One area of clear improvement is in the matter of lyrics; for the first time there is less emphasis on absurd, crypto-intellectual rambling and more of a coherent attack on a variety of subjects.  The former had simply become tiresome; the latter opens up whole new areas for Cult investigation. 

"This Ain't the Summer of Love," for example, is a fresh approach to a subject one would expect to have been exhausted long ago. The Cult is still loud ("Tattoo Vampire"), still mordant ("[Don't Fear] The Reaper"), still obsessed with their peculiar brand of beery mysticism ("E.T.I. [Extra Terrestrial Intelligence]"). But by dropping the S&M angle and by inserting slivers of genuine rock & roll like "True Confessions," their best song ever, the Cult is easing into maturity with integrity. 

Agents of Fortune's comparativeness slickness even serves to enhance their dark image: the ominous villiany conveyed by Buck Dharma's agile guitar lines on "Tenderloin" is far more effective than his heretofore standard thudding meanness. Blue Oyster Cult has built its career on a series of brutal non sequitors. nitially, these took the form of a group image of fascist hoodiness and "ugly" music detailed by AWOL rock critics' wordplay. This time, it is Patti Smith's presence, as co-writer of "Debbie Denise" and "The Revenge of Vera Gemini, " that provides the Cult with the aleatory motivation to seek success in the burgeoning commercial punk rock sweepstakes. 

Another central influence is Allen Lanier's increasing importance, here evidenced by his authorship of "True Confessions" and "Morning Final," and ambitious bomb. In fact, former major-domos Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman seem to be barely keeping the boys in line, let alone under their aesthetic thumbs. Or maybe that's just what they want us to think, since, with David Lewis, they are credited with producing the record. In any event, it works: Agents of Fortune is a very pleasant surprise, its first side containing some of the best rock released thus far this year.
by Ken Tucker, Rolling Stone, 7-15-76

Disc 1 Blue Oyster Cult 1972
1. Transmaniacon MC  (Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom) - 3:21
2. I'm on the Lamb But I Ain't No Sheep (Sandy Pearlman, Albert Bouchard, Eric Bloom) - 3:10
3. Then Came the Last Days of May  (Donald Roeser) - 3:31
4. Stairway to the Stars (Richard Meltzer, Albert Bouchard, Donald Roeser) - 3:43
5. Before the Kiss, a Redcap (Sandy Pearlman, Murray Krugman, Allen LanierDonald Roeser) - 4:59
6. Screams  (Joe Bouchard) - 3:10
7. She's as Beautiful as a Foot  (Richard MeltzerAlbert Bouchard, Allen Lanier) - 2:58
8. Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll  (Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser,  Albert Bouchard) - 4:03
9. Workshop of the Telescopes  (Sandy Pearlman, Albert Bouchard, Roeser, Allen Lanier, Joe BouchardEric Bloom) - 4:01
10.Redeemed (Sandy Pearlman, Harry FarcasAlbert BouchardAllen Lanier) - 3:52
11.Donovan's Monkey  (Meltzer, Albert Bouchard) - 3:50
12.What is Quicksand  (Meltzer,Allen Lanierr) - 3:40
13.A Fact About Sneakers (Meltzer, Albert Bouchard) - 2:50
14.Betty Lou's Got a New Pair of Shoes  (Bobby Freeman) - 2:34

Disc 2 Tyranny And Mutation 1973
1. The Red and the Black  (Albert Bouchard, Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman) – 4:24
2. O.D.'d on Life Itself (Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) – 4:47
3. Hot Rails to Hell  (Joe Bouchard) – 5:12
4. 7 Screaming Diz-Busters  (Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) – 7:01
5. Baby Ice Dog  (Albert Bouchard, Eric Bloom, Patti Smith) – 3:29
6. Wings Wetted Down  (Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard) – 4:12
7. Teen Archer  (Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom, Richard Meltzer) – 3:57
8. Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl) (Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) – 5:08
9. Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll  (Live) (Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser, Albert Bouchard) – 4:44
10.Buck's Boogie  (Studio Version) (Sandy Pearlman, Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard) – 5:22
11.7 Screaming Diz-Busters  (Live) (Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) – 14:01
12.O.D.'d on Life Itself  (Live) (Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) – 4:52

Disc 3 Secret Treaties 1974
1.  Career of Evil (Albert Bouchard, Patti Smith) - 3:59
2.  Subhuman  (Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman) - 4:39
3.  Dominance and Submission  (Albert Bouchard, Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman) - 5:23
4.  ME 262 (Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Sandy Pearlman) - 4:48
5.  Cagey Cretins  (Albert Bouchard, Richard Meltzer) - 3:16
6.  Harvester of Eyes  (Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom, Richard Meltzer) - 4:42
7.  Flaming Telepaths  (Albert Bouchard, Eric Bloom, Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser) - 5:20
8.  Astronomy  (Joe Bouchard, Albert Bouchard, Sandy Pearlman) - 6:38
9.  Boorman the Chauffer  (Joe Bouchard, Murray Krugman) - 3:13
10. Mommy  (Eric Bloom, Richard Meltzer) - 3:32
11. Mes Dames Sarat  (Allen Lanier) - 4:07
12. Born to Be Wild  (Mars Bonfire) - 3:40
13. Career of Evil (Single Version)  (Albert Bouchard, Patti Smith) - 3:00

Disc 4 Agents Of Fortune 1976
1. This Ain't the Summer of Love (Albert Bouchard, Murray Krugman, Don Waller) – 2:20
2. True Confessions  (Allen Lanier) – 2:57
3. (Don't Fear) The Reaper  (Donald Roeser) – 5:09
4. E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)  (Sandy Pearlman, Donald Roeser) – 3:42
5. The Revenge of Vera Gemini (feat. Patti Smith) (Albert Bouchard, Patti Smith) – 3:53
6. Sinful Love (Albert Bouchard, Helen Robbins) – 3:29
7. Tattoo Vampire  (Albert Bouchard, Helen Robbins) – 2:41
8. Morning Final (Joe Bouchard) – 4:30
9. Tenderloin  (Allen Lanier) – 3:40
10.Debbie Denise  (Albert Bouchard, Patti Smith) – 4:23
11.Fire of Unknown Origin (Original Version) (Eric Bloom, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Donald Roeser, Patti Smith) - 3:30
12.Sally  (Demo Version) (Albert Bouchard) - 2:40
13.(Don't Fear) The Reaper (Demo Version) (Donald Roeser) - 6:20
14.Dance The Night Away (Demo Version) (Jim Carroll, Allen Lanier) - 2:37

Disc 5 Mirrors 1979
1. Dr. Music  (Richard Meltzer, Joe Bouchard, Donald Roeser) - 3:10
2. The Great Sun Jester (Michael Moorcock, John Trivers, Eric Bloom) - 4:48
3. In Thee (Allen Lanier) - 3:48
4. Mirrors (Donald Roeser, Bruce Abbott) - 3:44
5. Moon Crazy (Joe Bouchard) - 4:06
6. The Vigil  (Donald Roeser, Sandy Roeser) - 6:25
7. I Am The Storm  (Joe Bouchard, Ronald Binder) - 3:42
8. You're Not The One (I Was Looking For) (Albert Bouchard, Caryn Bouchard) - 3:14
9. Lonely Teardrops (Allen Lanier) - 3:37

Blue Oyster Cult
*Eric Bloom - Lead Vocals, Stun Guitar, Keyboards
*Albert Bouchard - Drums, Lead Vocals
*Joe Bouchard - Bass, Lead Vocals
*Allen Lanier - Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards
*Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
*Patti Smith - Vocals (Agents Of Fortune)
*Randy Brecker - Horns (Agents Of Fortune)
*Michael Brecker - Horns (Agents Of Fortune)

Related Act
1970 Stalk-Forrest Group - St. Cecilia, The Elektra Recordings (Rem Bonus Tracks)

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