Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Positively, Guilt-Free Wednesdays: Independence Day Edition

Time for a holiday edition of Positively Guilt-Free Wednesdays, where we get to share something without fear of ridicule or negative criticism. You know, an "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"...type thing. If you want to share something positive, this is the place, music related or not.

Blue Oyster Cult is another favorite band, along with Thin Lizzy and 10cc, that seems to always get lumped into a pile where they don't belong. They are not a heavy metal band. They are not one-hit wonders. Every record BOC released from their 1972 debut to their 1976 studio breakthrough, "Agents Of Fortune," have elements of pop, rock, jazz, psychedelia, punk and even brief walks into the avant-garde. They have employed harmonies that bring to mind both the Beatles and the Beach Boys, and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's guitar playing rivals the greatest axemen in music history. But of course, they will forever be known for the classic rock staples "Don't Fear The Reaper" and "Burnin' For You," two excellent songs, but neither scratching the surface of how much this band has to offer.

I thought of "Fireworks" from my favorite BOC record, "Spectres," for obvious reasons today, and it is also a good example of BOC being hard to categorize.

Another gem from "Spectres" is "Goin' Through The Motions," which feels like Phil Spector meets Mott The Hoople.

I'm feeling like today might be a big BOC listening day here at Casa de Burning Wood. If you're unfamiliar with BOC aside from the two hits, check out what I've posted. If you dig it, then dig deeper, especially the "Secret Treaties" and "Spectres" records. Though, I love "Agents Of Fortune" and "Mirrors," as well.


Anonymous said...

BOC is a great band that can still bring, even on the county fair circuit. Their first album even veers into Americana several times and the rest of their "style" is all over the map, often with fascinating results. They also have a sense of humor, both lyrically and onstage (their giant cowbell after the SNL skit was a classic).

Rocket said...

Man, You nailed it with this piece on Blue Öyster Cult!
They're not what you think they are... Or have been told they were. So True.
Also, Listen to "Then Came The Last Days Of May" "Before The Kiss" "ME262" "Monsters" "After Dark" "Joan Crawford"...
Thank You for reminding me WHY I loved Blue Öyster Cult in the first place!

buzzbabyjesus said...

What about "Godzilla"?

I had "Agents Of Fortune", bought of course for "Don't Fear The Reaper", which I imagine was their "Bohemian Rhapsody".
I don't remember any of the other songs, but liked the album. However punk took over my ears, and that was that.

Listening to "Goin' Through The Motions", I imagined Ian Hunter singing it, and you're right.
It would have been a standout track on any Mott album.

I'm going back in and listen again. Thanks! Happy 4th!

OldRockr1 said...

Spectres was my entry record into BOC and it is still my favorite. We played the heck out of it when it came out and I still listen to it now and again. THe album wasn’t what I expected, especially the pop aspects, but sounded so good. If anything the “hit” Godzilla is my least favorite track on the album. Fireworks, Going Through The Motions, Golden Age Of Leather, Nosferatu...great songs. My buddy is gonna love hearing it later on today. Thanks for the post.


Troy said...

My Jon Cleary discs are due to arrive tomorrow and I can't wait!

Also, today my wife and I are going to watch our daughter, a high school senior who is captain of the Color Guard, march in her final 4th of July Parade. Then we're going to the town Ribfest to eat ribs and watch an odd double bill of Melissa Etheridge and the Stray Cats. Should be a fun, but hot, day. Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Sal Nunziato said...

Troy, that all sounds great! And happy to hear the Cleary discs are on their way.

Chris, "Godzilla" is my least fave as well, though I did play it in a band for about 4 years, and that was fun.

kevin m said...

Until I saw this post, I had completely forgotten that I owned a copy of Mirrors on vinyl back in the 70s when I was a teenager. Can't remember a song off of it but now I'm curious!

Anonymous said...

The only BOC I'm familiar with is Tyranny & Mutation, but I'm REALLY familiar with it and I REALLY love it.


Shriner said...

I dragged my ass out of bed early this morning to go to a local 4th of July parade (Ann Arbor MI) and while I didn't feel any emotional sense of excessive patriotism, I watched both Dem (expected) and Rep (surprisingly!) candidates for various offices (including the upcoming Governor race) walk the streets pressing the flesh and handing out candy along side the Star Wars cosplayers, the Roller Derby girls, the Zen Buddhists, the Boy Scouts (not many), the Girl Scouts (lots of them), the lawn-mower drill team (complete with US flag Lucha Libre face masks), the ACLU, the DAR, a local stage-fighting group complete with two guys mock battling with flaming swords (!) on the back of a flat-bed and the local Shriners with their fezzes standing tall!

And I had a heartfelt and genuine smile on my face the entire time. America -- a place for Americans, indeed! :-)

Obligatory music reference: Saw The Posies in a small club a few weeks ago and they kicked serious ass with a 2 hour set. The opener -- Terra Lightfoot (from Canada, but no relation to Gordon) -- was just fabulous and performed 3 songs with the band. Check out Terra -- I think she's got something there. Really good guitar player and her songs are very solid and the band was one of the better opening acts I've ever seen.

softshoebanana said...

Happy 4th July to you all, Last Days of May and Harvester of Eyes.

Long Live The BOC

Jeff in Denton TX said...

It may be blasphemous, but I prefer BOC's live version of "Kick Out the Jams" to the MC5's original. It's faster. more intense, and the guitar solo is better.

Anonymous said...

I have a thing for punk bands that went metal - fave was Straw Dogs from Boston (formerly the F.U.s) whose singer wore a Soft White Underbelly (pre-BOC) t-shirt for shows. then, of course, White Zombie and Die Kreuzen.

Anonymous said...

First of all, if the only thing BOC did was 'Reaper', they'd be gawds. Yes, we've all heard the song too many times. But try to imagine you'd not heard it before, so didn't take it for granted, so were properly blown away by the incessant and eerie riff, the faultless harmonies, the dramatic interlude in the middle, and the expressive lyrics evoking suicide (Or eternal love, if you believe its author). And taking it to the top 10 in the disco era, to boot.
Having said that, my familiarity with the band is limited to 'Agents Of Fortune', but listening to your selection here is enlightening -- they really are pretty diverse listens! Finally, Minutemen (great SoCal punk band) were fans (They also loved Creedence, another feather in their cap), and I'm a big fan of Minutemen.
Totally unrelated -- I eventually got around to listening to your SOTW from June 17 and have been absolutely mesmerized by the Korgis song. There is something truly haunting about it. So big thanks for giving these cynical old ears something to rejoice in! Especially someone with quite a collection of 1977-1982 underground/wave/KBD material, who was completely unfamiliar with Korgis.
C in California