US - New York - Full Moon 117 - 04/13/06
Through the retro-scope:
Anniversary Album of the Moonth
Blue Öyster Cult
Agents of Fortune
This is a piece in a series of 12 Luna Kafé desserts, presenting a dozen of records celebrating their 40th, 30th, 20th or 10th birthday this year 2006. I've chosen three out of each "class". Classics, milestones, favourites. You name it. Some among the global masses, others maybe in smaller circuits only. Maybe we could group them under the moniker "Pet Records" - to re-name one of the many 40-year-olds of 2006.
This moonth's time machine ride is the first stop-over in 1976. Who else could be the choise but Blue Öyster Cult? None. Blue Öyster Cult (BÖC) is my somewhere in my mid-teen-years revisited. I recall when I bought my first cap (yeah, tractor cap for sure) the first time I visited the USA. Yes, a cool cap in black and white, with that BÖC logo in blue. Years later I gave away he cap to a friendly soul with Down Syndrome, who totally fell in love with my way cool hat. Hopefully the cap's still out there somewhere, bringing joy to its owner.
Agents of Fortune was recorded in 1975 and 1976, to be released in May of 1976, as BÖC's 4th album. The band was said to be 'the thinking man's heavy metal', which sort of is a stinky phrase. Yet, it's a bit of the truth shining true here. When the band was formed as Soft White Underbelly, they were organized/managed by Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer (later to be famed producer/songwriter and rock critic). After testing various line-ups under various names, the steady crew became Eric Bloom (vocals, plus), Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser (guitar, backing vocals, synthesizer, etc), Albert Bouchard (drums, backing vocals, etc), brother Joe Bouchard (bass, backing vocals), and Allen Lanier (keyboards, backing vocals, and more). After making their debut in early 1972, BÖC were set for stardom, pounding out their poppy sort of hard rock. After releasing a double live album (a 1970's phenomenon, indeed), Agents of Fortune was to take them to the very top. Much thanks to their massive hit "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", which is a classic, not hard but soft rock song with a pop twist.
In fact this song's so good, the other songs on the album are fighting to get out of its shadow. Yet, Agents of Fortune is so cool with its dazed 1970s rock beat, it still charms me madly, even though it also sounds a bit, uh, 'lame' and dated. Maybe it shoul've been given a harder glaze.
Well, if you're looking for 1970s rock Agents of Fortune is a fine plaze to start. Guest artists include Patti Smith, who adds vocals on "The Revenge of Vera Gemini", and horn-brothers Michael and Randy Brecker.
So, the BÖC kept rocking and rolling, and they even put out a very decent album in 1981, Fire of Unknown Origin. They even kept going through-out 1980s, via the 1990s, unfortunately up to the present. Many a band member has been in and out of the band. Check their web pages for many bad hair days! It's a shame some bands don't know when it's about time to retire. Blue Öyster Cult had their decade during the 1970s, and can proudly present a nice deck of rock records, holding Fire of Unknown Origin high, as their ace of spades.
Copyright © 2006 Håvard Oppøyen