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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

B.O.C.

My brother got me a 'More Cowbell' T-shirt. I love it. It refers to a Saturday Night Live skit in which Will Farrel plays cowbell for Blue Oyster Cult. Now, there is cowbell on 'Don't Fear The Reaper', but it's fairly deep in the mix. It's certainly no 'We're An American Band' by Grand Funk, but I guess the various members of the SNL cast looked funnier as B.O.C., I don't know, and it doesn't really matter. Certainly not to B.O.C., post Spinal Tap, I think they have relatively thick skins by now. Much like any band that has managed to stay afloat for more than ten years, Blue Oyster Cult had it's day in the sun, and it's more troubled passages. Many of their records are uneven, some really great songs surrounded by not so great songs. You can't really call it filler, becuase they worked just as hard on the not so great songs as they did the really good ones, unlike, say, Sabbath, who can be accused of phoning in preformances from time to time. B.O.C. never did that, well not until the late eighties. Every song on 'Spectres', for example, sounds great. It's just some of those songs just aren't good songs. That is a disease of the culture, not the band. When you spend two thirds of a year touring, and are expected to have a new product ready every year, well not every song is going to be great. That's why the only bands who can claim superior consistancy - The Stones, Floyd, U2 - broke the mold, and said 'You'll get an album when we're ready to give you one.' That's great if you have the clout, but if you're B.O.C., well you need a few more 'Reapers' to make it into that club. It's too bad that they aren't given the credit they could have deserved. If you take every two B.O.C records, shake out the weak tracks, and combine them into one, well then you have a truly great band. I haven't ever seen a really good greatest hits package from them either, There's one I've seen, and it's as uneven as one of their records. If I was to make a B.O.C. compilation it would be a two dic set, and it would contain the following:

Disc One:
Transmaniacon MC
Then Came The Last Days Of May
Stairway To The Stars
Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll
The Red And The Black
7 Screaming Dizbusters
Career Of Evil
Flaming Telepaths
Astronomy
ME 262 (Live)
Born To Be Wild (Live)

Disc Two:
This Ain't The Summer Of Love
Don't Fear The Reaper
Godzilla
Golden Age Of Leather
Kick Out The Jams (Live)
Dr. Music
Black Blade
Fire Of An Unknown Origin
Burnin' For You
Vetreran Of Psychic Wars
Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver
Joan Crawford
E.T.I. (Live)


I know very few care. Rod, any comments?

Comments:
If asked unprompted, I would have rendered the same opinion on BOC. I think they were a very niche kind of thing really. There are those that will swear by what we would refer to as the marginal tunes on these records, my brother being one of them. It would seem that every now and again they'd pen something more traditional in arrangement and melody to poke into mainstream rock circles, and when they did I think the results were brilliant.

Last year after hearing "Godzilla" on the radio on the way to play a round of golf, my father and I had a nine hole philosophical discussion which the song inspired. He really loved the tune. I'm always left wondering whether these guys were the epitome of Spinal Tap, or pure genius.
 
What's the difference?
 
....exactly, the fine line betwen clever and stupid. Covered well by Kiss, B.O.C. et al aka Spinal Tap. We are all Spinal Tap in some way.
 
Great song selection, then came the last days of may never makes the cut on any compilation, I will buy that record. Right now I am going to make a rhapsody playlist from these song, Rhapsody has all the BOC albums.
 
Then Came The Last Days Of May is my favorite B.O.C. song, and would rank very high on an overall list as well.

"......they say the west is nice this time of year, it's what they say."
 
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