Another book in this excellent series, this time concentrating on the work of Long Island’s finest Blue Oyster Cult, put together by super fan Jacob Holm-Lupo. This is a band I originally encountered, as did many I suspect, in the mid seventies via Don’t Fear The Reaper, and it’s parent album, the excellent Agents of Fortune, together with the subsequent live album Some Enchanted Evening.. From that point I worked backwards to Secret Treaties (containing the epic Astronomy), Tyranny And Mutation and their self titled debut album, calling in along the way on their previous live set On Your Feet Or On Your Knees. I was disappointed though with the next two releases – Spectres and Mirrors — and rather lost track of the band at that point. In the course of reading this book, I have Spotified the subsequent albums, the highlights being 1980’s Cultosaurus Erectus and 1988’s Imaginos, but overall found them quite patchy as though the band had lost their way somewhat, not being able to decide on whether to pursue the heavier themes of their early work or the more commercial vein of ‘The Reaper’ era. It would be interesting to discover how any Cultists reading this rank or rate their albums, especially the ones from 1980 onwards.
Unlike the other titles in this series, this volume uses extensive quotes from the band’s lyrics (a number of which, I hadn’t realised, were written by Patti Smith), as well as extracts from interviews over the years with band members and their sometime lyricist, manager and all round Svengali Sandy Pearlman, in order to shed more light on the band’s prolific back catalogue. As you’d expect, the author goes through each album track by track, as well as providing background on their recording and the band’s activities at the time. For me, as a casual fan, there was sometimes rather too much in the way of detailed analysis, but I can well imagine diehard aficionados of the band’s work absolutely revelling in the amount of information and interpretation offered here by the author, who it can’t be denied has done a super job in what was obviously a labour of love.
All in all, a meticulously researched work, and a first class addition to this developing series.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Although there’s been no new music since 2001’s Curse of the Hidden Mirror,rumour has it a new album is in the works. Newcomers might want to refer to the expanded version of the Some Enchanted Evening live set (although annoyingly it contains two unnecessary cover versions), or perhaps the two cd ‘best of’ Workshop of the Telescopes.
One thing you’ve learned
They came up with some great song titles!
Trivia alert – Robert Galbraith’s (JK Rowling’s) third Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil, contains over fifty references to BOC lyrics and song titles – who knew!