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Agents of Fortune

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Editors’ Notes

With their fourth studio album Blue Oyster Cult updated and retooled their sound to better their chances at mainstream rock radio in the mid-70s. It worked, since the swirling mysteries (and cowbell) of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” became an FM radio classic rock standard and tunes such as “This Ain’t the Summer of Love” and “E.T.I.  (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)” became fan favorite live staples for decades to come. Allen Lanier’s keyboards that took on added presence on their previous album, the hardcore fan favorite Secret Treaties, are given even wider expansion here, often challenging the twin-guitar attack of Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom. However, Blue Oyster Cult were always a suspect hard rock group, less interested in bludgeoning their audience than seducing it with unusual wit, obscure concepts and mysterious symbolism. The band’s earlier boogie exercises have mostly dissipated. “Debbie Denise” is practically a lite-FM ballad about a rocker on the road and his discontented lady waiting at home.  Emerging punk poetess Patti Smith (and Lanier’s girlfriend for a time) contributes lyrics and vocals to “The Revenge of Vera Gemini.” Demos (including one for “Reaper”) and an early version of “Fire of Unknown Origin” are added to the expanded edition.

Customer Reviews

More Cowbell!!!

I got a fever, and the prescription is more cowbell!

More than just the Cowbell

This is one of Blue Oyster Cult’s most famous albums most famous for the single, “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper,” #12 on the pop charts in 1976. 30 years later, the song’s popularity has grown out of Christopher Walken’s SNL Cowbell sketch: “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!” While a much fainter cowbell makes this song a unique piece of music, there is more to it that than: the powerhouse rhythm section of the Bouchard brothers, Allen Lanier’s swirling keyboard work, the call and answer vocal between Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom, and of course Buck Dharma’s timeless guitar playing all make this track a classic. Buck Dharma is really the band’s key player here. He wrote “Reaper” but also penned “E.T.I.” another classic from the band, where BOC combines hard rock and fusion to create a very unique sound. Albert Bouchard, aside from his tight drumming, is another driving force having co-written many of the songs on the album, like “This Ain’t the Summer of Love” which starts the album off in head-banging style with Eric Bloom providing the lead vocal. “Sinful Love” is another wonderful hard rock fusion number concocted by Bouchard, featuring more incendiary guitar work from Dharma. He also shines on bassist Joe Bouchard’s “Morning Final.” Allen Lanier also wrote “True Confessions” featuring the Becker Brothers’ horns, and the easy synthesizer-driven “Tenderloin.” The low point of the album of the song co-written, and co-sang with Patti Smith. But her other composition with Bouchard, “Debbie Denise” is a better effort, and a good way to end this album. Above all, a very diverse and eloquent album, but to be honest… it could’ve used a little more cowbell!

This album needed another review...

Okay, so pretty much Blue Öyster Cult kicks a*s. They are such a good band that no matter which collection of theirs it is, its going to be amazing. Agents of Fortune isn’t a real lengthy album, but it’s great none the less. There’s not a bad song on this album, so go on, if you don’t already own it, than buy it.

Biography

Formed: 1967 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio