Blue Öyster Cult

Live 1976

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Blue Oyster Cult was for the most part a touring band, and this European import, released 15 years after the concert it chronicled, shows them at their 1970s touring peak. At the end of 1976, they were touring behind their most successful album, Agents of Fortune, and single, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." They played only ten songs, including their recent hit, old favorites like "Stairway to the Stars" and "Cities on Flame," and their in-concert barnburner "Born To Be Wild," but it took them over 78 minutes to do so, in part because of a version of "This Ain't the Summer of Love" that ran nearly 13 minutes and a "Buck's Boogie" that ran over 19 minutes, many of them given over to a good old-fashioned 1970s drum solo. That and the speech about legalizing marijuana have a touch of nostalgic indulgence, of course, but much of the music is blazing guitar rock, and a listen helps explain why the Cult was so loved by its concert fans, even as it was virtually ignored by the music industry and the country in general. Sound quality is good, but rudimentary; the album sounds more like a soundboard tape than a conventionally mixed and EQ'd commercial album. Crank it up, though, and you just might like it better.

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