The saga of the Stalk-Forrest Group is as rich a fable as could have ever been imagined in the tentative rock & roll world of the late '60s. For the first time, the band has been properly documented on St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings. This single disc gathers all known tracks from the Elektra Records vaults featuring the band known alternately as both Oaxaca as well as the Stalk-Forrest Group. They would eventually become Blue Öyster Cult less than 18 months after these recordings were completed. St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings contains two different, albeit completed versions of essentially the same album -- neither of which have been previously issued. Blending humorous, yet deceptively puerile, lyrics with exceptionally seasoned and intricate melodies and musical arrangements, there is more than a passing resemblance to some other late-'60s bands. The syncopated rhythms and airy harmonies found on title track "St. Cecilia" and on "Arthur Comics" bear striking resemblances to "Love Me Again" or "Small Present" by the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Likewise, the lead guitar riffs and churning beats found on "A Fact About Sneakers" and "Gil Blanco County" could easily be mistaken for unissued Love recordings -- with the latter track even replicating Arthur Lee's unique vocal delivery. Alternately, some of the heavier pieces, such as "Bonomo's Turkish Taffy" and "I'm on the Lamb" project toward the band's future as Blue Öyster Cult. The fascinating albeit complex story of the band that began life prior to these recordings as Soft White Underbelly and would eventually become Blue Öyster Cult is told via images and text in the 20-page liner notes booklet. As with all original Rhino Handmade titles, St. Cecilia: The Elektra Recordings is a limited edition via Rhino Handmade.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer