Complete Columbia Albums Collection
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Box set, 6 November 2012
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 13.31 x 12.98 x 6.71 cm; 752.96 Grams
- Manufacturer : Sony Legacy
- Original Release Date : 2012
- Label : Sony Legacy
- ASIN : B008S80OU2
- Number of discs : 17
- Best Sellers Rank: 3,295 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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Originally formed in Long Island as Soft White Underbelly in 1967, Blue Oyster Cult combined adventurous lyrical themes with an aggressive instrumental sound. With passion and intelligence on display in equal measure, Blue Oyster Cult became the thinking fan's rock band and a sign of life in a sea of dull, anemic soft-pop. Anthems like "Godzilla," "Harvester of Eyes" and "Don't Fear the Reaper" stretched the boundaries of rock topics while lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser became a hero to legions of budding axe-wielders. The band's mystique extended to their album artwork, resulting in some of the most distinctive and iconic LP covers of the rock era. Blue Oyster Cult - The Columbia Albums Collection gathers the essential pieces of the Blue Oyster Cult story into one mind-boggling totality.
Blue Oyster Cult - The Columbia Albums Collection brings together the group's 14 official Columbia Records albums--including newly-mastered editions of On Your Feet or on Your Knees, Fire of Unknown Origin, The Revolution by Night, Mirrors, Cultosaurus Erectus, Extraterrestrial Live, Club Ninja and Imaginos--alongside two newly-curated bonus discs: Rarities and Radios Appear: The Best of the Broadcasts (a special collection of classic live performances).
In addition, the Blue Oyster Cult - The Columbia Albums Collection box set comes with a special download code good for four live concert broadcasts as well as a forty page booklet chock full of photos and liner notes from celebrated music writer and guitarist Lenny Kaye.
NOTE: Sony Music/ Legacy Recordings would like to acknowledge that there were issues with the website for the download offer included in this package. As of 11/09/2012 the website has been corrected and the download offer works as intended. Sony Music/ Legacy Recordings would like to apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.
Blue Oyster Cult - The Columbia Albums Collection includes:
1. Blue Oyster Cult (1972 - studio - with 2001 CD bonus tracks)
2. Tyranny and Mutation (1973 - studio - with 2001 CD bonus tracks)
3. Secret Treaties (1974 - studio - with 2001 CD bonus tracks)
4. On Your Feet or on Your Knees (1975 - live) - 2012 Remaster
5. Agents of Fortune (1976 - studio - with 2001 CD bonus tracks)
6. Spectres (1977 - studio - with 2007 CD bonus tracks)
7. Some Enchanted Evening CD (1978 - live - with 2007 CD bonus tracks)
8. Some OTHER Enchanted Evening DVD (1978 - live)
9. Mirrors (1979 - studio) - 2012 Remaster
10. Cultosaurus Erectus (1980 - studio) - 2012 Remaster
11. Fire of Unknown Origin (1981 - studio) - 2012 Remaster
12. Extraterrestrial Live (1982 - live) - 2012 Remaster
13. The Revolution By Night (1983 - studio) - 2012 Remaster
14. Club Ninja (1985 - studio) - 2012 Remaster
15. Imaginos (1988 - studio) - 2012 Remaster
17. Radios Appear: The Best of the Broadcasts
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I know from experience that BOC divide the world of rock fandom down the middle - about half of the people I have lent stuff to have raved about their work & the other half have shook their heads muttering "I just don't get it!" - I don't know how any "rock inclined" person can listen to Secret Treaties, Spectres, Some Enchanted Evening or later gems such as Fire of Unknown Origin & not be impressed but that's the reality - I think in very broad terms there are two types of classic rock act - one being the Rolling Stones / Who / Led Zep / Thin Lizzy / AC/DC type of down to earth rockers & the other being the creative, ornate, melodic acts such as Rush, Wishbone Ash, Hawkwind, Yes, Magnum, Doors & of course Pink Floyd - I think despite their old hard rocking (Chuck Berry fuelled) jamming days in Long Island that BOC fall mostly into the second group for studio recordings & the influence of the Grateful Dead & The Doors proved stronger - Sandy Pearlman wanted a cynical, twisted, hard rock version of The Beach Boys (Note: "We ain't gonna play no surf music" from The Marshall Plan!) & that's what I hear in a lot of their material (layered, melodic, crafted etc) - live recordings i.e. Hot Rails, Kick Out The Jams, Wings of Mercury etc can veer more towards the hard rocking category.
If you are a fan then you'll want to wade into this much anticipated set - So on to this box of delights ...
Firstly the presentation box is attractive & practical & each disc is presented in a replica sleeve - the discs have retro labels & all the original artwork seems to be present either via a gatefold or inside the 40 page booklet - the book contains full credits, a 3 page Lenny Kaye essay & some neat photos - I particularly liked the "Welcome To Long Island" Spectres billboard!
What every fan has been waiting for are the remasters - all the Legacy versions are present including the 1978 concert DVD - every other original album has had a 2012 remastering - On Your Feet Or On Your Knees sounds cleaner - Fire Of Unknown Origin more dynamic etc - everything I have heard so far has had a sympathetic makeover & sounds a fraction sharper.
So onto the actual content :-
Blue Oyster Cult (72), Tyranny & Mutation (73) & Secret Treaties (74) make up the Black & White trilogy (due to the largely Bill Gawlik inspired geometric sleeve artwork) - the band were playing & writing together in Long Island & along with Sandy Pearlman & Richard Meltzer hit upon a unique sound of cryptic, sinister, intelligent, early "American Metal" that steadily built a devoted following (each release selling twice the amount of the one before) - all three albums evolve but fit into a distinctive framework - many fans view this as their Golden Age but there was plenty more to come ....
The release of On Your Feet or On Your Knees (75) highlighted the growth of the band as a live act & brought the curtain down on the first phase - regarded by many rock fans as one of the great, live double, 70's albums (for me probably only bettered by the force of nature that is Space Ritual), the combination of BOC's superior songs, Bloom's attitude & Buck's blazing, 150 mph guitar work has always been a heady mix - from the foot to the floor, clatter of Hot Rails to the serene, majesty of Last Days of May the Oyster Boys have truly arrived now.
1976 saw the shift to a more commercial sound & the individual ownership of 4 track recording systems - the band retained their weird & wonderful themes (maniacal motorcycle gangs, vampires, the after life etc) & Buck & Albert thrived with more individual song writing duties - the resulting Agents of Fortune was bursting with ideas even if some band members needed to hone their writing skills (they did).
Spectres (77) polished up the new sound - personally I think it is one of their great albums - very consistent with Death Valley Nights, Fireworks, Golden Age & I Love The Night being examples of exceptional song writing - Pearlman describing Buck's sumptuous "I Love The Night" as one of the greatest songs written by anyone, anywhere (& this is the guy that wrote The Reaper!) - Phil Spector's Wall of Sound being taken on board.
1978 heralded another (single) live album - Some Enchanted Evening - mostly mid period songs on the set list with RU Ready 2 Rock, Godzilla & ETI sounding much meatier - ETI containing a particularly resounding, energetic riff - it was the key track culled from Secret Treaties that really pushed the album into the stratosphere - this version of Astronomy is simply magical - Buck playing lead guitar to an incredible standard in his own fluid, dynamic style & the whole band being in synch to deliver a complex song to perfection. (Geeky fact : that odd riff right near the end of The Reaper on SEE has been recycled by Buck from Stalk Forrest's "Gil Blanco County").
The 60 minute DVD has moderate sound & picture quality as it was shot on video tape but the band are certainly fired up - top notch versions of Ready 2 Rock, Harvester, ETI, Kick Out The Jams, Astronomy etc are all there.
The band threw their fans a curveball in 1979 with Mirrors seeing a new producer, Tom Werman - BOC pushed for the "Big Bucks" with a safer MOTR sound but their innate themes probably held them back (they sneaked the afterlife pact of The Reaper past the general public hidden in the melodic grooves but it didn't happen again) - despite the atypical nature of Mirrors & it's "cul-de-sac" status I actually always enjoy hearing these songs - their creative streak was challenged by conflict (with Bloom being marginalised) but was still very evident - a dead end, yes, but a pleasant one.
1980/81 saw a swift gear change & the recruitment of Martin Birch to return to HEAVY METAL (early 80's style)- the result was a band in tune with the producer & two fine albums - Cultosaurus Erectus & Fire Of Unknown Origin - still 100% BOC complete with dark humour but with a cutting edge now - core fans could relate to this brand of commerciality & FOUO went over big time sales wise.
Time for another live album in 1982 with ETL to punctuate another change - Albert got fired on the eve of Donnington Park in 81 (it affected the Oyster boys on the day - much to my dismay!)- this double is really a career retrospective - Buck tears loose on the last three tracks & the newer songs such as Burnin For You, Joan Crawford & Veteran are positive additions to the live set.
1983 & 85 saw "wobbles" by the band's lofty standards - Albert's writing skills were missing leaving some holes - Revolution By Night had enough strong tracks (Take Me Away, Shooting Shark, Shadow Of California) to get by but Club Ninja pulled in outside writers & 2-3 tracks really need the skip button option this time - Buck pulled out Perfect Water to ease the pain but the band were also noticeably struggling to redefine their image - the effortless coolness of the 70's looked out of place and diluted now.
Things came full circle in 1988 with the end of the Columbia cycle & the release of the Pearlman / Bouchard Imaginos project - 8 years in the making - Pearlman had implanted story strands within the classic seventies material - particularly in Secret Treaties - whatever the politics & playing credits are for Imaginos it's a glorious piece of work - as a fan back then you simply had to nod sagely & say "they've still got it" & "everything has fallen into place now" - image perceptions don't matter when the material is this strong.
The collection includes a Rarities disc with the highlights being the 4 track 1972 live bootleg (previously available as an expensive French import) - a stonking 1977 live version of Godzilla (& I mean stonking!) - the real treat though oddly enough are five live tracks from Mirrors - a very lively Dr Music - the gorgeous live take on The Vigil - & a stunning Bloom vocal for The Great Sun Jester etc.
Finally there is a "Radios Appear" disc of quality live recordings mainly from the 1980s - Workshop of the Telescopes (83) rocks like never before - Eric provides a typical spoken intro to set the tone for a soaring Take Me Away - at last we get the concert rocker that is Wings Of Mercury - a live version of Dancin in the Ruins & a personal highlight for me is SWU's Arthur Comics - it grooves along as always & a band member shouts "eat your heart out Jac Holzman" at it's conclusion - a reference to the epic Stalk Forrest Group album being turned down by Elektra Records in 1970 (a bad decision).
Finally you get a unique code to access 4 1980's concert downloads.
So there we are - the entire Columbia collection - it's been a fantastic journey for a wonderful band - as long term fans will know there's something very special about this band's music - lyrical & musical depth that is hard to define (or understand) - I would have wished more success for these guys but at the same time it's nice to have a personal attachment to a band - as Eric Bloom said in 1981 "We have a small slice of the pizza, but it's tasty slice!" - it always has been Eric, always.
If you're a little unsure about making this investment or not then I would recommend the 2 disc "Essential BOC" as a good sampler or the older "Workshop Of The Telescopes" - both give a good feel for the Columbia era work & will inform your decision.
Also recommended from outside of Columbia's BOC collection :-
Stalk Forrest Group (Elektra Recordings) - the Rhino release is excellent & this is a mighty fine West Coast psychedelic album from the band just prior to their 1972 BOC debut - St Cecilia, Arthur Comics, Ragamuffin etc are early classics.
Cult Classics - mid 90's release of redone classic material - quite nice for hardcore fans with an updated soundscape.
Heaven Forbid - surprisingly good return in 1998 mixing newer ideas (a hint of thrash / speed metal etc ala See You In Black) with classic BOC sounds - 10 years since their last major release & Buck & Eric had been storing up the goodies & moving with the times.
Curse of the Hidden Mirror - Going out in style in 2002 with plenty of classic, old formula tracks outweighing a few duff ones - Buck can still deliver in the 21st Century.
Flat Out - Buck's solo album from 1982 - the singer/songwriter/guitarist par excellence had plenty of slick (lighter) gems up his sleeve for his devoted fans.
The Brain Surgeons - Albert's assorted band of quality musicians - BOC fans should check out "Malpractice" with plenty of redone BOC & Hawkwind tracks on it (Death Valley Nights, Astronomy, Needle Gun etc)- very interesting versions they are to.
Le coffret comprend (forcément) la fameuse première trilogie, constituée des albums "Blue Öyster Cult" (avec en bonus des démos du Soft White Underbelly), "Tyranny And Mutation" (agrémenté de quelques titres en live ou en studio, comme la version de l'instrumental "Buck's Boogie"), et "Secret Treaties" qui comprend aussi plusieurs démos (et titres en version single). D'autres bonus tracks (souvent intéressants), accompagnant également les albums "Agents Of Fortune" et "Spectres".
Les trois live, "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees" et "Some Enchanted Evening" (auquel a été ajouté le DVD "Some Other Enchanted Evening"), et "Extraterrestrial Live" sont remasterisés.
Tout comme les albums "Mirrors" et les deux excellentes productions de Martin Birch ("Cultösaurus Erectus" et "Fire Of Unknown Origin"). Jusqu'à l'honnête "The Revölution By Night" (mais aussi le plus décrié "Club Ninja"), et enfin le conceptuel "Imaginos".
Étoffé d'un livret et de deux CD supplémentaires, l'un "Rarities" (constitué de titres live et de démos inédites), comme le "Spoken Intro" de Stephen King enregistré lors des sessions de l'album "Imaginos". Et l'autre "Radios Appear", constitué d'extraits de quatre shows (San Fransisco '80, New York '81, Pasadena '83 et Santa Monica '86), téléchargeables intégralement via un code privé sur le site du BÖC.
Il ne manque pas grand-chose pour évoquer les Columbia Years du Blue Öyster Cult. Peut-être la réédition d'une VHS "Live 1976" capté à Largo, et ce concert (devenu extrêmement rare) filmé lors d'une tournée réalisée en co-headline avec Black Sabbath en '80, et intitulé "Black And Blue".
Mais avec ses seize CD, ce coffret "The Columbia Albums Collectiön" des vétérans du heavy~metal Américain, en impose.
This set represents great value, and in the context of the set, the weaker efforts - like 'Mirrors' and 'Club Ninja' don't sound quite so bad. In fact, the live bonus recordings of material from 'Mirrors' showed that the song were effective live vehicles - 'Dr Music' and 'Great Sun Jester' sound pretty sparky, and a vast improvement on the slick studio originals. The Amazon price has gone back up to £60 plus, but the marketplace sellers have it available at a more reasonable outlay. I thunk the music is largely priceless, though. Their founder-member, guitarist and keyboard player Allen Lanier died in August 2013, and you realise how much he contributed when watching the DVD of 'Some Enchanted Evening'; the BOC still exist, and tour the USA regularly, with Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma still in the band, and I bet they can still whip up a rocking storm. However, there was a time when they were one of the finest and most creative hard rock bands in the world, and this set does full justice to 'em.
You get all the albums from the S/T start of the "black and white" trilogy all the way to the 1986 album "imaginos" you also get ALL of the live albums over this period which is very unique for one of these complete albums sets (and worth a listen!). the first half of the albums feature bonus track's from their respective remasters all of which are worth listening to providing live tracks,demos,outtakes from the albums, The albums that were not remastered in the original run are now remastered (beautifully) i might add however do not feature any bonus track's these are instead relegated to a bonus rarity's set on the end of the set which i personally think is good for those of us that do not like extra tracks tacked onto the end of albums you also get a disk called best of the broadcast's which features a selection of good quality previously unreleased live track's, now if you brought this set now you may be wondering why this is labeled "best" well that is because originally the set came with a download code for a compilation of 5 live shows as a compilation called Harvester of lives however i curiously did not get this in my set and it took me a while to realize that the site in which you would redeem this code is offline, you can however still download these off of amazon for £20 as of 2019 the only small disappointment of this set if you ask me.
Now that i have covered the content of this set i want to say i am a relatively new fan of blue oyster cult however this set has shown me that they are more than just the band that did "don't fear the reaper" and "burning for you" of course like any band with a long and varied career their are highs and lows for me that begins in the latter half of this set after "spectres" not to say the albums that came after are bad just not as good going for a softer more "poppy" sound than the hard rock occult imagery of the 70's however do not let that ward you off of buying this phenomenal collection as these later albums are far better than 90% of bands "not so good" albums for a new fan this set is the perfect if somewhat costly introduction to the band featuring most of the band's essential output
Finally i should mention for old fans or those that yearn for more after this collection the band will be reissuing the rest of their catalog plus some new live albums and even a new studio album through 2020 not in this set starting on Jan 24th 2020 a new live album recorded in 2014 and a remaster of the "cult classics" which as i understand is a collection of rerecorded hits which also as i understand is quite good so if you are a new fan this is the perfect time to jump into the BOC mythos.
overall a 5/5 boxset don't hesitate treat yourself
BÖC waren zu keiner Zeit eine Heavy Metal Band, sondern eine sehr facettenreiche Rock/Hard Rock Band mit leicht psychedelischem Touch auf den früheren Alben.
Die Texte haben BÖC meist von so renommierten Schriftstellern wie Sandy Pearlman, dem Sci-Fi Autor Mike Moorcock, aber auch Patti Smith schreiben lassen. Patti Smith, die mehrere Jahre mit Keyboarder/Gitarrist Allen Lanier liiert war, ist auch oft dem Song "The Revenge Of Vera Gemini" zu hören.
Weltweit bekannt wurden sie durch den Hit "Don't Fear The Reaper", aber trotz dieses Hits haben sie der Versuchung widerstanden zu einer Mainstream Band zu werden. Bemerkenswert an dieser Band ist, das sich jedes Album anders anhört und trotzdem nach BÖC. Mal ist ein Rock'N'Roll Album mit Blues Touch, dann wieder ein eher spacig-psychedelisches Album, oder auch mal ein gut gemachtes Pop/Rock Album mit sehr melodischen, aber niemals platten Songs oder auch ein düsteres, atmosphärisches Hard Rock Album wie "Imaginos".
Dazu kommt, das BÖC eine erstklassige Live Band waren. Das beweisen die in der Box ebenfalls enthaltenen, grandiosen Live Album "On Your Feet, On Your Knees" (76 Minuten), das leider nur 45 Minuten kurze "Some Enchanted Evening" (hier allerdings mit Bonus Tracks) und "Extraterrestrial Live" (77 Minuten).
Zusätzlich gibt es noch eine Raritäten CD mit bisher unveröffentlichten Studio- und Live Tracks.
Der Klang der CD's ist gut, jede befindet sich in einer recht stabilen Pappumrahmung. die Box selber ist sehr stabil.
Auch nicht selbstverständlich ist die Tatsache, dass es ein recht umfangreiches Booklet mit allen Angaben zu den Alben und Songs, sowie mit vielen Bilder gibt.
Fazit: Das gesamte Werk der 70er und 80er Jahre einer sehr facettenreichen Band, das sowohl Fans als auch Neueinsteiger gefallen dürfte, zumal das Preis-Leistungsverhältnis stimmt.