Are you a Blue Öyster Cult fan who’s missed out on a few of their albums over the years? Not to worry. Legacy Recordings has thoughtfully assembled a package that not only includes all 14 of the band’s albums, but also two CDs of rarities, a live DVD, and your own personal download code for four live concert broadcasts.

Newly remastered sound gives the albums a greater clarity and punch (only eight albums in the set have been giving the remastering touch; the live album On Your Feet Or On Your Knees and every album released from 1979 on). Listening to the albums in order, from first to last, it’s interesting to note a decided folk influence, especially in the early work (certainly you can easily imagine the group’s biggest hit, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” performed as an acoustic number). It’s an element that gives this hard rock band an element of complexity. There was an artsy/literate quality to the group too, due to the contributions of folks like rock critic Richard Meltzer and musician/poet Patti Smith, which also helped to make BÖC one of the more interesting hard rock acts.

Then the live albums, starting with 1975’s On Your Feet or On Your Knees, clearly demonstrate BÖC’s strength as a live act; they’re a bracingly powerful band, the rock solid support of the rhythm-bass-drums embellished by Buck Dharma’s stinging guitar leads. There’s also a nice mix of cover songs in the releases presented here, including “Born To Be Wild,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “Kick Out The Jams,” and “Roadhouse Blues”. The set also includes the live DVD Some Other Enchanted Evening, featuring 11 classic performances from the band’s 1978 heyday.

Blue Oyster Cult, Tyranny and Mutation, Secret Treaties, Agents of Fortune, Spectres, and Some Enchanted Evening have bonus tracks, but they’re the same bonus tracks that appeared on earlier editions of the CDs. But there is previously unreleased material on the Rarities (which includes a 1969 demo for “I’m On the Lamb But I Ain’t No Sheep” and a cover of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”) and Radios Appear: The Best of the Broadcasts CDs; while the bulk of the former CD is drawn from the ‘70s, all of the latter is from the ‘80s. If you already have the albums, it’s these CDs that will determine if you think it’s worth the upgrade. Otherwise, it’s a nice way to pick up the band’s core catalogue, with a few nice extras thrown in.


Label: Legacy (order collection here)