Sunday, January 16, 2011

Workshop of the Telescopes

Rarely ever I would give reviews on compilations, nor I ever go out of my way to get them. For two reasons. One, I'm a music collector. By the time the compilations come out, either I most of or all the tunes on it. So why waste my time and money on it? Two, most of the compilations focus ONLY on the greatest hits. Many of them fail to dig deep into the old chestnuts that capture the ESSENCE of the artist. Yet, Blue Oyster Cult's Workshop of the Telescopes breaks the rules.

Blue Oyster Cult has the tendency to be rather inconsistent when it comes to their albums. Often, they'll have four or five excellent tracks per album and the rest of it mediocre. Here on Workshops, it's all here, in one neat double disc package.

Disc one covers their first three studio albums and their first live one. A time when BOC may have been at their most creative peak. The power of their raw energy can be felt here. Rockers like "Stairway to the Stars" and "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll", the psychedelic "Workshop of the Telescopes", the face melting guitar work of "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" can be heard here. Other favorites like the macabre "Harvester of Eyes" and "Flaming Telepaths" and the angelic "Astronomy" will sweep you away here.

The second disc takes on the more popular and glossier material from their more recent years. Kicking it off with the phenomenal (Don't Fear) the Reaper, showcased here are hits like "Godzilla", "Burnin' for You" and "Take Me Away". Although mainly focusing on their hit albums Agents of Fortune, Spectures and Fires from Unknown Origin , BOC covers tunes from lesser known albums like Mirrors , Cultosaurus Erectus and The Revolution by Night.

There is so much material here and the band covers it all-the good and the not so great. That's the way a great compilation should be-exposing the true essence what they're all about.


music obsessive said...

I, too, own this album, mainly for disc 2 as I don't own any of the later stuff. My only gripe - why put the live version of 'Dominance and Submission' on it when the studio version actually knocks spots off it. Grr!

TAD said...

Drew: Thanx 4 this review -- I might actually havta track this 1 down. I'm a BOC fan from a distance, bought AGENTS OF FORTUNE & thot some of it was freakin' GREAT, but some of it pretty much sucked as well. I've heard a little bit of their other stuff, always liked the later version of "Astronomy" (off of IMAGINOS) much more than the original... & have seen BOC in concert a coupla times, in 1975 & '79 -- they always put on a great show. Thanx for your views.... -- TAD.

R S Crabb said...

I think I have most of the BOC stuff and still think the first and Spectres remain my favorites of them. Even though BOC has been a great live band (their 1979 CR show remains tops for me) their live albums released always lacked something. Workshop is a pretty good overview.

drewzepmeister said...

MO-No compilation is perfect. I would've preferred "The Revenge of Vera Gemini" over "This Ain't the Summer of Love", but that's me.

Tad-I did see BOC right here in Racine in 2002 while they were their Curse of the Hidden Mirror Tour. A great show for a mere seven bucks!

Mr. Smith-I do have all of the BOC albums. Although Secret Treaties and Fires of Unknown Origin are my favs, I tend to put on WotT if I'm the BOC mood.

Perplexio said...

Greatest Hits albums are great for bands where my interest is a bit more "peripheral" or for bands like BOC whose output is somewhat inconsistent. I only own 2 BOC albums Agents of Fortune and Spectres. There's some good stuff on both but there's also material that could/would be described as filler.

drewzepmeister said...

Perplexo, I agree!