Blue Oyster Cult - Secret Treaties

Blue Oyster Cult – Secret Treaties

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Released in Spring of 1974, the album is considered by many to be Blue Oyster Cult’s best effort from their proto-metal era and pre AOR period.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: Blue Oyster Cult
ALBUM: Secret Treaties
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: KC 32858
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Usa Flag

LINEUP: Eric Bloom – vocals, guitars, keyboards * Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser – guitars * Allen Lanier – keyboards, synthesizers, rhythm guitar * Joe Bouchard – bass, vocals * Albert Bouchard – drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Career Of Evil * 02 Subhuman * 03 Dominance And Submission * 04 ME 262 * 05 Cagey Cretins * 06 Harvester Of Eyes * 07 Flaming Telepaths * 08 Astronomy

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Although I’ve always admired Blue Oyster Cult, they were a little odd weren’t they? Progressive but nothing like Yes or Genesis, heavy but far more intelligent lyrically than Black Sabbath.

They had an unlikely connection to punk rock princess Patti Smith who contributed to several BOC albums due to her then relationship with rhythm guitarist Allen Lanier. Work began on ‘Secret Treaties’ in 1973 after the group moved into a small house on Eaton’s Neck on their native Long Island, New York which was just a short walk from this writers home when I lived on the Island in the late 70’s.

Released in Spring of 1974, the album is considered by many to be Blue Oyster Cult’s best although for me it’s closely tied with 1977’s classic ‘Spectres’ probably because it was the first album from the band I owned.

The Songs

‘Career Of Evil’ opens the album and with lyrics from Patti Smith, it’s a doozy. It was released as a single although several controversial lyrics including ‘I’d like to do it to your daughter on a dirt road’ would never get airplay so it was changed to ‘Do it like you Oughtta’ and this version can be found on the 2001 remaster as one of 5 bonus tracks.

I like The Doors ‘Riders On The Storm’ feel of ‘Subhuman’ but ‘Dominance And Submission’ is frankly a little weird. Much better is the up-tempo ‘ME 262’ and it’s World War 2 theme although the bludgeoning riffs and Byrds-like harmonies are what really draws me into the creepy ‘Harvester Of Eyes’.

Of course my favorite track here is ‘Flaming Telepaths’ with a haunting music box intro, hooks to die for, Buck Dharma’s spiraling guitar lines and Allen Lanier’s pompy keys which pushes all my buttons. Easily one of BOC’s best songs and is nearly eclipsed by the closing ‘Astronomy’ which is another stone-cold classic.

In Summary

Typical of the time, Blue Oyster Cult hit the road hard in 1974 with headlining dates and a slew of to drool for opening acts including KISS, Aerosmith and Rush as well as supporting Steppenwolf, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top and an impressive string of shows with T Rex.

If ‘Secret Treaties’ isn’t in your collection it should be and while I rate all the 1970’s Blue Oyster Cult albums quite highly, I feel they lost the plot as the 80’s wore on, despite releasing some stellar AOR singles.


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