PC 34164 Agents of Fortune
Produced by Murray Krugman, Sandy Pearlman and David Lucas
Released on May 1976
US CHART POSITION #29 . . . PLATINUM RECORD
. . . UK CHART POSITION #26
Find it at GEMM
PC 34164 cover  

T his should have come with a sticker that read: Contains the hit “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and not much else. That song is brilliant, a perfect replication of The Byrds’ ringing guitars and a lyric to die for, but it dwarfs the rest of the record. While I’m on the subject, “Godzilla” proved equally enigmatic, suggesting that Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser might have been the most complete songwriter on the squad. Agents of Fortune (which takes its title from a line in “E.T.I.”) became one of the band’s biggest hits, but I’ve never felt it was one of their better albums. There are signs that some of these tracks could kick butt in a live setting, which was in fact the case with “E.T.I (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” and might also apply to “Tattoo Vampire” and “The Revenge of Vera Gemini.” The latter features haunting vocals from Patti Smith, who was dating keyboardist Allen Lanier at the time (I guess somebody had to). Apparently that raised his reputation in the band, who accorded him a larger role in the arrangements. The result softens the album’s attack considerably by replacing the potent punch of guitar with synthesizers and piano, not the first two sounds that come to mind when you think of the apocalypse (and then again...). The last track, “Debbie Denise,” is sweet and sort of innocent, but as the album’s second single it charted about as well as a stale little Debbie cake in a taste test. In fact, you could say that staleness is a running theme here. “True Confessions” and “Sinful Love,” for example, lost their teeth a long time ago. While I’m whining, I should note that the opening “This Ain’t The Summer of Love” is a shortcut to nowhere; amazingly, this was stretched into a twelve-minute epic on tour. As “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” proved, it was the summer of love all over again, at least as far as BOC was concerned. Since what surrounds that single is mostly generic ‘70s rock, anyone who bought the album hoping to hear more of the same was fated to be disappointed.

PC 34164 inner gatefold PC 34164 back cover
PC 34164 inner gatefold PC 34164 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. THIS AIN'T THE SUMMER OF LOVE    (Murray Krugman/Albert Bouchard/Don Waller)    2:20
  2. TRUE CONFESSIONS    (Allen Lanier)    2:55
  3. (DON'T FEAR) THE REAPER    (Donald Roeser)    5:05
  4. E.T.I. (EXTRA TERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE)    (Donald Roeser/Sandy Pearlman)    3:43
  5. THE REVENGE OF VERA GEMINI    (Albert Bouchard/Patti Smith)    3:48
  6. SINFUL LOVE    (Albert Bouchard/Helen Robbins)    3:28
  7. TATTOO VAMPIRE    (Albert Bouchard/Helen Robbins)    2:40
  8. MORNING FINAL    (Joe Bouchard)    4:14
  9. TENDERLOIN    (Allen Lanier)    3:53
  10. DEBBIE DENISE    (Albert Bouchard/Patti Smith)    4:12

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  11. FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN
  12. SALLY
  13. (DON'T FEAR) THE REAPER (DEMO)
  14. DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY

    Tracks 1-10 arranged by Cult

CREDITS

ERIC BLOOM -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion
ALBERT BOUCHARD -- drums, vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, and harmonica
JOE BOUCHARD -- bass, vocals, piano
ALLEN LANIER -- keyboards, vocals, guitar, and bass
DONALD (BUCK DHARMA) ROESER -- guitar, vocals, synthesizer, percussion
Michael Brecker -- horns
Randy Brecker -- horns
Patti Smith -- vocals (5)
Andy Abrams -- engineer
Shelley Yakus -- engineer
Lynn Curlee -- cover painting
John Berg and Andy Engel -- album design
Columbia Records -- photography

return to BLUE OYSTER CULT discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US May 1976 Columbia LP/CS PC 34164 gatefold cover
UK/NET May 1976 CBS LP S81835 gatefold cover
CAN May 1976 CBS LP KC 34164 gatefold cover
JPN 1976 CBS/Sony LP 25AP-109 lyric insert
UK/NET   CBS LP/CS 32221/4032221 gatefold cover reissue
US   Columbia LP PC 34164 gatefold cover, barcode reissue
US 1997 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-697 original master recording
EUR June 25, 2001 Epic CDX 5022371 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
US July 3, 2001 Columbia/Legacy CDX CK 85479 Super Audio remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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