Monday, 9 November 2015

Buck's Boogie by Blue Oyster Cult (On Your Feet or On Your Knees 1975)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Blue Oyster Cult - On Your Feet or On Your Knees gatefold (1975) (Courtesy: Headheritage)

There are bands who, when they record a live album, add previously unreleased or original tracks – in addition to replicating, changing, improving or extending familiar songs. The Who‘s Live at Leeds (1970) adds the covers from their regular set: Mose Allison’s Young Man Blues, Jerry Capehart and Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues and Shakin’ All Over by Johnny Kidd. A studio recording of Summertime Blues had been made in 1967, but was not released until The Story of the Who (1976). Thin Lizzy appended two unreleased ‘originals’ to Live and Dangerous (1978), Are You Ready? and Baby Drives Me Crazy.

To On Your Feet or On Your Knees from 1975, Blue Oyster Cult attached an original lengthy instrumental, Buck’s Boogie, which serves as a showpiece for Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser‘s impressive guitar playing. Like The Who, they added some covers from their usual set, The Yardbirds’ I Ain’t Got You, restructured as Maserati GT, and Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild. Buck’s Boogie consists of a simple but extremely catchy rock ‘n’ roll melody, over which Dharma weaves his intricate but faultlessly played solos. What sets Boogie apart from other live guitar showpieces is that the remaining members of the band are also given opportunity to shine, especially Allen Lanier‘s organ work which acts as a foil to the guitar. Albert Bouchard‘s drum solo appears after about four minutes and his brother Joe‘s bass solo comes around a minute later. As a rhythm section, the brothers are prominent with or without their own solos.

BOC were often grouped with the early ‘heavy metal’ bands like Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge and Black Sabbath, but they did not have a particularly heavy sound. Nor were they primitive enough to qualify as a garage band, despite being classified as such. BOC also had another dimension in that they were consistently unpredictable, varied, experimental and melodic. Their songs were usually of the highest quality and revealed a sometimes bizarre sense of humour.

Buck’s Boogie was recorded on one of several shows during 1974 and it is unclear from exactly which performance it was taken. It remains a part of Blue Oyster Cult’s set to the present.

David Gilmour and his band appeared on the extended one hour edition of BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland on Friday night (2nd October). Surprisingly, he opened the show, with Rattle That Lock, so we did not have to wait long for his appearance. He closed with Today, the guitar solo at the end of which gave him opportunity to demonstrate his seemingly effortless and highly distinctive playing. In between times, he performed The Girl In The Yellow Dress, a disappointingly slow, jazz-inspired piece with Guy Pratt on double bass, Jools Holland at the piano and João Mello on sax.

One of the problems with watching Later, is that you have to suffer a lot of dross to catch the band you like. But with Gilmour appearing early, and three times in total, it was not so bad. An interview with former Gilmour collaborator, Georgie Fame, was interesting, for sharing his influences, but he did not perform. Also appearing on the show were The Weekend, The Libertines, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and Ukrainian quartet DakhaBraka.


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