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(64:44; Deko Entertainment)
I am not going to repeat the whole sorry saga behind the original ‘Imaginos’ album, but it is well worth googling. In short, ex-Blue Oyster Cult founder member and drummer Albert Bouchard started working on songs for this as far back as 1972, based on some ideas from Sandy Pearlman. Following on from his leaving the band he and Pearlman worked on recording the first part of what was going to be a trilogy. It was never finished, due to multiple reasons, but in the Eighties BOC were going through a fallow period, and somehow Pearlman managed to convince both the band and the label to finish the album and release it under their name. There were also plenty of guest musicians involved, but with Bloom and Roeser re-recording all the vocals there was enough there for it to be a somewhat valid release, although as one may expect there were various lawsuits. Over the years, “Astronomy” has become a firm favourite of their live sets, but perhaps unsurprisingly Bouchard has never been happy with what happened to the album. Due to the pandemic, Bouchard found himself in quarantine, and decided to put it to good use by recording a mostly acoustic version of the album. It features Bouchard and David Hirschberg playing and singing most it, but he also brought in help from RJ Ronquillo, his brother Joe Bouchard, Ace Bouchard, Greg Holt, Ross The Boss, Mookie Thomas, Vaughn Burton and ‘Imaginos’ alum Doctor Jack Rigg. The album has been extended with additional songs, so now we have 12 songs at 65 minutes (although there is an additional on the vinyl). Apparently, this made it into the Billboard Charts at #97 when it was released last year, which shows just how many intrigued BOC fans there are out there, who wanted this for the collection so they could play it once and then file it away. Bouchard’s vocals are thin and rather weedy, definitely elderly, but given that he was born in 1947 and is primarily a drummer as opposed to a singer, perhaps that is not surprising. Musically the word which kept coming to my mind was “twee”, which is not what anyone wants to say when reviewing a rock album. The one song I was really interested in hearing, was of course “Astronomy”, which I have loved for years but this acoustic, slowed down (with handclaps and “ooohs”), version just does not have the power and intent of what I think of as the original. I know Albert wrote it and originally recorded it, but there is something about the powering BOC which gives this a totally different vibe. As with a few other albums I have been listening to this week, there is very much for fans only, and the rest can walk smartly by.
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