Blue Oyster Cult – Agents of Fortune

Blue Oyster Cult – Agents of Fortune

Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

  1. This Ain’t the Summer of Love (2:20)
    2. True Confessions (2:56)
    3. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (5:08)
    4. E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) (3:42)
    5. The Revenge of Vera Gemini (3:52)
    6. Sinful Love (3:29)
    7. Tattoo Vampire (2:41)
    8. Morning Final (4:30)
    9. Tenderloin (3:39)
    10. Debbie Denise (4:13)

Line-up / Musicians
– Eric Bloom / vocals, guitar, percussion
– Albert Bouchard / drums, vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion and harmonica
– Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser / guitar, vocals, synthesizer, percussion
– Joe Bouchard / bass, vocals, piano
– Allen Lanier / keyboards, vocals, guitar and bass

‘Agents of Fortune’ is not a great album. It may not even be the best album the Blue Oyster Cult has recorded, but it is arguably the most important record in Blue Oyster Cult’s history. It is the record that gave them their first real commercial success with the legendary ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ and it is the record that promoted them to the top of the US rock scene.

Coming out after the more rockier and gutsy ‘black and white’ period for the band,  ‘Agents of Fortune’ starts off with the heavy riffs of ‘This Ain’t the Summer of Love’ an anthem still played today and furiously sung by Eric Bloom. Alan Lanier’s ‘True Confessions’ slows things down a little then we have Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser’s ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’, a song about death, dying and possession. ‘E.T.I.’ follows, co written by Roeser and long time band mentor Sandy Pearlman. The first side ends with the Albert Bouchard/ Patti Smith track ‘The Revenge of Vera Gemini’. Joe Bouchard’s bass smoothly flowing as Smith introduces the song with her breathless vocal. A great track to end the side with.

Side two doesn’t quite compare to side one. Starting with ‘Sinful Love’, a good melodic song with some great piano and guitar work, but with slightly odd chorus and disturbingly annoying backing vocals. ‘Tattoo Vampire’ is an improvement and ‘Morning Final’ picks up the grade too. ‘Tenderloin’ is the album’s ‘Marmite’ song, it does have a great melody and does have some fine playing, but you’ll either love it or hate it. ‘Debbie Denise’ closes the album, it’s an interesting ballad with an odd story, although it just feels a little out of place on here.

With ‘Agents of Fortune’ the band got the necessary exposure that they deserved. Maybe not deserved for this record alone, but it did facilitate the listener to look into their past and discover the band as a whole.

Peter Devine September 2016

2 thoughts on “Blue Oyster Cult – Agents of Fortune

  1. This album was a definite step backward for BoC. Their first three albums were, for me, probably the greatest “three in a row” from any band in music history. Sadly, every album after those first three sunk deeper into the abyss. The move into electronic sounds and pop music really degraded their legacy.

  2. I agree, with this album they certainly changed direction, the ‘black and white’ period was over and the commercial success brought so many new fans which dictated the direction BOC would take. Personally I prefer “Secret Treaties”, but this was a pivotal album in their career.

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