CD tip: Blue Öyster Cult's Joe Bouchard carries on impressively

I grew up thinking Great Thoughts about Blue Öyster Cult — and still regard their first three albums as amongst the finest in hard rock history. Was it great, then, that I found myself seated next to seminal BÖC bassist Joe Bouchard at a recent Imagine Dragons concert? Yes! It was also very kind that Bouchard sent me a copy of his latest album, "Playin' History," the following week. You know what? It sounds like ... early BÖC. In other words, Bouchard has seen no reason at all to follow any trends, and I wouldn't have it any other way. For the record, he wrote or co-wrote such Cult classics as "Astronony," "Hot Rails to Hell" and "Wings Wetted Down," and he delivers in big fashion on "Playin' History." The punningly titled "52 Agents of Fortune," "Written History" and "Bad Decisions" would fit perfectly next to "Stairway to the Stars" or "Quicklime Girl," and "The Written History of Misery" and "Diamonds in Blue" have that melodic polish that, in a different century, would've screamed for Classic Rock airplay. I do think the production's a bit dated, but wouldn't that be in keeping with the whole spirit?

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