I’ve already gone into the history of this later album, but I’ll nonetheless offer this brief recap: In the early 1980’s, the band Blue Oyster Cult, perhaps most famous nowadays for the song Don’t Fear the Reaper and its “cowbell”, were on the verge of breaking up.
Albert Bouchard, the band’s drummer (and the man responsible for the actual cowbell in Don’t Fear the Reaper!) at that time in the early-mid 1980’s took many songs throughout BOC’s history and created a demo for a concept album he called Imaginos.
Here’s that demo:
The album was shopped around to various companies but no one was interested in releasing it. A few years later, however, the album was reworked with the other members of the band -minus Albert Bouchard himself- as well as several session musicians and the album Imaginos, credited to BOC and not Albert Bouchard, was released in 1988…
Though I have no inside information on how the album came about, the fact that Albert Bouchard was not involved in a project he demoed suggested that maybe there was some bad feelings between the band and the drummer.
Many, many years passed and, this year, BOC released a new album and, lo and behold, in their first music video, who should pop up in it -and jokingly hitting a cowbell!- but Albert Bouchard?! (He first appears at the 1:07 mark)
Shortly afterwards, I heard that Albert Bouchard was releasing Re Imaginos, his version of the demo featured above…
My best guess is that whatever problems/anger they had between each other was resolved and, while Albert Bouchard hasn’t re-joined the band, his album was released.
So, what did I think about it?
I like the album but my main gripe remains: Albert Bouchard, to my ears, isn’t as good a singer as BOC’s Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser. His voice isn’t bad, mind you, and in several songs the elderly/weary singing works very well, but in others it doesn’t do quite as well.
Just as an example, we now have three versions of what I consider the very best song BOC made, Astronomy. The original version was sung by Eric Bloom and is found on the 1974 BOC album Secret Treaties…
Then there’s this version of the song, from 1988’s Imaginos, and sung by Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser…
Finally, this is Albert Bouchard’s version of the song from Re Imaginos (you can fast forward to the original demo version of the song above).
There are things I love in all three versions of the song but, if I’m being totally honest, I feel like the lesser version is Albert Bouchard’s from Re Imaginos. To be clear: I’m not saying its a terrible version of the song, but that the other versions for me are better.
That’s not to say, however, that all Bouchard’s versions of the songs are less than those which were released before!
This does bring me to the following: Nowadays, with so many music services available out there, you can cobble together a playlist of the various songs on Imaginos/Re Imaginos, making alternate “albums” which can feature classic BOC versions exclusively or a mix and match versions which features the original songs, songs from Imaginos, and songs from Re Imaginos.
If you’re interested in doing so!
As is, though, I recommend Re Imaginos to those who like the original demo and were curious to hear what Albert Bouchard originally intended with the Imaginos demo.
For the heck of it, here’s Metallica’s cover of Astronomy. It includes the lyrics!