On Your Feet Or On Your Knees is the first live album by Blue Oyster Cult, recorded at various concerts in 1974 promoting the Secret Treaties studio album.It was released in 1975.
Blue Oyster Cult’s speciality is melodic, guitar-based hard rock with sci-fi and occult or evil themes. The titles are often worse than the songs and may mislead you.
I’m wary of groups that lean towards the occult like Black Sabbath but BOC had some good tunes that kept bringing me back.To help you to decide if the songs are appropriate for you, I’ve linked to the lyrics
Blue Oyster Cult On Your Feet Or On Your Knees Review
Set List 9/10
This live album pulled evenly from the first three studio albums of their career with a couple of covers and a new song.
- Subhuman – 7:30 (originally on the Secret Treaties album) lyrics
- Harvester of Eyes – 4:55 (Secret Treaties) lyrics
- Hot Rails to Hell – 5:55 (Tyranny and Mutation) lyrics
- The Red and the Black – 4:33 (Tyranny and Mutation) lyrics
- 7 Screaming Diz-Busters – 8:27 (Tyranny and Mutation) lyrics
- Buck’s Boogie – 7:40 (originally released on this album, the studio version later added to Tyranny and Mutation as a bonus)
- (Then Came The) Last Days of May – 4:35 (Blue Oyster Cult) lyrics
- Cities on Flame – 4:08 (Blue Oyster Cult) lyrics
- ME 262 – 8:47 (Secret Treaties) lyrics
- Before the Kiss (A Redcap) – 5:05 (Blue Oyster Cult) lyrics
- I Ain’t Got You – 8:59 (cover of a song played by the Yardbirds)
- Born to Be Wild – 6:36 (cover of Steppenwolf classic)
That’s three songs from each of the first three albums. It’s a great selection but it does mean that some BOC classic early songs are left for later live albums like Astronomy (on Some Enchanted Evening) and Dominance and Submission (on Extraterrestrial Live).
The album is less than 80 minutes long and it would have been nice to have seen some more songs added to it when it was remastered in 2012.
Like many long-lasting bands, membership of the group has changed frequently. The members at this stage were:
- Eric Bloom – vocals, stun guitar, synthesizer
- Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – lead guitar and lead vocals on Before the Kiss and Last Days of May
- Allen Lanier – rhythm guitar, keyboards
- Joe Bouchard – bass and lead vocals on Hot Rails to Hell
- Albert Bouchard – drums, guitar and lead vocals on “Cities on Flame”
They make a fantastic noise as they work their way through the set list with the guitar of Buck Dharma to the front. If you love guitar solos, then I think you will enjoy this album very much.
As you’d expect, the songs are tougher and faster on this belting live album but it retains the melodies and tunes.
Here is a 57 minute video of Blue Oyster Cult performing live at a 1975 concert in Paris which was broadcast on French TV. (Flashing images)
It starts with a song that isn’t featured on the live album, Stairway To The Stars from their first studio album. Unfortunately there is then a short interview in French before it returns to BOC and Flaming Telepaths and then slowing down for the Last Days Of May. It’s a bit frustrating but you can jump ahead easily.
Atmosphere and Authenticity 8/10
It’s a compilation from a series of gigs on the Secret Treaties tour so it loses a mark for not representing a typical concert. Subhuman is a strange song to start with and especially as the next song starts with some big cheers and then “on your feet or on your knees, Blue Oyster Cult” as if the band are being introduced at the start of the concert.
Secondly, while the crowd is enthusiastic, I’d have liked more talking and crowd involvement from the band. If only a few snippets like “This song is on our latest album and it’s called…”
Third, the original mix of the album was muddied and I have the first version. The remastered version sounds much better from the snippets I’ve heard and I’m going to have to upgrade. The problem is, it appears to be quite hard to distinguish between the versions when you’re buying.
Overall Rating 27/30
This is rightly regarded as one of the best hard rock and heavy metal albums of the early to mid 1970s.
I think a rating of 27 is about right for the original version but the remastered version should probably edge up another point.
What Other People Say About On Your Feet Or On Your Knees
Blue Oyster Cult have regarded three highly regarded live albums – On Your Feet or On Your Knees, Some Enchanted Evening and Extraterrestrial Live – which inevitably splits the votes in the best live albums lists. I think this is their best.
The Slate Readers Poll considers On Your Feet Or On Your Knees the 19th best live album ever.
Reviews at Amazon are also very positive.
Buying On Your Feet Or On Your Knees By Blue Oyster Cult
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What Do You Think About This Blue Oyster Cult Live Album?
Do you think this is the best Blue Oyster Cult live album or do you think the later ones are better?
What Are The Best Live Albums Ever?
I use readers polls to help find the best live albums.
On Your Feet Or On Your Knees is one of the albums nominated in this poll:
Because there are so many great hard rock and heavy metal live albums I have split the poll into two and you may find some of your favourites in the second division. Albums will be promoted when they get enough votes.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
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