This is one of the most legendary stories in rock’n’roll, the tale of “Imaginos”, founding Blue Oyster Cult member, Albert Bouchard’s debut solo album, which he didn’t release, but the band he quit in 1981.
The concept was conceived that none other than the great Sandy Pearlman, Blue Oyster Cult’s guru, lyricist and manager of the New York band with the help of Albert Bouchard. It’s a very complicated story of an alien character, “Imaginos”, who can change shapes, lives eternaly and has the powers to influence history and change its course. That’s the very sort version, if you like to read the whole thing knock yourselves out online, it’s not hard to find it, but trust me it’s long!
That story started to take shape in the early ‘70s and was completed gradually over time until it got it’s final shape. Interestingly enough you will find songs scattered in Blue Oyster Cult’s discography that are connected to that story and were released ages before the album, like for example “Astronomy”. The “Imaginos” album was recorded as a demo from Albert Bouchard and the drummer was looking for a record company to release it. But, according to the legend nobody wanted to put it on record, because they didn’t like Albert’s voice (you can find the whole thing on YouTube). At some point, it was suggested that the album should be released under the banner of Blue Oyster, which meant that Albert had nothing to do with it.
So, “Imaginos” sees the light of day in 1988 and it’s a mix of recordings featuring special guests, Aldo Nova, Joe Satriani and Robbie Krieger, as well as Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma on vocals. But, the concept is not followed correctly, the tracklist are not in the right order and the almost 90-minute Pearlman epic gets slaughtered to something a bit over than 50 minutes.
35 years later Albert decided to release it the way the band’s mentor had thought; Bouchard’s broken and battered voice becomes the ideal narrator for this “bed time story for the children of the dead”. At the same time the acoustic guitars arrangements, just like Pearlman had imagined a campfire gathering of stoned hippies at some beach, contribute ideally to the dark and mysterious atmosphere that follows either way Imaginos’ enigmatic story.
So, for the first time you get two songs that haunt the dreams of Blue Oyster Cult’s hardcore fans for ages, “Gil Blanco County” and “The Girl That Love Made Blind”, officially released, the right order in the tracklist is restored and in a trivia for few, Jack Rigg, who also played on the ’88 album, plays on this one as well.
Because I am sure that you are familiar with Blue Oyster Cult’s album, try to forget it and approach “Re-Imaginos” with a fresh ear. The songs may be the same, but the playing and arrangements is totally different. Don’t think that everything is acoustic, it’s not! Actually, there are some guitar solos in there that certainly come from another planet. Who knows? Maybe Imaginos’ influenced those as well…
If you think about it this is a historical release for the fans, since the order is restored as far as the initial approach of the album, but also an interesting story about how the original album got out of hand of the original creator and was taken advantage by others. This sounds interesting, even for a casual listener who likes classic rock and metal. At the end of the day it includes one of the best songs ever written, “Astronomy”, even Metallica would agree…