BOC this was not, but Roeser produced an album that gave insight into what he was all about, with compositions showing his influences. I saw BOC a couple of times in the 1970s and those shows were evidence that (with the exception of the underrated and understated Allen Lanier) Roeser was the only one of the five with any significant musical ability. He was a better singer than Bloom or either of the Bouchards, but his voice just did not always suit what BOC were about. This is a perfect showcase for him. The tracks vary from standard rock, through a neat instrumental (Anwar's Theme), tasty jazz-style (Wind, Weather And Storm) to a cover of a 60s pop song (with vocals by his wife). The liner notes in this updated version (no new tracks) are interesting and I am glad Roeser points out about the joke on the cover picture, which I totally missed 35 years ago (that long ago, amazing!). If you liked what Roeser did in BOC then you should like this.
On the back of BOC's successful 1981 album "Fire Of Unknown Origin" their lead guitarist (& leading commercial asset) Buck Dharma was given the backing to finally make a solo album. Buck was press ganged into releasing "Burnin For You" over to BOC in 81, a seminal track that he was hoping to keep for "Flat Out" - you can see where it would fit nicely on "Side 2" but fans of Buck's work should still find this a strong & rewarding collection. If my memory is correct I bought this album just prior to Christmas 1982 & I played it to death through the extended Xmas & New Year holiday - it holds special memories for me & my perception is that it is a very personal album for Buck - with a very warm & nostalgic feel to it. Buck had demonstrated from the Stalk Forrest days right through to the early 80's that he was a songwriter, guitarist & vocalist of exceptional quality working in the rock arena - so no surprise that this solo project further demonstrates his qualities. For me Side 1 is very impressive starting with the amp bumping "Born To Rock" (Buck announcing his musical roots) with blistering guitars right through to the slower (& very warped) eternal love story of "Your Loving Heart" - this one has a real "Twilight Zone" shock ending hidden in the lyrics. My personal faves are "That Summer Night" & "Cold Wind" - slick AOR, guitar layered & expertly crafted bliss from the master that bought us The Reaper & I Love The Night. Side 1 has a cohesive, progressive feel to it around Buck's journey through his "Rights of Passage" - you can sense the fairgrounds, sports cars & early female encounters from his teenage years (circa the early sixties). Side 2 is more varied & experimental - I have no doubt that other BD fans will find this at least as enjoyable as the first - "Five Thirty Five" and "All Tied Up" are further examples of Buck's trademark sound - tasteful, hook laden rockers - possibly more conventional than most of his BOC work & still running along relationship themes. "Wind, Weather & Storm" portrays Meltzer's lyrics in an atypical & vocally driven format - "Anwar's Theme" is a counterbalancing instrumental that flexes Buck's dexterity with the guitar. The final track is a moving version of "Come Softly To Me" - clearly a song that means a lot to Mr & Mrs Roeser & the shared vocal is impressive & touching - stylistically this track may not quite fit but its quality is not out of place with the rest of the material (here's where "Burnin For You" would have featured nicely though). In conclusion the disc is a treat for his fans & should appeal to anyone with an ear for high end AOR - that is AOR with some real substance & lasting value. (Related Note : When I saw BOC in Birmingham in Feb 84 they included a bang on version of "Born To Rock" in the set & I think that Aldo Nova returned to the stage to play on "Take Me Away"?)
Buck Dharma is the lead guitarist, sometimes vocalist and founding member of hard rock outfit Blue Oyster Cult ( most famous for the MOR classic "Don’t Fear The Reaper"). Anybody familiar with Buck’s BOC work might be surprised that Flat Out is overall a very mellow rock album, although, he does rock out on. "Born to Rock" and "5:45" most of the time he takes a laid back approach. Well played and produced, 60’s harmonies, intelligent 70’s prog rock guitar and a touch of 80’s synthesizers are welded on to some solid songs which often incorporates BOC’s trademark off centre approach to lyricwriting, in "Your Loving Heart" Flat Out has one of the most twisted love songs I have ever heard by a mainstream artist. There are some beautifully crafted songs here like "That Summer Night" and "Cold Wind" which are surprisingly soulful and evocative and recall BOC’s quieter moments from "Spectres" and "Mirrors" like "I Love the Night" and "In Thee". I have a few grumbles. Unfortunately for such a short album there are way too many fillers, The instrumental "Anwar’s Theme" goes nowhere very interesting, also the acapella "Wind, Weather and Storm" won’t be every rock fan’s cup of tea worst of all the album just kind of fades out with the pretty but unconvincing "Come Softly to Me"