My visit to the Workshop of Telescopes

John A Swartz jswartz at MBUNIX.MITRE.ORG
Wed Sep 27 12:49:27 EDT 1995

Well, Bryan and Jean have beaten me to the punch with reviewing WOTT, but
I'll give my impressions too.  I agree with alot of what they say, but I
don't know about Bryan's comment on "no re-mastering".  To my ears, there
has been much sound improvement made, especially on the early material.
The tunes from the first album have never sounded so clear (bass, vocals,
and cymbals are particularly "crisp") -- I'm not sure what defines a
"re-mastering", but the sound quality has definitely been enchanced over
the original CDs.  And, as Jean implies, maybe the "Bootleg EP" stuff
has been enhanced too much.  :-)

The package is more or less what I expected -- this is both good and bad:

Good - We get better sound quality, some unreleased stuff ("Bootleg EP"
and studio "Born to be Wild"), and some nice packaging.  We also get the
most "complete" package of BOC hits so far.

Bad - It is, after all, another compilation.  This means there's lots of
stuff I don't need another copy of.  Also, 2 CDs is, IMHO, NOT sufficient
to fully capture BOC (and maybe a future release can supplement this?).
There are still some serious sins of omission committed here.

Now, for some other, somewhat random comments:

1.  First track is "Cities on Flame" -- while not intentional I'm sure,
it is nice, and somewhat ironic that the first vocals we here on this
collection are those of Albert.

2.  While "Buck's Boogie" is listed as being from "Guitars That Destroyed
The World", this is also the same track as the "Bootleg EP".  That means
that 3 of the 4 songs off the "Bootleg EP" where included.  As a completist,
I would have wished the 4th track, "Cities on Flame" was also in there.
I guess Sony figured that they didn't need 2 versions of the same song,
and while I agree that the original studio version was better from a sound
quality standpoint, from the standpoint of this package being a collectible
for BOC fans, the "Bootleg EP" version of "Cities on Flame" should have
been included as well.  But, perhaps this sin of omission could be
corrected if there is a future release.

3.  Yes, I noticed the "Buck's Boogie" credit -- my guess this is Bolle's
doing?  Speaking of Bolle, however, I was surprised that his name was
not mentioned (other than the fanclub address) as it was my understanding
that alot of the photos (or the objects in the photos) came from his

4.  In almost every case, the tracks on *WOTT* are superior from an overall
sound quality aspect to every other compilation, including *Cult Classic*.
The one exception is "Buck's Boogie", where the version on *CC* is hands
down the best.  However, no doubt that song was not in Sony's control
(*CC* was recorded on Herald records), and besides, we fans want that rare
track from 1972 - it has a real raw, "garage band" type of sound, and even
a few missed notes.

5.  I was originally led to believe that the versions on *WOTT* would be
the single, as oppossed to the album versions.  Happily, that is not the
case, which means I don't have to hear the alternative lyric to "Do it to
your daughter on a dirt road" in "Career of Evil".

6.  Since "Harvester of Eyes" that was used was from *OYFOOYK*, while
"Flaming Telepaths" was from *Secret Treaties*, we don't get that little
musicbox bit in-between these songs (as was on *ST*).  Worse, because
the drums from "Flaming Telepaths" start before the musicbox ends, we do
hear a fragment of it before the song starts.  This was a bit dissapointing
to me.  I would have liked them to either have mixed the whole musicbox
part in (I think they could have done this), or used the *ST* version of
"Harvester of Eyes" as well (the version from *OYFOOYK* is not really a
superior version to the *ST* version, IMHO).  Also, they could've used
the live version of "Flaming Telepaths" which appeared on the b-side of
the "Burnin' For You" 12" UK single (the recording was 6/81 at Bonds
Casino in New York).

7.  Most would agree that the version of "Astronomy" from *Some Enchanted
Evening* is a much better version than the studio version from *ST*.

8.  First time I heard the studio version of "Born to be Wild" -- I liked
it ALOT, but it is quite different than the way I've always heard BOC do
it live.  This studio version has a definite 70's sound to it, and is,
IMHO, very cool

9.  "Hot Rails To Hell" is not on the disc set -- this is a serious sin
of omission, IMHO.  This song was on 2 of their live albums, and was a
staple of their sets until Joe's departure from the band.  This song,
perhaps one of the 2 live versions, should definitely have been included.

10.  It is rather interesting to see that almost all of the material on
the first of the 2 discs are songs which were released on BOC's first 3
albums.  The only exceptions are "Buck's Boogie" and "Born to be Wild",
and both of these songs were part of BOC's live sets during this time

11.  There is only one track from *Mirrors*.  Surprisingly, "Dr. Music"
was not included in the set (I was expecting the live version which was
on the "Burnin' For You" 12" UK single b-side - which was recorded in
Nassau Coliseum in New York in 1980)

12.  While there was only one single (The Marshall Plan) from *Cultosaurus
Erectus*, it would've been nice to have had another song or 2 from this
great album.

13.  One song was included from *ETL* - "Dominance and Submission".  This
kind of surprised me.  The song is definitely a classic, but I kind of
expected "Roadhouse Blues" (with that legendary guest appearance by
Robbie Krieger), or "Hot Rails To Hell" (which really needed to be on
this disc set).

14.  I don't know if I should've been surprised or not, but there was
NO songs from *Imaginos*.  While the band doesn't do stuff from this
album, and while I understand some of what happened between the various
parties regarding this album, since *WOTT* was Sony releasing material
that it had rights to (via Columbia), and since *Imaginos* was recorded
(and singles were released, I believe) under BOC's contract to Columbia,
I don't understand why Sony wouldn't have released some of the songs as
part of this CD set.  And, the liner notes speak rather favorably of this
album - "More than twenty years in its creation, more than six years in
it's recording. Imaginos! ... One of rock's densest and most erudite
concept albums, it could serve well as a doctoral thesis".  Gee, after
that kind of a description, you would think there would be some songs
from that album on this disc set.  Hmm . . .

15.  Despite my criticisms of the CD set, I really do like it alot, and
for anyone who needs a BOC compilation, this is *definitely* the set to
get.  But, to be complete, my feeling is that Sony should've done at
least a 3 CD set so that "Hot Rails to Hell", the bootleg EP version of
"Cities on Flame", "Roadhouse Blues", "Dr. Music", another track or two
from *Cultosaurus Erectus*, and a few songs from *Imaginos* could have
been included.  Of course, if I had my way, we would have a box set with
probably 7-10 discs which included the SWU/SFG material, some rare live
cuts, and some of the other more obscure BOC tunes ("She's As Beautiful
as a Foot", "Teen Archer", "Mistress of the Salmon Salt", "Baby Ice Dog",
"Tattoo Vampire", "Death Valley Nights", "The Vigil", "Monsters", "Lips
in the Hills", "Vengeance (The Pact)", "Shadow of California", "Feel the
Thunder", and "Shadow Warrior" all spring to mind - or maybe some live
covers like "It Ain't Easy", "Maserati GT", or "Wings of Mercury"?).
But, I know that I ask for things that are probably not possible, so I
need to be somewhat realistic when I review this package -- and with all
of it's shortcomings, *WOTT* definitely is a fine package, and makes all
previous BOC compilations somewhat obsolete (well, I still like having
the different versions of some songs, not to mention the studio version
of "Buck's Boogie" that *Cult Classic* provides).


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