Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Blue Öyster Cult - On Your Feet or on Your Knees CD (album) cover


Blue Öyster Cult

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A rough diamond that really shines!

BÖC's "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees" is another of those albums that doesn't see the light of day too often in my house these days but when it does I really enjoy the trip. I remember quite vividly listening to the opening notes of "The Subhuman" in 78 Records (a notable record store in Perth, Western Australia) the day I first spotted the cover photo of the church and limo shot through a fisheye lens in 1976. I walked out of 78's with the album about two minutes later.

As far as progressive goes, there is not a lot for the die-hard prog fan on this album, though there are smatterings of good keyboard work throughout. But if you are looking for fast- paced, crunching guitars backed by a driving rhythm section in a live setting this is an album for you. Similarly, if you want that raw, largely-untouched-at-the-mastering-stage 1970's live sound then again this is an album for you. And if you appreciate your rock a little quieter OYFOOYK has the gem of a track "(Then Came The) Last Days Of May", which features some top guitar work and vocals by Donald 'Buck Dharma' Rooser. At the end the album is rounded out with the Mars Bonfire's classic "Born To Be Wild", which is the perfect finisher for a riotous album full of good rocking fun.

In my mind OYFOOYK is a rock masterpiece, five stars all the way! Then when I look from a progressive perspective it would struggle to get three stars. Overall I reckon OYFOOYK deserves four stars as a rocking live set that conveys the vitality of the various performances (the tracks are strung together from a number of different shows) along with the band's energy.

If the classic live sound is your cup of tea OYFOOYK is an album that should be sought out. If you haven't heard it as yet I am sure you will not be disappointed when you do get the chance.

4/5 stars from the Dinosaur.

Report this review (#118979)
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the perfect live album for Blue Oyster Cult to close the fruitful "black and white" period. At the half of the seventies thy reached their own sound and I think the critics were unjust in saying they were only the american Black Sabbath. Unfortunately not their best efforts are included in this double lp. Songs as "Astronomy" and "Flaming Telepaths" have been criminally thrown away when they decided the tracking list.

This is the only negative remark. Presumably it was due to the sound quality...who know? Anyway the album still remains their best live contribution, I think, only followed by 1982 excellent "Extraterrestrial Live".

"Subhuman", "Harvester Of Eyes", "Hot Rails To Hell", "The Red And The Black" and "7 Screaming Diz-Busters" are a strong tour de force!

All the band's members are at the top of their form delivering an interesting mix between that proto-hard rock / metal sound within gentle keyboards and even synth' excursions. As common in their live cathalogue, the album feature two covers: Maserati GT and Born to Be Wild.

Report this review (#128560)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album that introduced me to BÖC back in 1981 and it didn't leave the turntable for weeks. A strong live recording with some awesome versions eclipsing the studio stuff. The fantastic, never surpassed versions on this album are THE SUBHUMAN; THE RED & THE BLACK; SEVEN SCREAMING DIZ- BUSTERS; THEN CAME THE LAST DAYS OF MAY; ME 262 (including the famous five guitar jam). The rest is decent with some heavy riffing. The keyboard oriented prog fan should keep in mind that BÖC are a guitar centred band with a good keyboard player and some tasteful drumming. A worthwhile record easily securing its 4 stars.
Report this review (#162792)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Most progressive fans here agree that the Black and White period of the Blue Öyster Cult was their pinnacle and "Agents of Fortune" was a sort of a commercial sell-out. But before this album, and after the luscious "Secret Treaties", was this rousing live memento aptly titled "On Your Feet or On Your Knees", a wild and rambunctious depiction of their early "greasy" sound. The attitude is lewd and raunchy, lots of gritty guitars sawing away with "The Subhuman" starting off in a huff, Eric Bloom offering his trademark sarcastic New York vocals ("So Ladies, Fish and Gentlemen..") while handing over the spotlight to Don Roeser, arguably the most underrated rock guitarist of his era, who wastes little time in showing off his metal mettle on the fret board and a brief Allen Lanier synthesizer solo that pleases to no end. But as "Harvester of Eyes" kicks it up a serious notch, the mood becomes hotter and sweatier, veering almost into rock 'n roll realms with bubbling electronics , a typically funky vocal engaging the raging riffing guitars everywhere and a boogie finale with bopping bass and rampant soloing. The fire then gets really heavy with the blinding "Hot Rails to Hell", a whirlwind blitz, almost punkoid in structure that serves mostly to unnerve the delirious crowd even more , three guitars riffing away unfettered! Fun but not that proggy really, except for the solo guitar. The beat stays relentless with "The Red & The Black", more steamroller boogie rock 'n roll (almost sounding like the J.Geils Band) which segues almost immediately into "Seven Screaming Dizbusters" , another BOC torpedo honing in on the kill. Then we have the first 3 true gems here are all in a row, with first "Buck's Boogie" a near 8 minute romp featuring the illustrious Roeser displaying the chops that make him an underground hero. My fave BOC cut is next "Last Days in May" just blows me away both live and studio versions doing the trick. "Cities on Flame" is a classic Cult song and deservedly so (the cheering here is pretty intense), with a main theme that is just plain "rock 'n roll" swaggering with overt bellicosity and arrogance that actually comes across as fun. Buck unleashes more fret magic as expected. "Me262" is a rather wonky studio tune that thankfully is transformed here in a live setting into a huge 8 minute jam that must have been fun with all its stop/start settings, the triple guitar show must have been a sight to behold, the Bouchard brothers rather adept as a rhythm section here. "Before The Kiss" and "Maserati GT" are more boogie /rock 'n roll jam fests that just add to the occasion, part of the concert experience. The finale encore is the classic Steppenwolf anthem to bikers "Born to Be Wild" and they do the Pushermen proud with a rousing version that swerves, dips, hugs the road and chugs along threateningly, as it should. Hey, this is not the best live album, certainly hardly of interest to most proggers but fun to have anyway as a window into your typical dirty rock show in the mid 70s. It won't get you on your feet or on your knees, regardless of what Mr. Bloom says. 3.5 curved hooks.
Report this review (#179655)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars That album (and Secret Treaties also) was for me a nice surprise after first three LP's from Blue Oyster Cult. First albums are - in my opinion - too delicate. Fourth LP was a step in the right direction. And here - there is a real power in their guitars! And what important: Bloom's and Roeser's vocals are really good, and that's rather rare if we are talking about heavy-rock albums and hard rock bands. Plus - two stunning covers at the end of the album! But, frankly speaking, that's not the best hard-rock-live-album I have ever hear (Made in Japan, guys, and many more!). You can go to the shop if you like typical 70-s hard rock. That will be good addition for your collection.
Report this review (#185469)
Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Released in 1975, as a sort of ideal conclusion to their legendary 'black and white' trilogy, On Your Feet or On Your Knees is simply one of the best live albums in rock, bar none. It captures the New York band at the peak of their creativity, before they started exploring more commercial pastures with Agents of Fortune and all the albums that followed. A towering achievement of sheer musical power and lyrical subtlety, pervaded with the looming aura of malevolence that led the band to be dubbed the American Black Sabbath (though their musicianship was vastly superior to that of the Birmingham quartet), right from its sinister, Gothic cover art the album intrigues and holds the listener's attention in a firm grip.

Blue Oyster Cult have always been one of the best live acts around (I can vouch for that, having seen them in 1986), and to this day - when most of the members are in their early sixties - their performances are said to be worth every cent of the entrance fee. In the mid-Seventies, at the top of their game, they were an unstoppable force, as On Your Feet or On Your Knees shows quite clearly. Crushing yet memorable riffs (move over, Smoke on the Water), slinky keyboard lines, Eric Bloom's gruff, theatrical vocal tones, galloping rhythms, weird, sci-fi lyrical themes - and a light show that, at the time, was deemed positively dangerous - BOC had it all, an intoxicating mix of violence and sophistication, just like their hometown. I would hesitate, though, to call them heavy metal, as they have all too often been described. With all due respect to the genre, I find very little in common between BOC's music and that of some of their British contemporaries, such as Black Sabbath or Judas Priest. I would rather compare them to the likes of Uriah Heep, or even the mighty Deep Purple - hard-edged, yes, but capable of subtlety and elegance.

The album features the cream of BOC's first three albums (with two glaring omissions, Astronomy and Flaming Telepaths - both amongst the band's finest moments), plus a cracking cover of Steppenwolf's anthemic Born to Be Wild, which closes the album in style. Though I have heard a number of covers of this song, in my opinion BOC's is the best by far - possibly together with fellow New Yorkers Riot's (on their album Narita). Some of the songs also appear on the band's other three live albums, notably the energetic The Red and the Black, Cities on Flame with its memorable riff, and the steamrolling Hot Rails to Hell. Guitar fans could do worse than to check the irrepressible instrumental Buck's Boogie, a showcase for the criminally underrated six-stringer, Donald Buck Dharma Roeser (aided and abetted by Allen Lanier's keyboards), or the wistful The Last Days of May from their debut album. However, to these ears the real highpoints of the album are also the most progressive - opener The Subhuman, one of the band's most impenetrable, darker tracks; chilling, spacey Harvester of Eyes; and the masterpiece that is Seven Screamin' Dizbusters, unleashed in all its intricate, menacing glory.

Now, as in the case of most of my prog-related reviews, I will have to warn the newcomer that the 'prog quotient' on this album is somewhat lower than, for instance, on BOC's masterful third album, Secret Treaties. By omitting Astronomy and Flaming Telepaths, the band chose to turn to the rockier end of their output - though, as I have stated before, 'rockier' does not automatically mean simplistic (to be perfectly frank, BOC sound nothing like Kiss). However, the progressive touches are undeniably present, and at any rate this is an album that will appeal to most prog fans - except those who have an aversion to straight rock. Therefore, though not an 'essential masterpiece of progressive music', I will give this beauty the top rating. Join the Blue Oyster Cult!

Report this review (#204712)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Double Live album with the inner gatefold giving you an idea of what's on the two discs: guitars!! Indeed the picture inside shows all five Cultmen playing guitar was mostly a gimmick for the group, even if their drummer Albert Bouchard did write songs, and play guitar as well. In either case, everything this package wants you to think is HEAVY. And heavy it is, because the album recapitulates the group's so-called Black & White trilogy, although I find that it's neglecting (a bit) their third one, Secret Treaties.

Apart from an extended version of Subhuman and a good rendition of Harvester as the opening tracks from the first disc, you'll have to wait until the fourth side to find another ST track in the solid and extended ME262. The rest of the first disc is spent covering the first two albums, but also including Buck's Boogie, a guitar fest honouring that same guitarist. What had appeared in the studio also was true for their stage performance, all three frontmen are no geniuses at their instruments, but all are apt at playing their parts. It's to their credit that the guitars are more set to work together, rather than blow each other off the stage.

If the second disc starts in the same mould than the first, the final side is a happy surprise, with two live-only covers, namely the jamming Ain"t Got You (a blues that Aerosmith would also include in their live set) and Steppenwolf's all-time classic Born To Be Wild, which is not a fave version of mine, but I've heard worse. As much as many see this double live album as a chapter résumé, personally, I find that adding one more track on each side and featuring more of their then-latest Treaties a much better bet. Like their other albums, OYF is definitely not essential to prog, but cult fanatics will tell you otherwise0

Report this review (#227714)
Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars "So ladies, fish, and gentlemen..."

BOC has released some good live albums through the years, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING to compare with this all-out rocking blast of power. There may not be a lot of prog here but there is a lot of rock! The band is at it's finest here, from instruments to vocals to down-right fun. Great tunes from their 1st three discs are here as well as "Born to be Wild" which BOC is the only band besides Steppenwolf to get right. And possibly the best album title ever. The best song here, and my personal all-time fav from the Cult is "Last Days of May" which kicks it out a hundred times more powerful on this disc than on the original first album, where it was a much more laid back version. God Bless Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom, and the boys for this masterpiece. This deserves a 5 star rating, but seeing as this is a prog site, I will give it 4. (Really 4.99999)

Report this review (#283588)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Early BOC had significantly more complexity to their music than many realize due to the more mainstream sound that followed in later years. This live album captures most of the best of what BOC had to offer from their black and white period with a few great songs missing most notably Astronomy, but every song on this live performance is excellent, and better than their studio versions. I have seen BOC live on three occassions, the first time in large outdoor stadium, the second time in a small theater, and the third time in an even smaller club. Each time these guys sounded better thant the last. Even into their senior years they are definitely worth checking out if you haven't seen them already. Best tracks on this ablum are The Subhuman, Harvestor of Eyes, The Red and The Black, Seven Screaming Dizbusters, and Bucks Boogie. This is not a prog masterpiece, but its a great live album that is worthy of 4 stars.
Report this review (#545437)
Posted Friday, October 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Cult lives.

On Your Feet or on Your Knees is the ultimate cult record: a funeral wagon with the cult symbols parking at dawn for a sinister church on the frontcover. A black bible with the song information and symbols at the backcover. Blue Oyster Cult succesfully build on their cult image.

This live record is the finishing point of BÖC's black & white period. The most succesfull record in this period is without doubt the Secret Treaties. Alive these songs sound a bit more sinister and it is because of their cult image BÖC is often seen as protometal. The music however is still much rock'n roll influenced. On the last side BÖC gives us a glimpse of those who inspired them by playing by playing a cover of Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild. I do own a double live record of Steppenwolf and I must say these bands do have a lot in common qua sound and songprogression. Both are rock'n roll based hardrock bands with lot's of sologuitar melodies.

In my opinion a double record was a bit too ambitious for BÖC. The songs are not varied enough to make this a real succes. The ballad on the beginning on side three is a nice exception. This is still a nice offering and a nice addition for BÖC's fans and gives a good view of their 70's livesound. Some extended solo's will please guitarlovers, although I prefer some more complex guitarwork myself. A nice addition for hardrock fans in general. 3,5 stars!

Report this review (#663670)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I believe I was already familiar with Don't Fear the Reaper by the time I bought this on vinyl through my sister's record club sometime in the latter 70s. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but I had heard the band was good. In fact, after listening to this off and on for 30 years, I will venture to say they were probably one of the best U.S. bands performing at the time. The album starts off with the relatively mild Subhuman, one of those songs that sounds like it is about to end when it winds itself up again. I always like that. This is one of my favorites from the album. But that relative mildness soon disappears and the album goes into full-on Cult heaviness with Harvester of Eyes. It is ironic that both these songs feature prominent keyboards, something not found that frequently on the rest of the album. BOC had always been a guitar band, as the inner sleeve and gatefold photos demonstrate. Buck Dharma's excellent leads really stand out. There are a few softer moments, such as The Last Days of May, a great song, and the occasional on stage banter (mostly quiet interludes), but as most people have noted, this album rocks. The song structures and lyrics are always imaginative and the band performs like a well oiled machine. They stretch out frequently for some top-knot interactions and solos. Most songs clock between five and eight minutes. Some complain about the sound, and even though a little unbalanced, I much prefer it to the clean-but-sterile sound of their prior studio recordings. The live setting brings out the power of the music. So, if you are like me and you like the early BOC music, but not the recordings, this would be a good place to turn, even if the seminal Astronomy is nowhere to be found. Nominations: Best Album Title; Best Onstage Banter: "I know Lucifer so well I call him by his first name. I say, Hey Lou!"
Report this review (#763204)
Posted Sunday, June 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars "I'd like to thank my friends here who gave me this little whip, It's really lovely, I'll keep it and cherish it forever..."

"On Your Feet Or On Your Knees" is another of the all time greatest live albums that were churned out in the mid-70s. "Kiss Alive!", "Frampton Comes Alive" and UFO's "Strangers In The Night" were all powerhouse albums showing an awesome live sound, and presenting the respective songs as far superior to the studio releases with lead guitar brilliance from respectively Ace Frehley, Peter Frampton and Michael Schenker. BOC have a much more raw sound and the extended lead guitar solos are stunning; Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser is really given a chance to ignite the atmosphere with electrical charges of guitar energy, surely he is his element on the live stage where he can be allowed to run riot on his Gibson SG lead guitar. Eric Bloom is wonderful on lead vocals, stun guitar, and synthesizer, Allen Lanier keep things cranking on keyboards, and the rhythm section of the Bouchard brothers on bass and drums gives it the drive and power it needs. The band are simply dynamic throughout the concert, and the added sections of lead guitar licks and extended codas, as well as Bloom's banter and the roar of the crowds make this an irresistible slice of proto prog, early metal history.

'The Subhuman' is a great rocking opener to set things in motion. The band sound fresh and enthusiastic, hammering out the classic from "Secret Treaties". This is followed up swiftly with 'Harvester Of Eyes' where the guitars are heavy slabs of lead generating a brilliant sound, with Bloom screaming like a banshee "right in front, to the back of your skull." This is akin to Sabbath or Purple at their best.

'Hot Rails To Hell' from "Tyranny and Mutation" is next with a spine crushing solo, and played at a blistering pace. Next is 'The Red And The Black' that had to be here, and the riffs are furious with scorching lead breaks from Dharma. The astonishing musicianship sets the bar very high but it prepares us for the blockbuster to follow.

'Seven Screaming Diz-Busters' is an 8:49 tour de force of blitzkrieg lead guitar and crunching riffs. Eric Bloom intros it by saying he likes his whip and he will cherish it forever, presumably thrown to him from someone in the crowd. This live version was my first taste of BOC 28 years ago when I heard it on the metal show. This is the version I will always cherish, too awesome for words, with the greatest riffs that lock into your skull, and then there is the towering lead solo. Dharma's guitar screams in pain and the solo is full of fret melting ferocity with vicious string bends. The interlude is Bloom telling the crowd all about how the band apparently were visited by a mysterious man who promised them they would be famous and rock legends as long as they signed a secret deal, in blood! Apparently they did and now the mystery man wants to reclaim the payment, and he is coming back for them. This is as sinister as the band gets as far as atmosphere, and it features some frenetic lead work from Dharma, and shimmering organ phrases from Lanier. The drums are attacked by Albert throughout and the bass is pulsating continually by Joe, the Bouchard brothers. The best BOC for me personally without a doubt as I love the extended lead soloing and overall atmospherics.

'Buck's Boogie' is an amazing instrumental guitar workout, and the Hammond drives it home beautifully. The lead guitar break is blues and rock revved to the max and this is a fast paced jam session to unleash what the band do best. The classic '(Then Came The) Last Days Of May' which is very popular has a nice blues melody and some beautiful lead guitar passages. 'Cities On Flame' is the live staple heard many times, a riff heavy gem from the early album, and is played with passion here. The power riffs are a delight and Bloom really belts this out with a lot of volume.

'Me 262' is an 8 minute riffer that is even better than the version on "Secret Treaties"; it really rocks hard. It is followed by 'Before The Kiss (A Redcap)' that is a nice moderate track before they unleash a blues deluge of guitar energy on the 9 minute 'Maserati GT (I Ain't Got You)'. This features Dharma on extended lead solo and it is absolutely delightful to hear him break out into huge guitar improvisations as the band lock into a bluesy groove, similar to Ten Years After's Alvin Lee in some respects.

The band are reintroduced for an encore and they launch into 'Born To Be Wild', the Steppenwolf classic. This is way better and heavier than the original and it is great to hear BOC play a cover. Of course the song has grinding organ like the original, but I love Bloom's heavy vocal treatment. There is freakout of organ and guitar in the extended solo. Dharma has a killer time of it blazing out awesome chord progressions and searing variations on the riffs. They turn a relatively simple rocker into a complex sonic guitar workout.

In my opinion, having heard 5 studio albums, and some others live, this is as good as it gets for BOC. It is a live triumph capturing the early 70s vibe, and some of the best lead guitar you are likely to hear. Every song is a tour de force that slaughters the originals for sheer unadulterated in your face rock. This is the way to experience BOC, and it is proto metal as well as having moments of invigorating prog musicianship. It comes highly recommended as a 70s live treasure; a veritable masterpiece for Blue Oyster Cult.

Report this review (#805935)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A live album recorded on the Secret Treaties tour, On Your Feet and On Your Knees captures the band at the peak of their powers. Lumbered by a poor mastering job on early CD releases, it finally sounds at its best once again on the 2012 reissue. On the whole this is a high-energy affair with great renditions of material from the first three albums and some non-album pieces besides (the cover versions of I Ain't Got You - retitled Maserati GT here - and Born to Be Wild, and the jam Buck's Boogie).

The three picks from the debut album are especially interesting here since they're given a thorough makeover, upping their energy and making them harder and somewhat more metallic than the studio versions - especially Before the Kiss, a Redcap.

Report this review (#1292544)
Posted Thursday, October 16, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't write reviews of bands that I have a personal history with, or have known personally, so this is a first. And will probably be the last.

Recorded live, Blue Oyster Cult's 1975 double album On your Feet Or On Your Knees magically and majestically captures BOC at the height of their "black and white album trilogy" powers (the eponymous debut album from 1972, Tyranny and Mutation from 1973, and Secret Treaties from 1974), and does something those three initial albums only hinted at. They rock out at full bore and showcase what a powerhouse BOC was on any given night in the early seventies. A feature truly hidden by the thin bass-shy production of those three albums.

On reflection, this album's production values are not top shelf in a few areas but it doesn't need to be. On Your Feet Or On Your Knees was recorded and (importantly) mixed clearly and is loud, detailed and full of energy. On Your Feet Or On Your Knees showcases the band's absolute definitive versions of Subhuman, Harvester of Eyes, Hot Rails To Hell, The Red And The Black, Then Came The Last Days of May, Cities On Flame and ME 262.

Eric Bloom's voice is stellar as is Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's electrifying lead guitar playing, which is an absolute clinic in splitting the deference between technical chops and melodic invention. Trying to listen to any song without focusing solely on his playing is often difficult even forty two years later.

Why this album never pushed BOC to the top the way that Frampton Comes Alive did in the seventies will always be a mystery to the band and it's diehard fans. But this live document exists for the initiated who knew "The Cult" and their brand of edgy heavy rock long before the cowbell jokes came after listening to a song about the Grim Reaper. Four stars.

Report this review (#1782837)
Posted Saturday, September 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT On Your Feet or on Your Knees ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT On Your Feet or on Your Knees

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.