I’ve written about my fondness for Blue Oyster Cult. But somehow it managed to get past me that lead guitarist/vocalist Buck Dharma (Donald Roeser) had recorded a solo album. 1982, on the heels of Fire of Unknown Origin. I was perusing the used tunes at a nearby used record store and spied it: Flat Out.
Scored it for a scant six bucks and took it home for a listen. BOC it’s not. So if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t bother. It’s a real hodgepodge of songs, none of which really stand out. But it’s not utterly terrible either, though it’s probably no accident there aren’t any other Buck Dharma solo records.
So Buck plays an amazing guitar and has a good singing voice. And that’s what you find on Flat Out. It’s not his performance that makes this less than a runaway success, it is the songs. I’ve listened to the album twice and honestly there aren’t any that blew my doors off or were particularly memorable.Almost every track had an interesting guitar solo, so they weren’t worthless.
There were a few songs, however, that I did enjoy more than others. I thought “Cold Wind” channeled a bit of “I Love the Night,” one of my favorite BOC songs. On side two, the instrumental “Anwar’s Theme” was quite good. I also really enjoyed Buck’s cover of the 1959 Fleetwood’s song, “Come Softly to Me,” which is a little doo-woppish.
The truly strange entry is “Your Loving Heart,” a seven minute plus song telling the story of a man who needs a heart transplant. He gets it, of course, from his love who dies in an accident. Nicely played, well sung, definitely weird.
Worth a listen if you have a chance. Probably for Buck Dharma fans or BOC completists only.