Song of the Week – I’m On The Lamb But I Ain’t No Sheep & The Red & The Black, Blue Oyster Cult

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Today’s SotW is by the heavy riffing, Long Island band Blue Öyster Cult and comes in two versions.

“I’m On The Lamb But I Ain’t No Sheep” was on BÖC’s 1972 eponymous debut.

The song was reworked and given a new title – “The Red & The Black” – for their second release, 1973’s Tyranny and Mutation.

“The Red & The Black” opens with what sounds like a song “ending” and then kicks right into a blast furnace, fast tempo rocker. After two rounds of verse/chorus comes a blistering guitar solo by Buck Dharma. At about 3 minutes in the bass takes a short solo but continues to propel the song forward all the way through to the end.

The song is a tribute to the Canadian Mounted Police and has become a staple of the band’s live shows in “The Red & The Black” format.

It is a prototypical hard rock performance in the genre that was popularized by bands like Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Hawkwind.

BÖC was also the first band to utilize the umlaut in their name. This went on to become a heavy metal trademark, copied by other bans such as Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche and most effectively by the parody group Spın̈al Tap.

Enjoy… until next week.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Week – I’m On The Lamb But I Ain’t No Sheep & The Red & The Black, Blue Oyster Cult

  1. That’s what I’M talkin’ about.

    Top-shelf brilliance from black and white period BOC (I don’t know how to make an umlaut) which bows to not much else in all of rock ‘n’ roll. For my two cents anyway.

    Minutemen did a great “Red & Black” cover if you don’t already know.

  2. Sounds better now than it did then. This is a band that I was fully prepared to like but when I saw them live I was extremely put off by their singer, who kept insulting the (very small) audience. BOC was headlining with the Stooges and the pre-Handsome Dick Dictators opening. The Dictators were OK, did a great version of We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet, and The Stooges were beyond words. People toss around words like “dangerous” to describe music, which is laughable, but with The Stooges you just knew that anything could happen. Iggy made Jim Morrison look like Vic Damone. And they played all new songs. This was one:

  3. I got Kill City and my review was one of the million RR articles I wrote in my head that never made it to the site. In a nutshell, I was surprised how unlike Raw Power it was. I thought, at best, it sounded like very good rockin’ Stones. At worst it was drowned in saxophones.

    Like everyone else in the world, my feelings were very mixed.

  4. Yeah, that album has bad sound, like it was recorded from another room, and the performances are rote by Stooges standards. It’s as if they were tired of playing those songs. I have an album of rehearsal tapes from 1973 that has boom box sound but better performances of most of the Kill City tunes. Frustrating. Like The Stooges.

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