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Monday, July 29, 2019

Blue Cheer : Vincebus Eruptum 1968



Blue Cheer was an American rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was sporadically active until 2009. Based in San Francisco, Blue Cheer played in a psychedelic blues rock or acid rock style, and are also credited as being some of the earliest pioneers of heavy metal, with their cover of "Summertime Blues" sometimes cited as the first in the genre.

 
They have also been noted as influential in the development of genres as disparate as punk rock, stoner rock, doom metal, experimental rock, and grunge.

 
"Blue Cheer" was the name of a variety of LSD made by chemist and Grateful Dead patron Owsley Stanley and the band was probably named after that, although the name existed earlier, as the name of a laundry detergent after which the LSD variety itself was named.


Blue Cheer came together in 1967. The band was put together by Dickie Peterson. Peterson lived at 369 Haight Street in San Francisco, where the sixties music scene was starting to hit the high note. Peterson had previously been with the Davis-based band Andrew Staples & The Oxford Circle, as well as future Blue Cheer members Paul Whaley and Gary Lee Yoder.


The original Blue Cheer personnel were singer/bassist Peterson, guitarist Leigh Stephens and Eric Albronda as drummer. Albronda was later replaced by Whaley, who was joined by Peterson's brother Jerre (guitar), Vale Hamanaka (keyboards), and Jere Whiting (vocals, harmonica). Albronda continued his association with Blue Cheer as a member of Blue Cheer management, as well as being the producer or co-producer of five Blue Cheer albums.


The band was managed by an inactive member of the Hells Angels named Allen "Gut" Terk. Early on, it was decided that the lineup should be trimmed down. It was said that Blue Cheer decided to adopt a power trio configuration after seeing Jimi Hendrix perform at the Monterey Pop Festival, but was later proven to be false. Hamanaka and Whiting were asked to leave. Jerre Peterson didn't want to remain in the group without them, so he departed as well, leaving Dickie, Leigh and Paul as a trio.


Vincebus Eruptum  is the debut album of Blue Cheer. Released on January 16, 1968, the album features a heavy-thunderous blues sound, which would later be known as heavy metal. It also contains elements of acid rock, experimental rock, blues rock, stoner rock, and garage rock. A commercial and critical success, Vincebus Eruptum peaked at number 11 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spawned the top-20 hit cover of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues". Being an example of hard rock,it is also lauded as one of the first heavy metal albums.


From the opening rampage through Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" (which miraculously became a hit single), to the final one-two punch of "Parchment Farm" and "Second Time Around," Vincebus Eruptum is a glorious celebration of rock & roll primitivism run through enough Marshall amps to deafen an army; only a few of Blue Cheer's peers could come up with anything remotely this heavy (the MC5's Kick Out the Jams and side two of the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat were its closest rivals back in the day), and no one could summon so much thunder with just three people.


On October 12, 2009, Peterson died in Germany after the development and spread of prostate cancer. After Peterson's death, longtime Blue Cheer guitarist Andrew MacDonald wrote on the group's website that "Blue Cheer is done. Out of respect for Dickie, Blue Cheer (will) never become a viable touring band again.". Under ten years later, in January 2019, drummer Paul Whaley died of heart failure.

Personnel

    Dickie Peterson – vocals, bass
    Leigh Stephens – guitar
    Paul Whaley – drums



TRACKS

1. Summertime Blues    (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)     3:47
2. Rock Me Baby      (B.B. King, Joe Josea)  4:22
3. Doctor Please    (Dickie Peterson)  7:53
4. Out of Focus      (Dickie Peterson)  3:58
5. Parchment Farm    Mose Allison  5:49
6. Second Time Around    (Dickie Peterson)  6:17

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