Dickie Peterson- Vocals, Bass
Leigh Stephens- Guitar
Paul Whaley- Drums
Blue Cheer is a band that was from San Francisco, California. Their name is believed to be about LSD, a major staple during the time of the psychedelic sixties. Their debut album, Vincebus Eruptum, was released in January 1968. This record was a critical as well as a commercial hit, and even though it is a psychedelic record, it is considered to be very influential in the beginning of the heavy metal genre. Many people feel that this is the very first heavy metal record ever produced, and credit Blue Cheer as the pioneers of the genre. Nothing was as loud and as heavy as Vincebus Eruptum up to this point in music, it had a bluesy feel to it in spots, and it is considered groundbreaking to this day.
I like to think of them the first power trio, in the same breath as Rush, even though Rush took the power trio to a whole nother level. If you want loud, screeching guitars, killer drum solos, and a lead singer with a heavy metal attitude, all the way back to to the beginning of 1968, Blue Cheer is your band. The debut is awesome, in my humble opinion.
The record is short, only a little over half an hour, and has only six songs. But the record packs a lot of punch. The album starts off with a cover of Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues, and the song was a top twenty hit. The next song was written originally by B. B. King, Rock Me Baby, and is a good attempt by Blue Cheer at playing the blues, with a very smooth, bluesy guitar intro.
The next song on the record is an original called Doctor Please, written by vocalist Dickie Peterson. It is the longest song on the record, and starts off with hard pounding drums, and hard driving guitars, and is a really great song. The earliest metal at its best. Peterson’s voice is heavy also, and I think he should be considered one of the better vocalists of his time, especially when you consider what kind of an sound that they were going for. The song is about drug use, as so many of the songs from this era were, and Peterson admitted to it in an interview. In my opinion, it’s all about the music, with the lyrics just being a by product of the times.
Parchment Farm is another blues cover tune and is well done. The last song on the record is an original called Second Time Around, a hard driving, excellent guitar piece that ends the record on a high note. In this song I can hear little snippets of Jimmy Page throughout, and there is also some guitar work in spots throughout the record that reminds me of Hendrix. Makes me wonder if Page and Hendrix were a sound that Blue Cheer was trying to emulate. Very possible. This is a great record, and an influential one. Definitely well worth the time to listen.