The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Ain’t No Cure: Blue Cheer “Rocks Europe” On New 2-CD Set

with 2 comments

Blue Cheer - Rocks EuropeBetween 1967 and 2009, San Francisco’s Blue Cheer spread its metallic gospel of hard riffs and heavy psychedelia around the world.  Though the band only had two Hot 100 singles (No. 14 “Summertime Blues” and No. 92 “Just a Little Bit,” both in 1968), its influence was mighty in the evolution of the metal genre.  The band called it a day for the final time, though, in 2009, following the death of original member Dickie Peterson.  On the band’s website, Andrew “Duck” MacDonald wrote, “Blue Cheer is done.  Out of respect for Dickie, Blue Cheer [will] never become a viable touring band again.”  On May 28, though, fans can savor the final incarnation of the pioneering band thanks to Rainman’s release of Blue Cheer Rocks Europe.  This 2-CD set chronicles Blue Cheer’s complete April 11, 2008 performance for Germany’s Rockpalast television show from the group’s final tour.

That last tour featured the lineup of Peterson (bass/vocals), McDonald (guitar) and Paul Whaley (drums).  Despite a lineup that evolved over the years, all three were veterans of the band.  Blue Cheer was formed in 1967 by Peterson, Eric Albronda and Leigh Stephens, but before the year was out, Albronda departed the band for a management/production role, and Paul Whaley took his place.  (In those crucial early months, the band also briefly functioned as a six-piece unit, but quickly adopted the power trio format.)  Blue Cheer, reportedly so named for an Owsley-favored LSD, made an immediate splash when the first song on its first album Vincebus Eruptum, became a hit record.  That amped-up cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” would be the band’s calling card, and the album also peaked at a not-unimpressive No. 11.  Sophomore LP Outsideinside also yielded a minor hit with Peterson’s own “Just a Little Bit,” but Blue Cheer was experiencing backstage upheaval.  For 1969’s third studio effort, the group was billed as New! Improved! Blue Cheer, with Randy Holden taking the place of Leigh Stephens.  It would be Holden’s only recording with the band; by 1970’s eponymous set, Blue Cheer had morphed into a four-piece with only Dickie Peterson remaining from the original lineup.  Even the four-piece line-up was fluid, and by 1972, Blue Cheer was no more.  1971’s Oh! Pleasant Hope was its final studio release until 1984.

After the jump: we pick up the story and look at the new live release!

Dickie Peterson reformed the band with all new players in 1974, performing sporadically.  Band members came and went, but 1984’s studio album The Beast is Back reteamed Peterson with Paul Whaley.  The drummer didn’t last long, though, departing in 1985.  Andrew “Duck” McDonald joined Blue Cheer on guitar in 1988, though his first tour of duty only lasted a couple of years.  The revolving door didn’t stop, as Blue Cheer continued to tour through the 1990s with various line-ups.  The brief 1990 line-up of Peterson, Whaley and McDonald would resume performing as Blue Cheer in 1999 and remained largely intact until the band’s demise.  Blue Cheer had become particularly successful in Germany, spending much of the past two decades there.

The 10-song live set preserved on Rocks Europe features both old and new compositions.  In the former category, four songs (including the inevitable “Summertime Blues”) were drawn from Vincebus Eruptum, and three from Outsideinside.  The three new songs originated on Blue Cheer’s 2007 swansong, What Doesn’t Kill You….Two previously unissued studio recordings, “She’s Something Else” and “Alligator Boots,” round out the set.

You can celebrate the legacy of Blue Cheer with the May 28 release of Rocks Europe.  Pre-order links are provided below!

Blue Cheer, Rocks Europe (Rainman RM13012, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. Babylon
  2. Parchman Farm
  3. I’m Gonna Get to You
  4. Rollin’ Dem Bones
  5. Out of Focus
  6. Just a Little Bit
  7. Maladjusted Child
  8. Summertime Blues

CD 2

  1. Doctor Please
  2. Hunter
  3. Alligator Boots (Studio Recording)
  4. She’s Something Else (Studio Recording)

CD 1, all tracks, and CD 2, Tracks 1-2, recorded April 11, 2008 at Rockpalast, Germany.  CD 2, Tracks 3-4 are studio recordings.

Written by Joe Marchese

May 9, 2013 at 10:18

Posted in Blue Cheer, News

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Thanks Joe for getting it right , so much misinformation is passed around about Blue Cheer – You did a great job, thank you
    Eric Albronda

    eric albronda

    May 10, 2013 at 00:21

    • Thanks for the kind words, Eric – and thanks for the music over the years!

      Joe Marchese

      May 15, 2013 at 14:05

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: