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Saturday, October 17, 2009

BLUE CHEER : Summertime Blues (1968)

R.I.P. Dickie Peterson (Sep. 12, 1948 - Oct. 12, 2009)
From Dickie Peterson, the bassist/vocalist and founding member of BLUE CHEER, passed away this morning (Monday, October 12) at 5 a.m. in Germany. He was 61 years old. Peterson had reportedly been battling prostate and liver cancer, and according to BLUE CHEER's message board, had developed a fatal infection following a surgical procedure to help alleviate his fight.

BLUE CHEER was an American blues-rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has been sporadically active since. Based in San Francisco, BLUE CHEER played in a psychedelic blues-rock style, and was also credited for pioneering heavy metal (their cover of "Summertime Blues" is sometimes cited as the first in the genre), punk rock, stoner rock, doom metal and grunge.

Throughout his life, Peterson's relationship to music has been all-consuming. He was quoted as saying, "I've been married twice, I've had numerous girlfriends, and they'll all tell you that if I'm not playing music I am an animal to live with. . . Music is a place where I get to deal with a lot of my emotion and displaced energy. I always only wanted to play music, and that's all I still want to do."Despite the fact that BLUE CHEER was considered a pioneer in many different genres, Peterson downplayed the band's influence, stating in an interview, "People keep trying to say that we're heavy metal or grunge or punk, or we're this or that. The reality is we're just a power trio and we play ultra-blues, and it's rock 'n' roll. It's really simple what we do."

From Allmusic:
Jerry Capehart and Eddie Cochran's angst-filled paen to taking time off gets one of its most robust renditions from the mega-watt ampage of Blue Cheer in what was their break-through hit. Their only hit. Phillips single #40516 went Top 15 in the spring of 1968 ten years after Eddie Cochran took his co-write Top 10. As rocking as the original might've been for the time, Blue Cheer's expansion of the sound was explosive, perhaps inspiring the world's greatest rock rhythm guitarist, Pete Townshend (a rhythm guitarist so good he got to play lead) to up the ante for The Who's Top 30 live gem a quick two years after Blue Cheer made this big noise. This song is actually the ultimate in garage rock gone metal. Pure anger and frustration, Leigh Stephens' guitar encapsulated inside Dickie Peterson's bass and Paul Whaley's drums. The three minutes and forty-seven seconds probably inspired The Amboy Dukes, The Litter and Grand Funk Railroad as well. This was the sledgehammer Blue Cheer used to tell the world it was here, the prototype of attitude fused fury.

The above says is it all. While San Francisco was celebrating peace & love, these guys seemed to have come out of nowhere to crank their amps and trounce all over the hippie movement. Wild solos, raw recording, and a lot of attitude went into their early material. They were definitely a precursor of rock music to come...

Song : "Summertime Blues" by Blue Cheer (originally recorded by Eddie Cochran, 1958)

From the LP "VINCEBUS ERUPTUM" (Philips) Jan. 1968


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

Get it here : Summertime Blues

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