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Old 02-03-2018, 07:45 AM   #1
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The heavy trip of Blue Cheer

San Francisco’s Blue Cheer definitely warrant more than a footnote in the invention of heavy metal — and yes, they usually do figure prominently in such discussions — but the band’s sound, across certainly the first two records, was also the hard rock anchor of the West Coast psychedelic scene. The band’s 1968 debut album is most definitely loud, brutish and electric, but man, factor in that the album lurched out of its acid haze early in 1968, having been recorded in late ‘67, and that’s one wallop of a record for its day, nudging up to MC5’s “Kick Out the Jams,” Hendrix and assorted Cream tracks for kinship and not much else from that formative time, way down low at the rumbling end of psychedelia.

Blue Cheer formed in early ‘67 as the nondescript San Francisco Blues Band, before paring down to a power trio, again, unarguably one of the first. The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Monterey Pop Festival provided the epiphany. The band — consisting of bassist Dickie Peterson, guitarist Leigh Stephens and drummer Paul Whaley (ex-Oxford Circle) — signing to Philips and then blowing the doors off everywhere they alit.
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