Blue Cheer – Oh! Pleasant Hope [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1971) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - Oh! Pleasant Hope [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1971) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: Oh! Pleasant Hope [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1971
Size: ~ 350 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

It’s hard to imagine what would prompt someone to suggest the band that recorded Vincebus Eruptum should get in touch with their pastoral side, but for their sixth album in only four years, Blue Cheer decided to explore something close to folk-rock and they sounded a lot more comfortable with the stuff than anyone had a right to expect. 1971’s Oh! Pleasant Hope featured the same lineup as the previous year’s The Original Human Being (the first time since Outsideinside that the band had the same musicians for two albums in a row), and while the previous album found Blue Cheer trying to buff off some of their rough edges, this one is loose, laid-back, and playful; if it doesn’t hit very hard, it’s one of the most organic and natural-sounding recordings to carry the group’s name. The album opens with “Hiway Man,” an updated variant on old folk ballads with acoustic guitars and a magisterial organ dominating the arrangement; Oh! Pleasant Hope upends traditional expectations about this most heavy band, and while their tough, blues-centered rock is still present on songs like “Believer” and “Heart Full of Soul” (not the Yardbirds hit but a Dickie Peterson original), most of the time the music is simpler and quieter, and “Traveling Man,” “Money Troubles,” and “Ecological Blues” come off like jams cut live in the studio rather than stuff the group labored over for days. And the band flies their freak flag high on the tale of a mythic, mean-spirited cop “Lester the Arrester” and the title track, a likably goofy singalong in which a guy looking for reefer in the midst of a cannabis drought imagines a day when “grass will flow like wine.” Oh! Pleasant Hope was recorded at a time when Blue Cheer’s fortunes were at a low ebb, and it was the last album they would cut before breaking up for several years; it’s hard to imagine anyone thought this was a shrewd commercial move, and at heart, this is an album Blue Cheer made because they felt like doing this, and the relaxed attitude and sense of fun is what makes this album work. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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Blue Cheer – Blue Cheer [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1970) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - Blue Cheer [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1970) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: Blue Cheer [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1970
Size: ~ 382 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

After working with two monstrously loud guitar heroes, Leigh Stephens and Randy Holden, Blue Cheer wanted to pursue a more subtle musical direction, and on their fourth album, simply titled Blue Cheer, they followed the path of the first half of 1969’s New! Improved! Blue Cheer, featuring guitarist Bruce Stephens and keyboard man Ralph Burns Kellogg, instead of the power trio format they pioneered on their first two albums and the second half of New! Improved! with Holden. Drummer Paul Whaley had also dropped out of the band by album number four, with Norman Mayell taking over the traps and leaving bassist and singer Dickie Peterson as the only original member of Blue Cheer, all within two years of the release of Vincebus Eruptum. Given all these changes, it’s no wonder Blue Cheer sounds so much different than they did on the band’s first two LP’s, but so long as you’re not expecting the monolithic power of their earliest stuff, it’s a fun album that generates an impressive groove. Blue Cheer’s music was always rooted in the blues, but here the approach is less mutated and more organic, with a touch of boogie in the rhythms and enough swagger to keep this from sounding like country-rock, even if the tone is more rootsy and significantly less punishing. The raspy twang of Peterson’s vocals shows a lighter, more graceful touch here, though he still sounds good and gritty, and the interplay between Kellogg’s piano and organ and Stephens’ guitar work suggests some improbable but effective cross between the Band and Steppenwolf. And while Peterson didn’t contribute much to the songwriting on Blue Cheer, Stephens and Kellogg step up with some good tunes (as does Gary Yoder, who guests on two tunes and would join the group for album number five), and the cover of Delaney Bramlett’s “Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham” is inspired. If Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside sounded like music for an acid-and-amphetamine-crazed Saturday night biker party, Blue Cheer is the stuff the same bikers would put on for a Sunday beer-and-weed cookout; it’s a more laid-back and relaxed effort, but it still rocks with a strong and steady roll. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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Blue Cheer – Blue Cheer [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1970) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - Blue Cheer [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1970) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: Blue Cheer [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1970
Size: ~ 382 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

After working with two monstrously loud guitar heroes, Leigh Stephens and Randy Holden, Blue Cheer wanted to pursue a more subtle musical direction, and on their fourth album, simply titled Blue Cheer, they followed the path of the first half of 1969’s New! Improved! Blue Cheer, featuring guitarist Bruce Stephens and keyboard man Ralph Burns Kellogg, instead of the power trio format they pioneered on their first two albums and the second half of New! Improved! with Holden. Drummer Paul Whaley had also dropped out of the band by album number four, with Norman Mayell taking over the traps and leaving bassist and singer Dickie Peterson as the only original member of Blue Cheer, all within two years of the release of Vincebus Eruptum. Given all these changes, it’s no wonder Blue Cheer sounds so much different than they did on the band’s first two LP’s, but so long as you’re not expecting the monolithic power of their earliest stuff, it’s a fun album that generates an impressive groove. Blue Cheer’s music was always rooted in the blues, but here the approach is less mutated and more organic, with a touch of boogie in the rhythms and enough swagger to keep this from sounding like country-rock, even if the tone is more rootsy and significantly less punishing. The raspy twang of Peterson’s vocals shows a lighter, more graceful touch here, though he still sounds good and gritty, and the interplay between Kellogg’s piano and organ and Stephens’ guitar work suggests some improbable but effective cross between the Band and Steppenwolf. And while Peterson didn’t contribute much to the songwriting on Blue Cheer, Stephens and Kellogg step up with some good tunes (as does Gary Yoder, who guests on two tunes and would join the group for album number five), and the cover of Delaney Bramlett’s “Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham” is inspired. If Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside sounded like music for an acid-and-amphetamine-crazed Saturday night biker party, Blue Cheer is the stuff the same bikers would put on for a Sunday beer-and-weed cookout; it’s a more laid-back and relaxed effort, but it still rocks with a strong and steady roll. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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Blue Cheer – BC #5 Original Human Being [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1970) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - BC #5 Original Human Being [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1970) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: BC #5 Original Human Being [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1970
Size: ~ 416 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

Even after cleaning up their act considerably on their self-titled fourth album, Blue Cheer sound positively slick (at least by their standards) on 1970’s The Original Human Being. Though Dickie Peterson was still up front on bass and vocals, guitarist Bruce Stephens had left the group and Gary Yoder, who had contributed to Blue Cheer, came aboard on six-strings and vocals, while drummer Norman Mayell expanded his role, playing occasional keyboards, guitar, and even sitar as Blue Cheer belatedly embraced their Eastern influences on “Babaji (Twilight Raga).” A horn section was brought in for “Good Times Are So Hard to Find,” “Preacher,” and “Love of a Woman,” and Ralph Burns Kellogg’s keyboards take an even larger role in the arrangements. The Original Human Being is the most polished and professional album of Blue Cheer’s career, and there’s a lean but muscular proto-boogie groove that infuses most of the album’s 11 songs, and the performances sound tight and well-focused throughout. However, tightness isn’t what made Blue Cheer a memorable band in the first place, and the cleaner approach doesn’t always flatter this music. The Original Human Being is at its best when the group lets their rougher side show, such as on Peterson’s slow blues wail “Man on the Run,” Kellogg’s country-flavored lament “Tears in My Bed,” the mean-spirited “Black Sun,” and the loose-limbed and surprisingly funky “Sandwich.” Most of the time, The Original Human Being feels as if Blue Cheer were trying to build on the lessons learned from their fourth album, but while that record hit just the right note, this one reaches just a bit too far, and it’s most pleasing when the players forget trying to impress us and just go for what feels right. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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Blue Cheer – New! Improved! [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1969) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - New! Improved! [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1969) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: New! Improved! [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1969
Size: ~ 313 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

Guitarist Leigh Stephens quit Blue Cheer after touring in support of their second album, Outsideinside, but he may have been amused by the fact it took three men to replace him when the band cut their next LP. There are two different and distinct bands at work on New! Improved! Blue Cheer; on the album’s first six tunes, founding members Dickie Peterson (bass and vocals) and Paul Whaley (drums) are joined by Bruce Stephens on guitar and Ralph Burns Kellogg on keyboards, and this lineup bears little musical resemblance to the wildly over-amped power trio that cut Vincebus Eruptum less than two years before. This new edition of Blue Cheer was still strongly influenced by the blues, but the raw physical impact of the band had been significantly buffered, and Bruce Stephens’ rootsy guitar work was in a completely different league from the old band’s bone-crushing onslaught. The gentle country-rock of “As Long as I Live” and the dynamic, percussive boogie of “When It All Gets Old” would have been inconceivable coming from Blue Cheer Mk. One, and while the notion of comparing them brings to mind that old clich about apples and oranges, Peterson’s vocals do reveal a lot more nuance on these recordings, and Whaley’s more tightly controlled drumming gives the band a lean groove they didn’t have before. On side two, Blue Cheer return to power trio format with Randy Holden (formerly of the Other Half) on guitar, and while his style is also considerably different from Leigh Stephens’, his fondness for overwhelming volume and fierce, extended solos makes his contributions feel a lot more like the group’s formative work; Peterson and Whaley also sound a lot more like their old selves here, calling up a thunderous report to match Holden’s thick but graceful leads, and if Blue Cheer are a more subtle and artful band with Holden on guitar, his contributions suggest an evolution from the towering proto-metal of Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside, rather than the dramatic stylistic departure of the album’s first half. Unfortunately, the possibilities suggested by Holden’s material went unrealized when he quit the band shortly after making New! Improved! Blue Cheer; with him they might have made another album that, unlike this mixed bag, would have lived up to the boast of the title. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1968) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1968) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: Vincebus Eruptum [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1968
Size: ~ 302 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

Rock & roll had grown louder and wilder by leaps and bounds during the ’60s, but when Blue Cheer emerged from San Francisco onto the national rock scene in 1968 with their debut album, Vincebus Eruptum, they crossed a line which most musicians and fans hadn’t even thought to draw yet. Vincebus Eruptum sounds monolithically loud and primal today, but it must have seemed like some sort of frontal assault upon first release; Blue Cheer are often cited as the first genuine heavy metal band, but that in itself doesn’t quite sum up the true impact of this music, which even at a low volume sounds crushingly forceful. Though Blue Cheer’s songs were primarily rooted in the blues, what set them apart from blues-rock progenitors such as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds was the massive physical force of their musical attack. Jimi Hendrix, the Who, and the MC5 may have anticipated the sound and fury of this music, but Blue Cheer’s secret was not just being louder than anyone else, but staying simple enough to give each member the space to do damage both as individuals and as a group. Paul Whaley’s drumming combined a crashing dustbin tone with a constant, rolling pummel that suggested Ginger Baker with less finesse and more bludgeoning velocity. Dickie Peterson’s basslines were as thick as tar and bubbled like primordial ooze as he bellowed out his lyrics with a fire and attitude that compensated for his lack of vocal range. And guitarist Leigh Stephens may have been the first genius of noise rock; Lester Bangs once wrote that Stephens’ “sub-sub-sub-sub-Hendrix guitar overdubs stumbled around each other so ineptly they verged on a truly bracing atonality,” and though that doesn’t sound like a compliment, the lumbering chaos of his roaring, feedback-laden leads birthed a more glorious monster than many more skillful players could conjure. Put them together, and Blue Cheer’s primal din was an ideal corrective for anyone who wondered if full-on rock & roll was going to have a place in the psychedelic revolution. 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. If you want to wake the neighbors, this is still the album to get, and it was Blue Cheer’s simplest and most forceful musical statement. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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Blue Cheer – Outsideinside [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1968) [CD FLAC]

Blue Cheer - Outsideinside [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017] (1968) [CD FLAC] Download

Artist: Blue Cheer
Album: Outsideinside [Mini LP SHM-CD Universal Japan 2017]
Genre: Rock
Year: 1968
Size: ~ 452 mb
Source: CD
Format: FLAC (image + .cue)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit

Description:

Blue Cheer’s debut album, Vincebus Eruptum, was widely and accurately described as “the loudest record ever made” when it first appeared in early 1968, and the band seemingly had the good sense to realize that for sheer brutal impact, there was little chance they could top it. So for their second LP, Outsideinside (which appeared a mere seven months later), rather than aim for something bigger and more decibel intensive, Blue Cheer decided to see how much polish they could add to their formula without blunting the skull-crushing force of their live attack. While Vincebus Eruptum was cut in simple and straightforward form with minimal overdubs, Outsideinside found Blue Cheer embracing the possibilities of the recording studio; Leigh Stephens overdubbed multiple guitar parts on several tunes, while the mix sends his leads flying around the room, though aggressive use of panning and the monstrous, fuzzy growl of his tone gets cleaned up on some tunes (check out the wah-wah solos on “Gypsy Ball”), though the results are still as gentle as a chainsaw. The engineering is friendlier to Paul Whaley’s drumming; his traps don’t sound as much like trash cans on these sessions, though the crude, phase shifting on “Just a Little Bit” remains gloriously amateurish. And if Dickie Peterson’s bass sounds just about the same, he got to spend more time on his vocals here, and his blustery howl communicates better this time. The opening cut, “Feathers from Your Tree,” also added a piano to the mix (which is somehow audible through the dozens of amps), while “Babylon” is almost funky in its lead-footed approximation of an R&B groove, and “The Hunter” is a broad but playful exercise in sexual swagger that, if nothing else, provided a lyrical conceit Kiss could use to more profitable effect nine years later. But if Outsideinside is cleaner, tighter, and more ambitious than Vincebus Eruptum, it’s still clearly the work of the same band, and Blue Cheer sound every bit as thunderous on their sophomore effort. If anything, this LP captures the psychedelic side of their musical personality with greater clarity than the blunt approach of the debut; Outsideinside doesn’t sound trippy so much as righteously buzzed, and the speedy roar of this the music is big enough that the legend that parts of this were so loud they had to be recorded outside seems not just plausible, but perfectly reasonable. – AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

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