BLUE CHEER

"Live at Rockpalast - Bonn 2008" (MIG Music; 2017)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This live recording from 2008 is proof positive that Blue Cheer was one great band.

This double-CD/single DVD set is loaded with old tracks and new, ranging from the band's impressive cover of Mose Allison's "Parchment Farm" -- a tune they originally recorded on their very first album -- to more current material such as "Rollin Dem Bones." And it all sounds great. The band is raw and aggressive and the live version of their most popular hit, "Summertime Blues," is the heaviest you've ever heard.

The CDs included in this set are terrific on their own, solid slabs of rock'n'roll power. But the real prize here is the included DVD, which is one of the best-directed live recordings I've seen. The many, many angles and the razor-sharp editing come together to put you right there on stage. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

One of the biggest rock regrets in my life is that Blue Cheer were playing at a club in Santa Barbara many years ago and I was invited to attend. I didn't and, hence, I never got the chance to see the band live. This is as close as I'm every likely to get, especially since Richard "Duckie" Peterson died in 2009 -- just a year or so after this concert was recorded -- and the band disbanded permanently.

Blue Cheer: Dickie Peterson, Andrew 'Duck' MacDonald, Paul Whaley.

For more information, check out http://www.bluecheer.us

"What Doesn't Kill You" (Rainman; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Ever wonder what Black Sabbath crossed with ZZ Top might sound like? If so, Blue Cheer have the answer with their brilliant "What Doesn't Kill You." What's even more amazing: Blue Cheer aren't just some band emulating the classic sound of the early days of heavy metal. No, they were actually there at the beginning. The band's first album was released nearly 40 years ago and some say they are the fathers of modern stoner rock.

Yeah, there have been some line-up changes over the years but, unless you know in advance, you'd never guess that a band almost four decades old is behind "What Doesn't Kill You." The music is lively and sharp, the musicianship incredible, and the songwriting, like most great stoner music, retro but modern. I've only heard the band's previous hits and have not explored their substantial catalog (which I plan to do now) so I can't tell you how this CD compares to the band's previous work. But I can tell you this: "What Doesn't Kill You" stands on its own as a great record. It wouldn't matter if this were the band's first CD or their most recent.

In addition to the awesome musicianship (what would you expect for a band that's been around as long as Blue Cheer?), the production on this CD is another star, giving the bluesy music a heavy backdrop that supports, rather than smothers, the kick-ass solos here. And, not only are the band obviously hugely talented musicians, but they've got an energy and charisma that gives "What Doesn't Kill You" even more power.

A stunningly terrific album from a legendary band, "What Doesn't Kill You" will appeal to fans not only of Blue Cheer but of bands such as Queen of the Stone Age, Fu Manchu and others.

Blue Cheer: Dickie Peterson, Andrew 'Duck' MacDonald, Paul Whaley.

For more information, check out http://www.bluecheer.us

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

 

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Copyright 2017 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.