ARTIST: Blue Cheer
TITLE: Vincebus Erputum
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #11
SINGLES: Summertime Blues (#14)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Parchment Farm
LINEUP: Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens, Paul Whaley
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Loud, stoned band records loud album to listen to when stoned. Surprisingly it becomes a hit.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A loud, feral version of “Summertime Blues” (the Eddie Cochran song) somehow becomes a #14 hit. This was the next step up from garage band music and the electric blues and bands like Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf were exploring (along with some elements of the Who, Cream and others in the UK). Volume was the key.
And volume they gave. The blues were the basis, but volume was the main driver to the band. Guitarist Leigh Stephens used his amplification and distortion like a cudgel, hitting the listener over the head with pure force. Backed by bassist Dickie Peterson and drummer Paul Whaley, Stephens cranked it up. The other two weren’t shy in the sound department either.
Peterson was the ringleader, the singer, and the main lover of the blues (and of LSD and other substances). His vocals (more of shouts kinda following a melody of sorts) added to the noise equation.
Songs? Well, covering BB King, Eddie Cochran, and Mose Allison (no matter the volume and lack of finesse) shows good taste, and the originals are also loud and lumpen (though I kinda dig “Out of Focus” as it’s somewhat concise). This is more an artifact of proto-metal than anything, and most of us aren’t stoned enough to make sense of anything but the loudness.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was already the third (!) lineup of blue cheer, as they started as a trio, changed drummers, then beefed up to a six-piece before shedding the three that just came on board within months (including Peterson’s brother Jerre).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A remaster with one outtake.
GRADE B: It’s loud, and not horrible, and deserves a place in rock history for being the first to be so loud and popular (beating Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly by a few months…)