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Good Times Are So Hard to Find: The History of Blue Cheer

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Album Review

Blue Cheer's massive contribution to the early evolution of American heavy metal exists entirely on their first two 1968 releases, Vincebus Eruptum and Outsideinside. While those initial releases charted admirably, critics largely ignored the band's loud, bluesy, psychedelic-tinged hard rock. The touchy-feely summer of love lasted a lot longer than three months and building heavy metal momentum in the States was a difficult affair. There resulted some lineup shifts, minor stylistic excursions, brief creative flourishes, more lineup changes, solo projects, half retirement, and reunion retreads. Some decent songs were recorded during that long descent and fortunately many of them were picked to grace the track list of Good Times Are So Hard to Find. Chief among them is the title cut and "Pilot" from 1970's Original Human Being. Other tracks from the group's eponymous release and 1971's Oh! Pleasant Hope have a boogie-down and MOR feel respectively that, while competent, contains hardly any of the group's original fire. Of course there are a few 1968 classics like the splendid "Out of Focus," "Parchment Farm," and the band's first (and only) big hit "Summertime Blues." Fans of '70s rock in its many forms might enjoy this 1990 retrospective, but metal historians need not worry about anything beyond Blue Cheer's first two offerings.

Customer Reviews

Good music is so Hard to Find

There is no doubting this is one seriously overlooked band. They have a pure sound that's so hard to find these days, and have clearly influenced many other bands. If you're looking for a band with flawless vocals, chizzled melodies, and something that sounds "nice," you're looking in the wrong place. This isn't to say Blue Cheer arn't any good; it is to say they are excellent. They posses a certain edge is not only what sets this band from others, but what sets their generation. In short, buy it

Solid hard rockin blues disc.

I've read alot of places that the band Blue Cheer was a forefather of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. They are not. Or, I should say that they are not any more than the Doors or iron butterfly are, or even the yardbirds for that matter. They are a very unpolished, grinding blues-rock band that made some good songs (3 very good in my opinion). but, at the end of the day, I wouldn't recomend this album to anyone who isn't a real classic rock junky. The music just doesn't have the staying power of some of their contemporaries. A re-masterring would be a start. if possible, a re-mixing from the original recordings would probably create an essential album for any music fan because there are some great sounds waiting to be released within these songs..

Sweet Comp!

I love this band and this is a great collection. Most classic rock fans know their cover of Summertime Blues, which is even more scuzzed up than the Who Live at Leeds version but there's other great songs here. I like every track on this album. Great heavy power trio sound. Blown away by Fruit and Icebergs--sounds like Cream!


Formed: 1967 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

San Francisco-based Blue Cheer was what, in the late '60s, they used to call a "power trio": Dickie Peterson (b. 1948, Grand Forks, ND) (bass, vocals), Paul Whaley (drums), and Leigh Stephens (guitar). They played what later was called heavy metal, and when they debuted in January 1968 with the album Vincebus Eruptum and a Top 40 cover of Eddie Cochran's hit "Summertime Blues," they sounded louder and more extreme than anything that had come before them. As it turned out, they were a precursor of...
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