Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New! Improved!

One from the vinyl vaults that I like to put on the turntable now and again is Blue Cheer's 3rd album, New! Improved! Blue Cheer, released in 1969 on Philips Records.

This record represents a change of line-up for the band, with the departure of guitarist Leigh Stephens for Randy Holden and Bruce Stephens taking over guitar duties. In a sense, the record is one of two bands, with all of Randy Holden's tracks on side two and Bruce Stephens on side one. Randy Holden's tenure with the band was a short one, lasting about a year and represented on only three tracks on this album. Two of those tracks are Blue Cheer classics, written and sung by Holden, with long, sonic solos on both. Side one is pretty good too, much more polished than the "Summertime Blues" sound on Vincebus Eruptum. Holden wasn't particularly happy with his time in the band however, feeling that the band's chaotic lifestyle and drug dependencies left little to no time for it to rehearse and work together as a cohesive unit. Blue Cheer would go on to make more records and tour without Randy Holden.

I got my copy used a couple years back. It's clear by the cover that it had a long history sharing space with any manner of bongs, beer, cigarettes and shag carpeting. Still, the vinyl inside is in fine shape and sounds great. Attached is their take on a Bob Dylan classic with Dick Peterson, Paul Whaley, Bruce Stephens and Burns Kellogg in the line-up.

Back cover for my copy, tape and all.

No comments:

Post a Comment