Journalist/critic Ian MacDonald of felt that the whole song was sort of a gag. In a generally unfavorable appraisal of On The Beach
in Uncut, he wrote, "'Vampire Blues' is a joke over churning out albums about anything. It starts with a guitar-intro reminiscent of the Stones on a typical 'album-filler'... and proceeds into a mock-fumbling, mock nod-out 12-bar guying the mandatory macho blues with which all second-raters pad their albums out over there in the US of A."
The general view of journalists and critics has been less condemnatory than MacDonald's. While it's rarely cited as a highlight of Young's career, "Vampire Blues" is generally usually considered an interesting, if somewhat mediocre, part of Young's vast catalog. Marc Weingarten of Guitar World
called it, "Young's most pointedly political statement since 'Ohio