Review: Various Artists ‘Brown Acid The Eighteenth Trip’

Spring is in the air, and with that we can count on warmer weather, everyone’s favorite, annual stoner holiday, and another installment, or ‘trip’, from RidingEasy Records with the now, long-running and legendary Brown Acid series. As we’ve chronicled here at The Sleeping Shaman, the series consists of long lost, proto-metal, proto-punk, garage rock, heavy psych, and heavy funk from the ‘comedown’ period of American post-Woodstock, pre-punk rock and roll underground, between the years of 1968 and 1976.

Various Artists 'Brown Acid - The Eighteenth Trip' Artwork
Various Artists ‘Brown Acid – The Eighteenth Trip’ Artwork

Brown Acid is the brainchild of Lance Barresi co-owner of LA’s Permanent Records, and RidingEasy Records Daniel Hall, who joined forces with the mission of digging up as much of the weird, out-of-print, long-lost, music from this Twilight Zone era of rock and roll as they can mine. Most of the artists featured never released full-lengths, the only documentation of their existence being a 45, perhaps self-financed, sent to local radio stations, and/or labels in the hopes of landing a record deal. So, this is where Barresi and Hall toil, attempting to excavate as much of these wayward jams as they can possibly find.

Every single ‘trip’ on the compilations has been pretty fucking awesome, not a single one of them has been a dud in any way, which speaks to both Barresi and Hall’s tastes, and their sheer determination to find this stuff in the first place. As with every previous ‘trip’ we open with a banger, and here, this rolling, rollicking rocker Bridge Waters Dynamite from St. Louis’ long-forgotten Back Jack and this jam packs a punch, featuring some wicked ‘70s shred, some cool bass-noodles, and boss rock vocals.

Clearly, The Smokin’ Baku Band had Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut on repeat when they got together, as both the main riff, and the ‘hey baby’ that open Hot Love are practically lifted note-for-note from Communication Breakdown, the difference being the utterly fucked up, grimy sonics unleashed by these guys, including one of the gnarliest, damaged-ass bass tones that I’ve ever heard. Baltimore’s Atlantis in turn unleash one of the weirdest songs in the entire Brown Acid series with Moby Shark, a weird, proto-punky, psychedelic number, boasting slightly menacing guitar action and one of the most earworm, kooky, chorus’ I’ve encountered yet.

a rocking, organ-infused, prog, pysch, rock and roll mindfuck of the highest order…

Tommy Stuart & The Rubberband’s Peeking Through Your Window is an organ infused creeper, while Ripped Off from The Chicago Triangle charges through your speakers with a sleazy rock riff, plenty of fuzzy shred, pissed off lyrics, and some cowbell-clanking for good measure. Parchment Farm’s Songs Of The Dead is a nice, heavy riffer which is followed by one of my favorite tracks on The Eighteenth Trip by Glory, aka Damnation Of Adam Blessing, entitled Nightmare that’s a rocking, organ-infused, prog, pysch, rock and roll mindfuck of the highest order. I mean, look at the band’s name for Christ’s sake, and it sounds exactly like one would imagine with that moniker.

In fact, the back half of The Eighteenth Trip is exceptionally strong as Dalquist’s Farewell To The Dreamer is next and is a tripped-out, rhythmic, psych-rocker featuring some pretty weird, ‘70s vocals, while the penultimate Realize by The Pawnbrokers is another post-hippy, heavy blues, rock and roll freak out, but for this reviewer, the highest praise is saved for Rockin’ Chair, a 1975, long-lost gem from Chicago’s Brothers Of The Ghetto. This jam is a killer, psychedelic, heavy funk vibe, featuring some stellar rhythm action, awesome, wacka-wacka funk guitar, wicked organ flourishes and soulful vocals. There’s not much I dig more than heavy, 70’s funk and Brothers Of The Ghetto proffered the real deal here.

As noted, every single ‘trip’ on the Brown Acid series has been good-to-great, but the back half of The Eighteenth Trip alone puts this among the best as it possesses some of the coolest and most eclectic songs unearthed yet. This series will end eventually one would think, but it’s a safe bet that RidingEasy Records will be unleashing another trip come this fall, and as always, this was a fun release and any fan of the series, or heavy underground rock from that era in general will most certainly enjoy this.

Label: RidingEasy Records | Permanent Records

Scribed by: Matthew Williams