Review: Various Artist ‘Brown Acid – The Seventeenth Trip’

It’s now the time of year when there’s a chill in the air, the leaves are changing, horror movie marathons are in effect, and people are gorging on candy. As well, Halloween means yet another installment of RidingEasy Records long-running Brown Acid compilations. A series that has been well documented in The Sleeping Shaman’s hollowed pages, but for the newcomer, I’ll offer a brief history.

Various Artist 'Brown Acid - The Seventeenth Trip' Artwork
Various Artist ‘Brown Acid – The Seventeenth Trip’ Artwork

Lance Barresi, co-owner of LA’s Permanent Records along with RidingEasy Records Daniel Hall, have joined together on an seemingly never-ending expedition to dig up as much out-of-print, long lost, acid rock, garage rock, heavy psych and proto-metal singles from the ‘comedown era’ of rock and roll between 1968-1976 as they can unearth. Most of the artists featured never released full length albums, 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, but as often is the case, they instead wound up being lost to the annals of time.

The Seventeenth Trip, like all the previous sixteen ‘trips’, serves up another batch of good-to-great rock and roll from that era. Opener Ethereal Genesis by Grapple is a trippy, organ-infused, fuzzy, heavy psych rocker, complete with of-the-era ‘ahhhh’s’ from 1969, while Image’s Witchcraft 71 (great year!) is perfect for Halloween as it’s a spooky riffer with some world class early ‘70s chanting, coupled with delicious, fuzzed-out shredding, and some wild, swamp-freak outs. Stone Hedge’s 1972 ode to everyone’s favorite U.S. Forest Service mascot, Smokey The Bear is an organ-drenched, kinda funky, War-esque stomper complete with plenty of foot-stomping cowbell.

Crossfire’s I Gotta Move is a hip-shakin’ boogie-rocker from 1975, while any fan worth their weight in early 70’s proto-metal and heavy psych will recognize Primevil as their sole LP, 1974’s Smokin’ Bats At Campton’s, is a must-have. Here, they offer up a single from 1972, Too Dead To Live, which is way less menacing than the title would suggest as it’s complete with harmonica-skronks aplenty, but is a cool artifact nonetheless. PegasusReady To Rave from 1972 is a rip-roarin’ rocker featuring perhaps the best line on the entire record with this gem, ‘I like my whiskey cold and my women hot’.

every single one of these releases is a treat, and The Seventeenth Trip is no exception…

Bobby Mabe & The Outcast deliver one of my favorites from this ‘trip’ with the Texas, garage-psych of 1969’s I’m Lonely, which boasts some authoritative vocals and killer organ action, as well as perhaps the best garage rock guitar tone on this collection. Another band proto-metal fans should recognize is Truth & Janey as their 1976 release No Rest For The Wicked is a jewel in the crown of obscure ‘70s heavy rock. Here, they give us their take on Chuck Berry’s Around And Around from 1973 when the band was known simply as Truth which they took from Jeff Beck’s album of the same name.

Glory, from San Diego, and featuring Iron Butterfly’s rhythm section, deliver the goods with 1973’s rockin’, soaring , High School Letter, but it’s the 1978 closer, Jack The Ripper from Strychnine that steals the show, as it’s an aggressive, malevolent, proto-punk ripper, featuring some killer ‘70s shred, predictable, yet awesome handclaps and snarling, glass-eating, vocals that bring this ‘trip’ to a close on a vicious note.

Man, it’s pretty crazy that RidingEasy Records have now dropped seventeen records in their Brown Acid series, but every single one of these releases is a treat, and The Seventeenth Trip is no exception. We’ll now be looking forward to spring, and 4/20 for the inevitable release of The Eighteenth Trip, to see what other rock and roll artifacts Daniel and Lance unearth next.

Label: RidingEasy Records | Permanent Records

Scribed by: Matthew Williams