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

It’s that time of the year again. Every stoner & weedian’s favorite holiday. 4/20. This also means another installment of RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records, at-this-point, fabled Brown Acid series. Hard to believe this is now The Fourteenth Trip, but that’s how time seems to be moving these days. Brown Acid has gone on to join other legendary singles compilations like the Nuggets comp for garage rock/psychedelic stuff, or the Back From The Gravegarage punk series as must-haves for music nerds, and audiophiles.

Brown Acid - The Fourteenth Trip

The series history has been well-covered, including here at The Sleeping Shaman as recently as RidingEasy’s other favorite holiday: Halloween, but the Cliff Notes version is Lance Barresi co-owner of LA’s Permanent Records, and RidingEasy Records Daniel Hall, have joined forces with the mission of digging up as much of the weird, out-of-print, long-lost, Twilight Zone era of rock & roll as they can mine. The post-hippy, pre-punk, proto-metal, garage rock, heavy psych, bombed-out era that existed between 1968-1976. Most of the artists featured in the Brown Acid series 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 hopes of landing a record deal. So, this is where Barresi and Hall toil, attempting to excavate all these long-lost jams.

Every one of the Brown Acid ‘trips’ has been good-to-great, so I wasn’t really worried about what lay within these grooves, and as usual, I wasn’t disappointed, as another platter of exhumed proto-metal, heavy psych, and garage rock goodies are served up. The Legends Fever Games opens this ‘trip’, as well as being the first single, with a Hendrix-ian guitar wash before the band actually name check the man himself, as well as Janis Joplin and Dickie Peterson. Clearly The Legends Fever Dreams in 1969 involved the era’s fuzzed-out, heavy hitters. Mijal & White get their freakout on, with I’ve Been You, a 1973 Moog-infused, heavy psychedelic rocker.

Dickie Peterson & Blue Cheer’sinfluence was perhaps felt in more than just heavy, fuzzed out riffs as The Fourteenth Trip features two bands with ‘blue’ in their name. Liquid Blue offers up a riffin, Texas rocker, complete with blazing solos, with Henry Can’t Drive, while West Virginia’s Blue Creed offers up a grimier, dirtier, more menacing sound, with Need A Friend as allegedly band leader and coal miner Bill Rexroad (if that’s not a 70’s proto-metal name I don’t know what is) sought a unique sound by setting up the guitar speakers in oil drums. This was a favorite of mine. 

Brown Acid delivers another fun, killer slab of long lost proto-metal, garage, psychedelic rockers and freakouts…

Elsewhere, Michigan’s San Francisco Trolley Co. get some high-octane, manic riffing garnished with sax flourishes on the rockin, Detroit-style Signs. This is followed by my favorite track onthe compilation Transfer’s proto-punk, Play it Cool featuring a driving beat, and a killer, heavy-garage, main single-note riff. The kind of riff that will stay in your head all day. In fact, this track is straight-up catchy as-fuck, and totally cool. Hard to imagine if this track had wound up in the right hands, this could’ve perhaps been a hit in 1974. It’s that catchy. Appletree’s You’re Not The Only Girl (I’m Out To Get) features a fairly heavy main riff, and Cox’s Army has a real heavy, garage rock feel, reminiscent of other acts of the day like The Sonics with I’m Tired.

However, the crown jewel, if not my favorite, of The Fourteenth Trip is Raven’s (not to be confused with the wacko, hockey-gear-wearing, post-NWOBHM lunatics from Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK. This Raven is a one-man project, as I understand it, from Columbus, Ohio) eight-minute-plus Raven Mad Jam which sounds exactly like the song title. A heavy, driving, rock & roll freakout that features a drum solo, and some trippy, strumming, guitar outro, over which the one-man Raven keeps suggesting ‘Let’s go make love, let’s go make some more love’ repeatedly as the song fades out.

Just like the previous thirteen ‘trips’, Brown Acid delivers another fun, killer slab of long lost proto-metal, garage, psychedelic rockers and freakouts. This has turned into an essential series for fans of stoner/doom, and late 60s/early 70s-style rock in general, and the care in which Barresi and Hall take in compiling and curating these releases is an obvious labor of love. I‘ll look forward to Halloween and The Fifteenth Trip. Keep ‘em coming.

Label: RidingEasy Records | Permanent Records

Scribed by: Martin Williams