Review: Various Artists ‘Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip’

It’s hard to believe that this is the 10th instalment of the Brown Acid series, which is a collaborative effort between Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records (home of The Well, Here Lies Man, Holy Serpent etc) and Lance Barresi, co-owner of LA retailer Permanent Records. These two have been helping to bring to the surface some of the more obscure music from the 60s and 70s. Genre wise the compilations tend to focus on heavy psych, acid rock, hard rock and proto metal.

Various Artists ‘Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip’

This tenth instalment features cover art reflecting the era, a saucy picture of a naked hippy chick at what looks to be at a Woodstock style festival. Far out.

Sounds Synonymous, who open the record with their track Tensions, were an outfit from Michigan whose sound is heavily fuzz laden. There is some Arthur Brown eccentricity mixed in with some Hendrix guitar histrionics. Not a bad way to start the album. Ralph Williams And The Wright Brothers come up next with their track Never Again from 1972. Man does this thing groove; the main riff is awesome. This is classic early 70s hard rock, if ya dig the proto stoner vibes of Leafhound, then this will be right up your street.

Next up is Louisville, Kentucky quartet Conception who revise Blue Cheer’s Babylon and up the tempo making it their own. Years spent in Lancaster listening to street buskers faithfully reproduce the likes of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel tunes to the letter have meant that when I hear a cover done in a more enlightened and interesting way then I’ll sit up and take notice, as done here.

Atlanta, Georgia outfit Bitter Creek come up next with their track Plastic Thunder which was placed at #6 by Guitar World Magazine as one of the heaviest tunes before Black Sabbath. Despite the heaviness, there is a Who style anthemic feel, rendering it an interesting listen. The Rubber Memory come on board with the longest track on the compilation All Together. This is a pretty cool number, think a fuzzier and funkier War Pigs and you’re in the right ballpark.

As with other albums in the Brown Acid series this is invaluable to me, and anyone else with a fascination for hard rock of the late 60s/early 70s…

Over the halfway mark and we’re greeted by First State Bank‘s Mr. Sun, there is a ZZ Top feel which seeing as the band were from the same state (Texas), should come as no surprise. The bluesy feel of the track could be lifted straight from ZZ’s Tres Hombres album and vocally resembles Billy Gibbons too. Nova Scotia, Canada’s Brothers And One have one of the odder tracks on the album. Hard On Me has a distinctly Glam feel to it which despite my dislike of that genre, has a decent driving bluesy feel.

Tucson quartet Frozen Sun were clearly fans of Jimi Hendrix as their track Electric Soul demonstrates. At just over 2 minutes this is a short but sweet touching tribute to Jimi. Penultimate track The Roach by The Brood is up next and is a bluesy tribute to weed. Musically a gnarly rocker with some influences from the underrated Steppenwolf, which I can get behind. Closing the compilation is Denver quartet Tabernash and their track Head Collect which mixes the mad drumming of Keith Moon with the vocal harmonies of The Byrds resulting in some effective psych rock.

As with other albums in the Brown Acid series this is invaluable to me, and anyone else with a fascination for hard rock of the late 60s/early 70s. There is some nice musical variety on here, enough to pique your interest but not drive you away.

Label: RidingEasy Records

Scribed by: Reza Mills