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

The Brown Acid series, something which started as a way of showcasing some unique, and all together incredible musical rarities, is now hitting its eleventh outing, and it looks like there’s no sign of stopping any time soon. Main collaborators, who have been assembling the whole series, are Lance Barresi, co-owner of Permanent Records, and Daniel Hall, of RidingEasy Records, who have been scouring the earth together for some downright incredible tunes.

Various Artists ‘Brown Acid: The Eleventh Trip’

It’s a collection of long forgotten, through the passage of time, tunes from the nineteen sixties and seventies, that really needed hearing again. Made up of B-sides and long forgotten oddities, if a retro trip is your kind of thing, then this is the perfect collection for you, and if you don’t already know of the Brown Acid series, it hopefully will encourage you to take a bigger step, and dive in deeper.

As a child of the seventies, I was brought up on a steady mix of prog, bands such as Genesis and Pink Floyd, courtesy of my father, and a mind numbingly bad selection of pop tripe, everything from Leo Sayer to Abba, thanks to my mum. So, for me, none of the Brown Acid catalogue would have even been on my radar, and I therefore had no awareness of any of it, so to be getting some education in it now is absolutely incredible.

Obviously, as I’ve gotten older, the classics have found their way in to my life, and I hold bands and artists such as The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Janis Joplin, very close to my heart indeed. One of my heaviest loves though, is for mister Jimi Hendrix, and this collection, is where I can draw the closest comparison for pretty much all of the tunes held on Brown Acid: The Eleventh Trip. There’s a heady mix of rock, a little funk, and some moments of complete lunacy over the ten tracks, and to go in to them all closely will take far too much of your time, so I will summarise somewhat, pulling out the bits that really grabbed me, with the hope that it will inspire you to jump in, and come along for the ride.

Right from opener, Adam Wind, and his nineteen sixty-nine track Something Else, straight away it’s clear where this whole affair is going. It’s reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s classic Voodoo Chile, the guitar work is somewhat free flow, with a cool groove to it, and a certain ‘superfly’ vibe. Track two, Grump, with I’ll Give You Love catches my attention, it has a raw soul vibe going on, and the gravelly vocal over the funky guitar work, is super cool.

Bagshot Row hits me again with its Hendrix style on Turtle Wax Blues, but what I’m especially taken with is the vibe on the guitar work, as it sparks the comparison to Jamie Hince of The Kills style of playing, super cool, and extremely interesting.

Through playing this compilation, there are two tracks that really tickle my fancy, so to speak. The first of those is Renaissance Fair with their nineteen sixty-eight track In Wyrd. It’s a slightly unhinged track, fuzzy, with a hectic guitar style, and raspy vocals. At times it’s actually quite punk rock in style, and definitely feels ahead of its time on the musical landscape. It’s like an unrefined The Doors, especially the vocal, which is comparable to Jim Morrison at his most chaotic.

[Renaissance Fair is] like an unrefined The Doors, especially the vocal, which is comparable to Jim Morrison at his most chaotic…

The second track that really grabs me, is album closer Crazy Jerry, and Every Girl Gets One. There’s the running theme of a telephone conversation, where it feels like Crazy Jerry is wooing one lucky lady down the telephone line. His outrageous statements are being met with responses from the unsuspecting woman, but the payoff is coming. It’s as dark as it is funky, the crunchy guitars are matched by jazzy key playing, and as it breaks down toward the end, it’s a real cheeky little piece, which actually closes the album really nicely.

But before Crazy Jerry sees us out, there’s plenty more quality to immerse yourself in.

Day Break change things up a little, with their uber cool Just Can’t Say, a cheeky little nod towards Bad Company’s style. It’s a little different to the rest of the album, but a nice interlude, that’s for sure. West Minst’r are a funky little addition, and the track I Want You, with its chunky sounding synth’s, and driving rhythms. It’s overlaid with another raspy vocal, it’s really unique, and a welcome addition to the collection.

Debb Johnson have us Dancing In The Ruin, and this again is draped in Jimi Hendrix comparisons, with its funky acid jazz rock. This brings us swiftly round to the last two bands on Brown Acid’s eleventh trip roster, Larry Lynn, and his Diamond Lady, and Zendrik, with their Mom’s Apple Pie Boy. Both equally different, but both unified by this compilation.

Larry Lynn, with its rumbling bass, wailing guitars, and funk feel, is in complete parallel to Zendrik. For the latter, it’s a heavier piece, definitely a statement for what was going on at the time in America. Its urgency makes it far more potent, and less groove driven as the remainder of this compilation, but its inclusion is just as welcome.

As I stated very early on in this review, I’m a child of the seventies, I was born in nineteen seventy-four, so by then all of this music had been released, in one way or another. Sometimes as B-sides for singles, sometimes as stand alones, but the one thing they all have in common is that, through the passage of time, they’ve all been pretty much forgotten. That’s why the Brown Acid series is so relevant, as to move forward, we do need to look back, at what’s come before, and take note.

The hope now is that this series continues to grow, and expand, and that so many other classics get rediscovered for a whole new audience, as without them, these rarities could well be gone forever. As I finish this review, with these tunes still fresh in my mind, and my ears, my quest for knowledge is about to continue, RidingEasy website, here I come…

Label: RidingEasy Records

Scribed by: Lee Beamish