Brown Acid by Various ArtistsRelease date: July 15, 2022
Label: RidingEasy Records
The stereo is cranked up and out bursts the hollering cries of ”play it cool”, ”let’s go and make some more love”, ”gotta get high”, ”jamming all night long’” over fuzzy riffs, enthusiastic guitar solos, and rattling drum beats. This must mean it’s another assembled collection of incredibly rare heavy psych and proto-rock ‘n’ metal blasts from the late sixties and early seventies. Lovingly curated by RidingEasy Records head honcho Daniel Hall and L.A. retailers Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi for their always enjoyable Brown Acid series. In fact, individually, these songs are always so rare in their original vinyl form, it’s rather amazing how Daniel and Lance ever got to hear of them in the first place, let alone find the ever-growing older creators of these rare gems for licensing purposes.
For the 14th trip, there was never going to be any sea change and thankfully there isn’t. It is therefore, another continuous flow of rock songs that invoke simpler times – way before the ocean deep size of sub-genres that have been thrown into rock and metal’s whirlpool over the decades. Across the 14th trip, Californian sun, freeways, shades, naïve dreams and hedonistic good times are all invoked. The whole album shimmers with big sunny American summers and a truckload of enthusiastic spirit that transport you back to a time long gone. Every song has a wonderful optimistic naivety about them, that you can even forgive the drum solo on Raven’s (not the NWOBHM Geordie boys) ‘Raven Mad Jam’.
The hip shaking groover ‘Fever Games’ by The Legends kicks off the (gasp) 14th throwback trip. Namechecking Jimi Hendrix and his ”hypnotic spell”, it is astonishing to learn that this was a B side to their second single. And there are many genuine moments of surprise as to why some of these songs and bands are not better known. Take, for example, the opening guitar lick on Mijal & White’s ‘I’ve Been You’ stands shoulder to shoulder with their heroes and peers that got these rockers to pick up their musical instruments in the first place and no doubt had wide-eyed rock star dreams. It’s a fun slice of garage psych supplemented by some Moog experimental splatterings. There is even traces of southern rock in Liquid Blue’s ‘Henry Can’t Drive’. You can totally understand why the modern-day retro-rock scene exists, whose main aim is to capture some of the raw fun production values from those times, which are on display here.
Volume 14 is a consistent and thoroughly enjoyable romp throughout. It automatically brings a longing surge for me to be able to grow my hair long again – a bit like the many members of these once wannabe rockers – it’s all now a pipe dream. But, this marvellous Brown Acid series relives these long over-looked gems, which can now be enjoyed today with decades of hindsight, a warming sense of nostalgia, and a deeper knowledge of rock’s formative years. Long may the series continue.