It would’ve been really easy for the Brown Acid compilation series to go the way of many, many others in either becoming academic retreads or simply fizzling out. Much to its credit, it’s done neither. Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip, out April 20 via RidingEasy Records, is as the title suggests the fourth installment in the collection focused on the years immediately following the heyday of psychedelia — circa 1970-1975 — which it has alternately called the “comedown era” or, as on the cover here, the “Underground Comedown.”
Whatever the name given, it’s that vision of the early ’70s that we see Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke explain in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: the darker years that followed in the wake of the Summer of Love when the war kept going and distortion got meatier. Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip basks in this vibe in the heavy blues of “Carry Me On” by Headstones and “Oceans Inside Me” by Stone Garden and groups included like Bungi, Axas and Zekes — the latter who are making their second appearance in the series with the eight-minute, cowbell-infused, Leaf Hound-style raw jam “Comin’ Back” at the outset of side B — set up a flow across the 10-track/35-minute LP span that’s as much about feeding one groove into the next as it is giving its audience of the converted among the converted a “betcha never heard this before” challenge. To wit, the full tracklisting:
VA, Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip:
01. Kanaan, “Leave It”
02. Stone Garden, “Oceans Inside Me”
03. Headstones, “Carry Me On”
04. Wrath, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fever”
05. Bungi, “Numbers”
06. Erving Forbush, “The Train”
07. Zekes, “Comin’ Back” (previously unreleased)
08. Bad Axe, “Coachman”
09. Ash, “Warrant”
10. Axas, “Lucifer”
As ever for Brown Acid, the prevailing sensibility throughout is one of careful curation made to sound like someone’s just putting on rad singles they found one after the other, like a DJ set where the guy actually out-obscures the room instead of just putting on Atomic Rooster‘s “Death Walks Behind You” and desperately looking around for knowing nods of approval. Working in tandem with Los Angeles’ Permanent Records, RidingEasy sets up these rarities not to show them off as trophy acquisitions, and not as lessons for their audience in the origins of riffs — because damn it, by now the audience for this stuff knows where riffs come from — but as explorations of cool heavy vibes and songs that kick ass.
I’m not even sure how, but Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip manages to be the heavy ’70s “lost tracks” comp that doesn’t come across as self-important or over-inflating in terms of its celebration of its contents. Nobody’s claiming the wah-soaked leads of Kanaan‘s “Leave It” invented anything. Nobody’s shying away from how much Axas‘ “Lucifer” owes directly to Black Sabbath‘s “N.I.B.” All that stuff is right there for the listener to hear. Whether it’s the motor-chug of Wrath on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fever” (they have pills for it now), or the crotch-thrust boogie of Erving Forbush‘s “The Train,” the progression of songs wants neither in energy nor flow, and that only serves to emphasize the underlying effort put into making this chapter in the apparently-ongoing series. They make it sound easy. One doubts it actually is.
To herald the comp’s arrival — again, on April 20 — RidingEasy and Ben Westbeech have put together a 12-minute sampler platter of what’s in store on Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip, and today I have the pleasure of unveiling the thing, which runs through the included tracks and ties them together with old biker-movie samples (which are not actually featured on the comp itself). You can check it out in its entirety below, followed by more info from RidingEasy off the PR wire about the process of making this beast happen.
Hope you enjoy:
If you thought we were getting close to the end of the Brown Acid series with our last Trip, you were dead wrong…we’re only just getting rolling. The well of privately released hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal 45s is deep and we are nowhere near tapped out. Most of these records were barely released and never properly distributed so they ain’t easy to find, but they’re out there if you’re willing to dig…and we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. Hard calluses have formed from handling the shovel and we’ve sifted through a lot of dirt, but we’ve dug up another ten tremendous records to share with all the heavy heads out there. This volume brings together eight insanely rare and skull-crushingly heavy 45s as well as two previously unreleased bangers.
You may remember the Zekes’ jaw dropper “Box” from the First Trip. If you don’t, you better go back and refresh your memory, you stoner. That song rips! And so does this previously unheard recording we legally obtained from the Beverly Hills records vaults. “Comin’ Back” is the longest tune we’ve yet to include on this series and it’s a full-on rager! The only surviving copy of this recording came to us on the original 1/4″ master tape from Hollywood’s long-defunct Demars & Duffy Music. We did our best to preserve the recording and we think you’ll appreciate the rawness.
There have been numerous groups named Bad Axe over the years, but the one you hear here is the baddest. This five-piece fresh outta high school kicked out this jam (and a few others) in a Chicago studio in 1973 just for the hell of it. As a garage band, they were previously named The Burlington Express and they went on to be known as Bitch, but these dudes hit their stride as Bad Axe and “Coachman” is their crowning achievement. It went completely unreleased until 2014 when Permanent Records issued it and “Poor Man, Run” as a limited edition 45 with a killer picture sleeve. It’s long out-of-print and only obtainable now on Brown Acid.
The rest of the records included on this volume vary in rarity, but at least two of them were virtually unknown until we discovered them. You’ll win the lottery before you find copies of all of the original 45s in even the best record stores. Many of the records included in this volume are owned only by the members of the bands and some of the band members don’t even have personal copies. That’s just how hard these guys hit it back in the day! We’re lucky some of these guys are still alive and well enough to give us permission to use their masters.Ash, Axas, Bad Axe, Brown Acid, Brown Acid The Fourth Trip, Bungi, California, Erving Forbush, Headstones, Kanaan, RidingEasy Records, Stone Garden, Various Artists, Various Artists Brown Acid The Fourth Trip, Wrath, Zekes