BROWN ACID: THE SIXTH TRIP.
Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip.
Label: Riding Easy Records.
In 2013, Easy Rider Records was formed in the small, sleepy town of Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, and over the next year the nascent label released thirty-one releases on a variety of different formats. These releases proved popular, and by December 2014, everything was going well for this young, up-and-coming label until they opened their mail a week before Christmas 2014. That was when the owners of Easy Rider Records discovered that they had been served with a cease and desist letter from lawyers acting on behalf of Easyriders Magazine. This was a huge blow, and ruined the festive season for the staff of Easy Rider Records who wondered what the future held for the label?
Gold who were formed in San Francisco’s Mission district in 1969, open Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip with No Parking, which was the title-track to their debut album. It was released later in 1969, but wasn’t a commercial success, and nowadays, original copies of No Parking are almost impossible to find. Fortunately, No Parking was rereleased in 1996, and a new audience discovered the album. One of the highlights of the album is the title-track No Parking, which is a dark, dramatic and vampish hard rocking proto-metal track. There’s even a nod to The Who as Gold combine elements of music and theatre during a track that features blistering guitar licks that are played at breakneck speed.
By 1968 Canadian rockers Heat Exchange had been locked away in the studio recording tracks for their debut album for the best part of a year. As a result, Heat Exchange hadn’t played live for over a year, and were needing to raise their profile before releasing their debut album which was going to be called Reminiscence. Heat Exchange decided to choose the most commercial sounding song, which they would release as a single. Eventually, they settled on Can You Tell Me which they hoped would prove popular on FM radio and give the band a hit single. While the song attracted an audience in several Canadian cities, it wasn’t a hit single and Reminiscence wasn’t released until 2017. Maybe things would’ve been different if Heat Exchange had they chosen the B-Side Inferno which is one of the band’s finest hours, and sounds as if it’s been influenced by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience?
Just like Heat Exchange, Travis only released the one single Livin’ In The USA on the Starshine Productions label in 1970. Ironically, the B-Side Lovin’ You was the stronger of the two tracks and is a melodic and memorable slice of anthemic rock that showcases this talented band from Ohio. Sadly, the original Travis never got the opportunity to fulfilled their potential unlike the “other” Travis.
The opening notes of Enoch Smoky’s It’s Cruel sound not unlike The Clash’s London Calling. That is the only similarity between the two bands. Enoch Smoky who were formed in Iowa City in the late sixties were a hard rocking psychedelic rock band, who only released the one single It’s Cruel on their own Pumpkin Seed Records. Sadly, there was no followup to It’s Cruel which is just the latest hidden gem that has been unearthed by the compilers of the Brown Acid series.
The Backwood Memory story began in Kansas City when Curtis Franklin, Gary Silvey, Joe Clyne and Pete Trecazzi decided to form a band together. On September the ’29th’ 1970 Backwood Memory released their debut single Give Me Time on their own label Memory. It features a vocal powerhouse from Curtis Franklin as classic rock and psych collide head on to create a truly irresistible single that is a welcome addition to Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip.
Many people on hearing Flight’s hard rocking single Fighting The Flight will think that it was recorded and released in the early seventies which was a golden period for rock music. They would wrong, as Fighting The Flight was actually released during the decade that taste forget, the eighties. Fighting The Flight was released on Nebula label in 1986, and was the only singles that Flight released, and is proof that good rock music never goes out of fashion.
Truth and Janey were formed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1969, and three years later in 1972 released their debut single Midnight Horseman which featured a cover of the Rolling Stones’ Under My Thumb on the flip-side. Midnight Horseman was penned by Billy Janey and produced by Phil Richardson and Rick Hamilton and showcases a talented hard rocking band who went on to release a triumvirate of albums.
Another hard rocking band was West Minist’r who released a trio of singles between 1969 and 1975. Their sophomore single was Mr. Fingers which featured the Kirk Kaufman composition My Life on the B-Side. It was released in 1972 and is three minutes of memorable hard rocking music that deserved to fare better than a B—Side.
Purgatory was formed in Dayton, Ohio, in 1970 and the five piece heavy rock band were heavily influenced by The Doors, Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf. That is apparent on their one and only single Polar Expedition, which Purgatory self-released in May 1970. Nearly forty-eight years later and this hard rocking, bluesy, hidden gem makes a welcome return on Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip, and a new generation of music fans can discover this talented and little-known band.
Four years after Johnny Barnes released his debut single Angel Of Inspiration in 1976, he returned in 1980 with his debut album The Johnny Barnes Story. It was released on Johnny Barnes’ own Nightcrawler label and featured the hook-laden and irresistible hard rocking Steel Rail Blues.
Closing Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip is Zendik’s 1970 single Is There No Peace, which was released on their own Pslhrtz label, and was produced by Bob Ambos and Mike Lima. They play their part in a slice of hard rocking and defiant psych that closes the compilation on a high.
Very few compilation series release six volumes, and those that get that far, are often starting to run out of quality music. That certainly isn’t the case with the Brown Acid series, which is going from strength-to-strength as the compilers continue to unearth long-lost and oft-overlooked heavy psych, proto-metal and stoner rock singles and album tracks from the sixties, seventies and eighties. Many of these singles and albums were released in small quantities as private presses, or by small regional labels. Often, these labels nether had budget nor expertise to promote their releases, and they failed to find the wider audience that they deserved.
In some cases, it’s only much later when crate diggers, record dealers and specialist DJs unearth these singles and albums that they start to find an audience. That was the case with bands like Gold whose debut album No Parking was reissued in 1996, while Heat Exchange’s debut album was belatedly released in 2017. Since then, both albums have been discovered by a new and wider audience. Hopefully, that will be the case with the little-known and vastly underrated singles, B-Sides and albums tracks that feature on Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip, which is crammed full of hidden gems and is one of the best instalments in Riding Easy Records’ Brown Acid series.
Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip.