Various Artists - Brown Acid: The Fifth Trip

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-10-31
Various Artists - Brown Acid: The Fifth Trip
Various Artists - Brown Acid: The Fifth Trip

There are two ways to approach the reissue of hard-to-find, obscure gems (and quite a few duds) from the bygone rock eras - the cheap and quick way and the meticulous long-winding way. The cheap, quick and (seemingly) easy way is to grab a few singles or albums you stumbled upon, pick a few and come up with a compilation with very little info. The hard and meticulous way would include tracking down not only the original master tapes, but also the info for the uninitiated. Sometimes that includes trying to forward some royalties to the original musicians! Usually, the amount of effort brings an equal reward.

True collectors and aficionados will get fooled only once as such compilations and ‘series’ might turn a quick buck, but that is about it. It is usually those series that try their best that succeed, and the Brown Acid series is only gathering in strength, particularly with true collectors. The Fifth Trip the series coordinated between a publisher, Riding Easy Records, and a retailer, Permanent Records, to try and not only track down the master tapes and collect all the necessary information, but also to licence the tracks so that the artists can be given a second chance. No exception for this fifth edition of Brown Acid, which stylistically covers the ground with the bands/artists that tried to straddle the late Sixties psychedelia with proto-prog and early stages of heavy rock.

The quality of the Brown Acid series, evident on Fifth Trip is that the level of duds compared to good discoveries is quite low, but still dependent on one's taste. Personally, the tracks more firmly connected to late psych, like the opening Captain Foam’s “No Reason” with its harmony vocals, and Finch’s “Nothing But The Sun,” with some exquisite fuzz guitar are clinchers. A high standard is maintained with George Brigman and his “Blowin’ Smoke” (let's not go into what he was smoking), Cybernaut and their  “Clockwork," which ventures into prog without that watch-my-quick-hands gimmicks associated with so many bands connected with the genre. Fargo and their excellent Nuggets-style  “Abaddon”  has some weird lyrics even for 1969, while Mammoth with their self-titled tracks and Flasher and their “Icky Bicky” do good straddling between psych and early stages of heavy.

Zebra’s version of “Helter Skelter” is good enough to be passable, while the only two duds are Lance’s “Fireball” and Thor’s “Lick It." These two are showcases of everything where heavy rock went wrong - lousy tunes and lousy lyrics, usually combined. Flashy guitar riffs don’t save the day this time around.

Even though these tracks are close to the end of the Fifth Trip, they don’t detract much from the overall high quality of this compilation and the series it belongs to, both something true collectors should seriously look into.

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