Various artists – Brown Acid, The First Trip (Riding Easy Records)
Various artists – Brown Acid, The Second Trip (Riding Easy Records)
For much of my life, so in thrall have I been to US culture, music, food, books, music, people and music that I wanted nothing more fervently than a green card.
That’s no longer the case, and I’m not even certain I want to revisit – for a variety of reasons: Personal (I’m no longer sure, at 60+, that I’m up for economy class and all the extra security hassle), political (obvious, really).
Plus, in the western suburbs of Melbourne I’ve found a home that truly fits – unexpectedly and in a way Dunedin, London, Wellington and New Orleans didn’t.
But in so many ways I remain an Americanophile at heart, especially when it comes to music. (These days, I’d also rave about the soul food – especially Somalian – that I eat in the west, over and beyond the often ersatz versions of the US style that are going around.)
So … the artists described as influences on this motley lot of ’70s US nobodies (LZ, Hendrix, Sabbath, Deep Purple, as well as Grand Funk) have close to zero interest for me.
But long lost and utterly forgotten ‘Merican outfits reaching for the same sort of sound?
Oh, yes – that turns me on. The same way I’d prefer to hear Shadows of Knight doing Gloria instead of Them.
Nuggets for the next decade?
Or even stoner rock before there was, um, stoner rock.
I like it that these two CDs cost me just $9 each.
Documentation is minimal, though the first volume does give home-base locations of those involved – LA, NJ, Hollywood, Detroit, Wisconsin, NYC, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Houston.
Across the 21 tracks, there is just one non-US outfit – Aussie group Ash – and just one of which I’d previously heard (Josephus).
Supposedly just about everything here was originally released on very small labels and/or by the bands themselves, and in numbers mostly in the hundreds. Collector wet dreams, each and every one of ’em.
All tracks are originals, though some of riffs sound suspiciously Kinky.
The drumming is uniformly of the Lunar School.
Every now and then I can hear touches of, say, Seger or the Stooges or the MC5. And every now and then I hear a reminder that this is the milieu from which Lynyrd Skynyrd and Cheap Trick (and many others!) sprang.
I suspect these tunes probably constituted the entirety of these bands’ originals when it came to live shows, but I can make a guess at what comprised the rest of their sets: Black Night, Toke On The Water, Born To Be Wild, maybe some Stones, and reaching back to the likes of Wild Thing, You Really Got Me and even Johnny B Goode.
So what’s it all like?
I find it thrilling!
Snotty, with ambitions mostly way beyond the talent at hand, but there are no duds, even if some of the lyrics are cheesy.
The passion is there, mostly based on power trio format, with some organ on some cuts.
No doubt these were local heroes adored to various degrees by their fans. Maybe some of them even snagged support spots when their heroes hit town!
This is music made by and for ’70s American muscle car bogans – and I love it.
Of course, this stuff only makes if played really fucking loud.
And it sounds great in my own muscle car (’08 Corolla).
There’s a third volume out.
Will I buy it?
These’ll do for now!