Riding Easy

Various Artists - Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip

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Max, from Montreal, QC — originally known as Dawn, before Tony Orlando & Dawn forced a name change — kick things off with “Run Run” from their lone 1970 single. It’s a hard-hitting rocker with scale climbing crunching guitars and powerful Bonham-esque drumming. Sadly, the band didn’t last long due to poor management and various other factors, so this is the only surviving document according to guitarist Gerry Markman. And what a document it is, paired with the A-side “The Flying Dutchman.”

You might remember Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers from their track “Never Again” on Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip. Here they make their return to the series with the A-side of their 1972 Hour Glass Records 45, which sounds like Blue Cheer mangling Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” (that’s right, several years before Van Halen actually did so.) Alas, Ralph and these Wright Brothers soon disappeared from terrestrial airspace.

“Feelin’ Dead” is extremely heavy blues from this also extremely rare 1974 single by Detroit, MI’s Master Danse, which was only released as a promo 45. Think Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and you’re on the right track. A little dose of Hendrix acid blues and a heartfelt groove, and you’ll wonder why this single never even made it to official release. The unavoidable tell in the lyric, “help me get this damn thing out of my arm” hints at the post-Vietnam heroin epidemic as a potential clue why we never heard more from Master Danse.

Folks, Gary Del Vecchio is “Buzzin’” hard on this one, and from what sounds like an in-studio party of yelps and chatter at the start of the song, it seems that the whole band was in on the festivities. The funky blues riff, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” and rollicking rhythmic changes certainly keep the buzz a rollin’.The recording is technically credited as Gary Del Vecchio with Max, though not the same band as the one that kicks off this Trip.

John Kitko’s 1973 heavy psychedelic rager “Indecision” is the only recording known to exist by the mysterious artist. The Twin Record Productions release features a different artist, Tom Poff on the B-side, which is truly a shame, considering the smoldering ashes Kitko leaves of the turntable by song’s end. It starts out more like a late 60s Acid Rock jam before leaping into a blazing double-time gallop, whipped into a frenzy by wailing, neck-pickup guitar squeals and Kitko’s barely audible howls.

Tampa, FL’s Bacchus made their Brown Acid debut way back on the very first Trip with “Carry My Load.” This 1972 B-side, “Hope” is a huge sounding swinging rocker replete with roadhouse piano bolstering the chunky riffs and confident vocals. After relocating to Southern California a few years later, the band morphed into Fortress, an 80s melodic metal act whose Hands In The Till album of Pomp Rock on Atlantic Records still draws chatter today.

Orchid’s “Go Big Red” is perhaps the most garage-y sounding offering here, with loose rhythms and straightforward stop-and-start riffing. Nonetheless, the stomping energy and fried-amp guitar tone make this one a charming skull thwack. The band’s 1973 single on American records, backed with a cover of Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison’s “Act Naturally” (popularized by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos) is their only release, so the world never did see this Orchid fully blossom.

By the title alone of Dry Ice’s “Don’t Munkey with the Funky Skunky” you know you’re in for a good time. The 1974 barnstormer seems aimed to the novelty tunes crowd, with its kooky lyrics and silly-voiced spoken catchphrase break, “peeyew, you’ll be sorry if you do.” But, the Ohio band’s maniacal drumming, crunching guitars and, of course, drug euphemistic lyrics make it a shoo-in for the Brown Acid series of erudite rock’n’roll.

Good Humore’s swaggering 1976 rocker “Detroit” is a slick and smooth paen to the Motor City. It most likely doesn’t predate “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss, also released in 1976, and it has more rock’n’roll swing, but it could fit comfortably alongside the era’s arena anthems. Not much else is known about the one-off release on P.V. Records, but songwriter Mike Moats is noted to also have been a recording engineer in later years and this well produced track sounds like a labor of love.