Lucky number 17? You better believe it. We here at Brown Acid have been scouring the highways and byways of America for even more hidden stashes of psych/garage/proto-punk madness from the so-called Aquarian Age. There’s no flower power here, though—just acid casualties, rock stompers and major freakouts. As always, the songs have been officially licensed, and all the artists get paid.
Kicking off this trip, Grapple’s “Ethereal Genesis” is a heavy psych gem from 1969 written by J. Bruce Svoboda, a.k.a. Jay Bruce, formerly of The Hangmen and The Five Canadians (who were actually the same San Antonio band). The latter’s 1966 garage favorite “Writing on the Wall” has been endlessly covered, but Grapple were never heard from again.
With a guitar riff that blatantly rips off Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath,” Image’s mostly instrumental lysergic obscurity “Witchcraft ’71” (originally unveiled that very year) also boasts a horror-movie organ intro, a voodoo drum break and some championship chanting. Private press heads might recall late Image drummer John Beke from his ’80s reemergence with country rockers Crossfyre.
Stone Hedge were a seven-piece rock band out of Michigan with a penchant for Creedence and anthropomorphism. “Smokey Bear” is their 1972 tribute to the official mascot of the U.S. Forest Services—not to mention the A side of their sole single—and it recalls the kind of organ-drenched swamp jam that soundtracked many a Burt Reynolds flick back in the day.
If you think being a Southern rock band from Milwaukee doesn’t make much sense, that’s probably why Crossfire changed their sound along with their name—to Bad Boy—after signing with United Artists. Bad Boy’s severely underappreciated second album, Back To Back, is a 1978 hard rock jewel, but you can hear their boogie-woogie roots on this rare 1975 single.
With a band name like Primevil and song title like “Too Dead To Live,” you probably expect some gnarly proto-metal riffage. Instead, you a get a harmonica-drenched, soul-infused rock rave-up from 1972. Primevil would release their sole LP two years later: Entitled Smokin’ Bats at Campton’s, it’s a reference to their trusty singer, harp player (and bat smoker?), Dave Campton.
Brown Acid regulars already know Pegasus from their appearance with “The Sorcerer” on our Seventh Trip. “Ready to Rave” is the flipside to that 1972 single, in which they explain how they like their whiskey cold and their women hot. It’s another killer glimpse of what might have been if these one-and-done Baltimore hard rockers had been able to keep it together.
One of two obscure singles released by Texas musician Bobby Mabe in 1969 (the other appears under the name The Outcasts), “I’m Lonely” delivers a heavy dose of vocal soul to the otherwise psych-garage presentation. Fans of fellow Houstonians the Moving Sidewalks—whom Bobby and his Outcasts may well have gigged with—will especially dig this one.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, may not be known as a cultural mecca, but they did give us Truth & Janey. This deadly hard rock trio delivered their holy grail full-length, No Rest for the Wicked, back in 1976. “Around and Around” is a Chuck Berry cover that originally appeared on a 1973 single the band released under the earlier name Truth.
Originally released in 1973, “High School Letter” is the debut single from San Diego rock squad Glory. This infectious bonehead cruncher features future Beat Farmer Jerry Raney and the original rhythm section of Iron Butterfly in bassist Greg Willis and drummer Jack Pinney. Glory is what they got up to after their former bandmates left for L.A.’s garden of Eden.
“Jack the Ripper” is a mercilessly bootlegged Cleveland classic from 1978 with a serrated punk edge and vocals that recall Mick Blood of Aussie savages the Lime Spiders. Or maybe it’s the other way around—the Lime Spiders formed the year after Strychnine carved off this lethal paean to the infamous Whitechapel slasher of olde.
Grapple “Ethereal Genesis” - San Antonio, Texas 1969
Image “Witchcraft 71” - Illinois 1971
Stone Hedge “Smokey Bear” - Battle Creek, MI 1972
Crossfire “I Gotta Move” - Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1975
Primevil “Too Dead To Live” - Hancock County, Indiana 1972
Pegasus “Ready To Rave” - Baltimore, Maryland 1972
Bob Mabe & The Outcast “I’m Lonely” - Galveston, Texas 1969
Truth & Janey “Around And Around” - Ames, Iowa 1973
Glory “High School Letter” - San Diego, California 1973
Strychnine “Jack The Ripper” - Cleveland, Ohio 1978