Mar 162011

"I'm seeing trails! Can you see the trails?"

Until yesterday, when I belatedly read the news that the Godfather of Acid, Owsley Stanley, was dead I had no idea the guy had a last name, or should I say that Owsley was his first name! I also had no idea he was the man behind the high-tech stage soundsystem of the Grateful Dead. If you ask me it might have helped the band if he wasn’t so handy with electronics and their music came out inaudible. Here’s the New York Times obituary on Owsley. I wonder if all that acid he ate and handled had anything to do with his overall dietary philosophies.

Acid intake had a profound impact on rock ‘n roll, in many cases for the good of the genre. However, the drug—or at least music recorded to sound as if it had been recorded under the influence of the drug—led to some regrettable moments. What “acid” albums would you like to see packed off with Owsley’s corporeal remains…once and for all?


  40 Responses to “Owsley Dead: Can He Take Rock’s Most-Regrettable “Acid” Albums With Him?”

  1. “After Bathing at Baxter’s” by Jefferson Airplane. Syd Barrett’s solo work, as well as Pink Floyd’s “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

    Syd never did anything for me, and his legacy is usually pared down to “rock’s first acid casualty.”

    What else…”Aoxomoxoa” by the Dead, and the entire Eagles catalog. HA!

  2. Oh, and Their Satanic Majesties Request by the Stones. Duh.

  3. I’m not letting those Barrett albums board the mothership! They’re staying here with us.

  4. misterioso

    Absolutely. Piper at the Gates is one of the few that should stay. (Not clear to me if the solo Syd records are acid albums or post-acid albums.)

  5. Thanks Mod for saving those Syd records. They can take Skip Spence’s Oar before they take those Barrett albums.

    I am going to probably be one of the few who would try to save Satanic Majesties Request. Sorry gang, I love it and consider it a gem of the psych era releases.

    Take Vanilla Fudge The Beat Goes On.

    Take any of the Airplane stuff

  6. About half of Oar by Skip Spence

    All but a song or two from “Electric Music for the Mind and Body” by Country Joe and the Fish.

    Iron Butterfly

  7. I wouldn’t put “Piper” OR “Satanic Majesties” out with the worst acid influenced albums, and I just listened to the Stones one a few days ago – there are more songs on that album (actually, both of those albums) I’d gladly listen to again than ANYTHING off “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”! I’ll take any Syd era Floyd over the later stuff, where all they seem to do is write songs about how hard it is being a rock star & what crappy, abusive childhoods they (meaning Waters) had. Zzzzzz……

    Would “Two Virgins” by John y Yoko count as an acid influenced album, because that’s one I hate?

    Nektar – “A Tab In the Ocean”, which is apparently considered a classic of proggy/acid “rock” by some. Bury it, I say!

    I mean, listen to this silly, meandering crap:
    Yeah, they’re really going for baroque, there! Feh!

  8. Yeah, I think Two Virgins needs to go!

  9. The Electric Prunes’ Mass in F Minor: one of the worst acid albums I ever bought (and quickly sold)!

  10. I concur! Awful.

  11. What about these cosmic gnomes?

  12. BigSteve

    I want to keep ALL the acid albums. Accepting the good and the bad is one of the lessons you learn when tripping.

  13. This is a blatant call for support in the current Most Reasonable Townsperson poll, but watch it, BigSteve, some may perceive this as kee-raaaaaay-zzzzy talk!

  14. How many late 60s era rock LPs weren’t influenced by acid and therefore somewhat acid albums? Just sayin’.

  15. I put “acid” in quotes in the post to clearly indicate artist’s blatant ACID albums, whether they even dropped acid or not. If they did acid and turned out, I don’t know, a typical James Taylor album, that’s not on the table. I’m thinking of stuff like this album, which I’ve never heard but suspect might be packed away on the mothership:

  16. I’d want to salvage a song or two, but Eric Burdon and The Animals, Winds of Change, is welcome to blow away. Sorry, Mod.

  17. That’s OK, it will give me something to look forward to when I board the mothership.

  18. You know — a few years ago I would have voted to put the Tommy movie and soundtrack album on the mothership, but I watched the whole movie recently and enjoyed it way more than I did the first time I sat through the whole thing. The baked beans thing with Ann-Margret . . . .

  19. The large portion of The Doors catalog.

  20. tonyola

    Vanilla Fudge – The Beat Goes On
    Monkees – Head (keep “Porpoise Song” though)
    Grateful Dead – first album
    Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum
    Godz – Contact High
    Chambers Brothers – (should have stuck with soul)
    Seeds – anything
    Hello People – everything (they dressed as mimes and should have stayed quiet like mimes)

  21. tonyola

    Right. Anything Floyd-related is a keeper. The Syd albums are just too charming and strange to send off.

  22. tonyola

    If there’s any Tommy to be done away with, it’s the godawful symphonic version released in 1973 and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. Possibly worth listening to once for its bad campiness, then into the sun it goes.

  23. I am okay with all versions of Tommy being done away with, except for:

    The original 1969 versions of Overture, 1921, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Pinball Wizard and We’re Not Gonna Take It.

    and the 1989 live version, which should be preserved as a cautionary tale.

  24. Also,

    *Insert your favorite live versions from ’69’-70, be it Woodstock, Isle of Wight or Leeds*

  25. tonyola

    Keep the Two Virgins cover, though. We need reminders that even rock gods and avant-garde artistes could be appallingly ugly when naked.

  26. BRAVO, and welcome to the fray!

  27. 2000 Man

    Boo! What’s wrong with Satanic Majesties? It has some problems but it also has some of the best psych songs anyone ever thought up on it. No one made a stone cold classic from beginning to end in that genre, so cut some slack, will ya?

  28. 2000 Man

    I really like Iron Butterfly’s Ball album. It’s super heavy. Actually, it takes two people to put in on a turntable cuz it’s so heavy.

  29. 2000 Man

    I’m plenty okay wit The Seeds, but The Godz Contact High is really, really awful. Lester Bangs owes me for that one, and I’m gonna collect in the next life, provided Lester doesn’t bite it early there, too. But I’ll catch up one day, and I’ll get my ten bucks back!

  30. I’m not a collector of the acid stuff but so far I agree with the Syd solo records and the Monkees’ Head (the movie, at least). And the Dead album to ship off is Anthem of the Sun“, Aoxomoxoa is positively lucid by comparison.

    I was recently listening to Leon Russel’s Carney and the track “Acid Annapolis” wrecks the flow of a pretty good record.

  31. 2000 Man

    Ship all the Dead albums outta here. I don’t think anyone would even notice.

  32. Oats can you hear me?
    Can you feel me with you?
    Oats? Oats?

  33. misterioso

    What’s wrong with it? Sing This All Together, In Another Land, Sing This All Together (See What Happens), Gomper, On with the Show. These bad songs are terrible. The other songs are good. It’s just that there are more bad songs than good songs. I say keep it, but have your finger on the ‘skip track’ button.

  34. misterioso

    A bad, bad, bad movie. Ken Russell sucked, big time. Pretentious and utterly devoid of any interesting ideas (in general, not just in that movie). The Tommy movie soured me on the record for years and years. Feh to him.

  35. Absolutely not!

  36. tonyola

    The Tommy movie is indeed bad and pretentious, but it has a few things worth watching like Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie. If you want to see Ken Russell and Roger Daltrey at their over-the-top worst, you should watch Lisztomania.

  37. Totally agree with The Beat Goes On by Vanilla Fudge and After Bathing at Baxters. I’d also toss in Farewell Aldebaran by Judy Henske and Jerry Yester.

  38. I just read the Sam Cutler book about Altamont and The Dead. He talks about what Owlsey contributed to The Dead (which in the 1970’s was a lot – technologically, chemically, general direction into spacyness)

    “After Bathing at Baxter’s” by Jefferson Airplane should be sent off to the great “final acid trip”

    Keep The Doors – I like Jim to be my personal guide (at least his voice is calming)

    I am a big fan of Satanic Majesties – agreed there are a few clunkers, but overall it is a good next step from Between The Buttons and it cleared the decks for their “Get Back” record (Beggars Banquet)

    I can understand why you would want to play music while on acid, but who can get to the actually completing a song, recording it, etc. It’s amazing that there are any acid records to put into this conversation (or maybe I should have stuck with beer)

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube