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Product Image Various Artists: Acid Dreams Compilation 12"

Various Artists: Acid Dreams Compilation 12"

It's hard to remember that way back in 1979, long before a zillion 1960s garage rock compilations had saturated the market, there were very few such various-artists albums on which to hear such rarities aside from Nuggets and the Pebbles series (which itself was just getting started). Acid Dreams was one of the first such comps, originally issued, according to the back cover blurb on this 2009 CD reissue, by a Berlin record shop owner who "pressed only 77 copies...aside from shipping to some friends or label owners, it was available only in his store." As you can guess from the title, it's a fairly psychedelic-oriented collection as far as '60s garage rock anthologies go, though it makes room for some more straightforward garage as well. Why someone would want to pick this up on CD 30 years later is a thorny question. Many of the 18 tracks have since become available (sometimes several times over) on other comps and single-artist reissues, and the kind of garage fanatics likely to be interested in these cuts in the first place are likely to have many of them somewhere or other in their collection. On its own terms, however, it's a considerably above-average garage comp, in part because of its psychedelic orientation, but also since the quality of the selection is pretty good too. A few of these songs (the Mystic Tide's "Frustration," Faine Jade's "It Ain't True," Zakary Thaks' "Can You Hear Your Daddy's Footsteps") are out-and-out classics of the genre; some (especially the Unrelated Segments' "Where You Gonna Go" and the Balloon Farm's "Question of Temperature," the latter of which was an actual Top 40 hit) are classics of the more straight-ahead garage idiom; and some others (Teddy & His Patches' "Suzy Creamcheese," the Outcasts' "1523 Blair") are near-classics. And unlike the aforementioned tunes, a few of the better and trippier garage-psychedelic tracks, like the Velvet Illusions' anti-drug "Acid Head" and the Beautiful Daze's "City Jungle" (which has some of the gnarliest distorted garage-psych guitar ever), really haven't shown up on reissues that often. It's true the sound quality on some of these tracks doesn't match what you hear when they're placed on some other reissues, and that songs like the Music Machine's "You'll Love Me Again" and Zakary Thaks' "Can You Hear Your Daddy's Footsteps" are easily available on CDs entirely dedicated to those artists. In its favor, though, this reissue does have some basic track-by-track annotation. And now that so many inferior '60s garage compilations have flooded the market, a listen to Acid Dreams does remind veteran collectors of how unusual and exciting this stuff sounded before the style had been mined to death on other reissues, and when the few compilations available really did tend to zero in on authentically killer tracks instead of lumping a whole bunch of generic items together.