Various Artists - Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2017-09-22

You've got to hand it to Chicago’s Numero Group label. They have now officially caught up with Ace/Kent as the top reissue label. Of course, there are other reissues worthy of every fan’s attention, and some can have even more exceptional releases, but my praise for Numero Group is based on the concepts and diligence in their research and both sonic and overall execution of releases they come up with. Individual album or artists aside, as far as the reissue series is concerned, Numero are almost unbeatable. Whether it is their initial Eccentric Soul series or issues devoted to long gone labels, the strict definition of the theme, detailed research, and selection of the material have yet to fail. 

With Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares the story continues. First, it was Wayfaring Strangers, a series devoted to the folksy, singer/songwriter scene, is an obvious branch of a Sixties/Seventies tree, and bears the fruit of names and the gems that were practically forgotten, or never really surfaced (Cosmic American Music was the latest in that series). Two new series - Seafaring Strangers (with one issue so far in the collection, Private Yacht) is devoted to the surfing/sunshine pop side of things. The Warfaring Strangers is devoted to the harder, heavier, messier, side of the scene, with Acid Nightmares being the second issue in the series so far.

The first issue, Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles dealt with the origins of what is now known as stoner rock. While some might call it porto-metal and D&D, it is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea. Matter of fact, it's not mine either, but it was still a fascinating listen and an issue that anybody doing serious research (a cover-up name for heavyweight collecting) of rock music should have.

Acid Nightmares is even better. Continuing on the theme when, where, and how things went wrong with the benign side of the hippie and psychedelic dreams, the collection serves up eighteen slices, cubes, cups, and hypodermic needles of some seriously bad acid trips. I can almost be certain that most of us have not ever, ever heard of any of these bands, yet they are in no way below the quality that some of the key purveyors of the style and theme have ever come up with (Steppenwolf). As usual, the level of exploration the Numero team went through, not only to gather the material itself, but also to flesh out the performers is impeccable.

The next time you plan to get out that dusty DVD copy of Easy Rider, have the copy of Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares available for both before and after. It will certainly enhance the experience.

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