Author: Patrick Lundborg
As you might have guessed from the title, this book focuses on ‘underground’ or ‘psychedelic’ music. In this case, largely from the US market while the sources tend towards super rare (and, in their original form, now super expensive) private pressings. There are a few commonly known commercial groups covered, if you are familiar with The Thirteenth Floor Elevators and The Chocolate Watchband…but that’s as popular as you’re going to get here. This is a real ‘nooks and crannies’ publication.
As Lundborg himself once explained, when describing the majority of these bands as a collective, “They weren’t hip. They didn’t know exactly what they were doing, which was an advantage for them in retrospect because what they did was unpredictable and original. They improvised, and that often made for interesting results.”
Acid Archives focuses primarily on LPs, mainly because psychedelic music was largely collected on the 12” format, as opposed to garage rock which was primarily a 7” single market.
Centring on the music from the 60s and 70s, this tome originally hit the streets in 2006. The second edition arrived in an expanded form in 2010 with around 100 extra pages which also included a Special Features section where guest experts discussed albums within related underground genres covering exotica, lounge, ’70s funk and soul, southern rock, new age plus the so-called custom labels and the intriguingly terms ‘tax scam records’.
Featuring colour illustrations throughout, the publication spans 400 pages. Each text entry primarily covers each band and then the albums they released and the known pressings of that album with expected details such as the label, catalogue number, date of release and special insert information. The entire book is infused with the personality of the author, Patrick ‘The Lama’ Lundborg, an original member of the Lumber Island Acid Crew, a psychedelic artist collective which formed in Stockholm in the mid-1980s. He sadly passed away two years ago but his lively and irreverent style is appreciated in this book and he is a valued guide through these murky waters.
To be absolutely honest, I didn’t expect to be talking about this book here and now because the printed paper version is or, at least, was a rare and very expensive book to buy. Most popular outlets show their supplies as ‘out of stock’ with the likes of Amazon offering third party, used editions at ‘collectable’ prices. In Amazon’s case, that means prices around £75 with the likes of Abebooks listing a selection in excess of $450 each. I was alerted to the existence of more realistically priced editions of this book via the UK-based music retailer Spin (www.spincds.com) who announced that the book would be available for £30. As far as I am aware, there has been no new printing of this book and Spin seem to be the only outlet offering this edition so I can only infer that this book is part of the so-called ‘warehouse find’ and that a batch has been made available from storage. Possibly from the Lundborg estate? [NOTE: searching the Spin site before I posted this review, the book seems to have vanished…it might be worth your while giving them a call to find the current supply situation]
Even if you are unlucky and the book is out of stock by the time you reach Spin, be assured that there is also a Kindle version available via Amazon for around £30. I have yet to see it, so cannot comment on its formatting qualities but, knowing the Kindle, it will provide a useful reference for collectors because of that device’s ‘search and find’ facilities.
Ideally, buy both editions. But try for the print version first. In those terms? Grab one while you can!