Wednesday, August 01, 2007

13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators

Having owned the vinyl of this for decades, I’ve never felt the need to buy the CD. But I just found a good, used copy at a reasonable price, so I couldn’t pass it up!

“You’re Gonna Miss Me” is one of the most over-played (probably due to the movie High Fidelity) and over-covered song of all time. Sure, it’s a classic, but I could live without hearing it again and in fact, when I put this on, I skipped the first track. But there is a cool, different live version of the song as a bonus track that is just different enough to make it enjoyable again!

This record is truly one of the landmark psychedelic albums of the period. Roky Erikson’s songwriting is spectacular throughout and the band has a wild sound, with the added bonus of an electric jug (!) player!

Besides the initial song, there is plenty of greatness in this album. “Roller Coaster” is truly a roller coaster ride, “Splash 1” is a sweet ballad that then it blasts into “Reverberation”. This isn’t super fast, but it rocks with a fierce intensity that is belied by the clean/tremeloed guitars. Contradictions abound as the songs dance through your mind. Ballads build into wailings of “do you FEEL IT, FEEL IT, FEEL IT” (“Don’t Fall Down”). Rockin’ numbers like “Fire Engine” have haunting modulating vocals imitating spooky sirens. “You Don’t Know (How Young You Are)” is a beautiful tune that rockets into double time at the end. A stolen Kinks riff transports “Tried To Hide” into a rocker with a freak out solo that ends the official album on a high note!

The CD comes with 4 live bonus tracks with so-so quality, but shows that these characters were a garage band that covered the hits of the day – the Stones are given homage with a take on their version of “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” (given an extended psychedelic and psychotic freakout), another nod to the Kinks with “You Really Got Me” (with a dual guitar/jug solo and another freakout ending!) and a hyper-speed version of “Gloria” which is so fast that it is almost unrecognizable! Roky sounds like he’s just as likely to strangle Gloria as he is to make love to her in this truly crazed cover!

The CD closes with the above-mentioned live “You’re Gonna Miss Me” which is slower but damn intense and I swear even has new chords in some parts, so it’s certainly interesting to see what they did with their own material in a live setting.

Of course, you know that any follower of garage/psych music has to own this album, whether it is in vinyl, cassette, 8 track, CD or MP3!

The follow-up, Easter Everywhere is also highly recommended!

There is an upcoming movie also called You're Gonna Miss Me that is about Roky. Check out their My Space page.

And I don't know who is doing these, but here is a 13th Floor Elevators My Space page and a Roky Erickson My Space page.

And even a Roky web site


Blogger Dan E said...

I've got a fever... and the only cure is MORE JUG!!!

8:49 AM  

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