Dig into the latest episode of Al Lover’s ELEVATED TRANSMISSIONS, exploring the psychedelic underground of the past, present and future.
This week’s episode is dedicated to Roky Erickson, with a curated playlist of 25 key tracks + a tribute from Al Lover.
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When someone mentions the word Gospel, I’m not sure if Roky Erickson would be the first person they think of, but in my mind listening to the gospel of Roky is as a religious experience as any. There’s much to be said about the contributions that Roky Erickson has given to the current cultural and musical landscape. His mind was one of the birthplaces of psychedelic rock that permeated the late 60s, influencing the much revered hippie scene at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. His primal scream and overdriven fuzz tones inspired the early punk rock freaks, who endeavored to copy every song on the Nuggets compilation a little later down the line.
His obsession with B-movie Horror films inspired the campy, yet haunting lyrics of this work with “The Aliens”, undoubtably influencing the likes of Lux and Ivy and Rob Zombie. As well, his gruff singer/songwriting work rivals the best that Americana has to offer, propelling the likes of Spacemen 3 and Primal Scream to adopt the aesthetic into the 80s and 90s British underground.
But beneath the cultural legacy something metaphysical lurks. Something that has been at the forefront of his work, yet is shadowed by his cultural impact. Roky sang of transcendence and he sang of truth. A mythological and archetypal truth. A paradoxical truth. A truth of the pain and the beauty of being. With his harsh, abrasive and earthy music he praised the kingdom of heaven (the kingdom of heaven that’s within you, no less). With the innocence of a child he recounted stories of psychological horror. He was someone who channeled their fear and paranoia of the existential condition into his art in order to find a higher plane of understanding, the plane of myth. This is the message that has truly reverberated through his work. He found the light in the dark. Not just a confused profundity while escaping reality with a mind altering substance, but an honest understanding for something outside of the normal mode of being, a higher power. A force of nature that connects our subjective consciousness to objective reality. He found religion in a secular age and for me and many others, this was the Gospel of Roky.
This mix is a small collection of tracks mostly penned by Roky, but not all. For me, a lot of the rough around the edges demos and alternative takes capture the damaged brilliance of the man. It allows us glimpse into his influences and his quest for understanding in this strange and complicated world.
– Al Lover
The 13th Floor Elevators – You’re Gonna Miss Me (Take 6)
The 13th Floor Elevators – Never Another (Alternate)
The 13th Floor Elevators – Where Am I (Through the Rhythm)
The 13th Floor Elevators – Levitation (Instrumental)
Roky Erickson – Bo Diddley’s A Head Hunter
The 13th Floor Elevators – I’m Gonna Love You Too
Roky Erickson – Peggy Sue Got Married
The 13th Floor Elevators – Baby Blue (Original Mono Single Mix)
Roky Erickson – Creature with the Atom Brain
Roky Erickson – Bermuda
Roky Erikson & Lou Ann Barton – Starry Eyes
Roky Erickson with Okkervil River – For You
Roky Erickson – I Think of Demons
Roky Erickson – Hasn’t Anyone Told You
Roky Erickson – You Don’t Love Me Yet
The 13th Floor Elevators – She Lives (In a Time f Her Own) – Mono LP Version
The 13th Floor Elevators – Splash 1 (Original Mono Single Mix)
The 13th Floor Elevators – May the circle Remain Unbroken (Original Mono Single Mix)
The 13th Floor Elevators – Kingdom of Heaven (is Within You) (Stereo LP Version)
The 13th Floor Elevators – Lay Down Your Weary Tune
Roky Erickson – Burn the Flames
Roky Erickson – I Have Always Been Here Before
Roky Erickson with Okkervil River – Think Of as One
Roky Erickson – You don’t Love Me Yet
The 13th Floor Elevators – Postures (Leave Your Body Behind) – Mono LP Version