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Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson
Various Artists
Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Blues, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1


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The dark side of psychedelia
Owen | Seattle, WA | 11/04/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"People tend to forget that not everything about the late sixties was peace and love there was a movement of musicians who saw themselves more as enraptured prophets. The prolific Roky Erikson of Austin was to the hippies what screamin Jay Hawkins was to the Blues. He roiled rambling tales of two headed dogs, spaceships, retrieved past life memory, and that might have been all fine and good except those were his love songs. And they thought Sid Barret was a tad off! Sadly, Roky succumbed to his demons and was commited to a mental home in the early 80's. That having been said, open yourself to a rare treat of hearing something more than just a run of the mill tribute from a roster of fasionable-nows and future one hit one wonders in their own right. If it weren't for the Obviously modern prescence of R.E.M. and ZZ Top, you'd swear this was a lost tape dug up from the late 60's. Everyone here is having a good time, even the Jesus and Mary did that happen? I recommend this tape whole-heartedly to all my friends and people i run into on the street. It is that pervasive. Groovy, man..."
Stunning tribute album of tribute albums
lexo1941 | Edinburgh, Scotland | 03/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Roky Erickson was one of the 13th Floor Elevators, a legendary and very strange psychedelic garage band from Texas in the 1960s. He subsequently went solo and, rather famously, went a bit mad, resulting in his incarceration in a psychiatric hospital where he was given electroconvulsive treatment.

He struggled through the 70s and 80s and it was, oddly enough, with the production and release of this album that his fortunes began to revive. He had had little idea of how many people admired his music, but this album is a treasure trove of great alternative 80s bands - people like Thin White Rope, Bongwater, Angry Samoans, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Sister Double Happiness rub shoulders with 70s heroes like Doug Sahm, T-Bone Burnett, Richard Lloyd and ZZ Top. There is not a duff track on this album; every song is given loving and imaginative treatment, and the result is one of the weirdest, most tuneful and most invigorating albums of that particularly uninspiring period in pop music history (1980-1992 or so).

I am glad to see that this album is still available. So is Roky Erickson. In 2001, his younger brother Sumner was given legal custody of him, and he saw to it that Roky was (for perhaps the first time in his life) given appropriate medical and legal treatment, including medication to control his schizophrenia - which he has since succeeded in weaning himself off. As a result, Roky Erickson is now able to look after himself, drive his own car, play live, tour and even, it's said, record; he was last heard of as being in the studio with fan and fellow Texan Billy Gibbons. Cheers to him, and to his family. The Roky Erickson story is not yet over."
One of the 1990s best tribute albums
Stargrazer | deep in the heart of Michigan | 06/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Where else can you find ZZ Top and The Jesus And Mary Chain on the same CD, covering the same song? And honestly, both versions are excellent.

Roky Erickson, troubled bandleader of Texas' 13th Floor Elevators, notarized citizen of Mars, and acid casualty, was committed to an insane asylum for possession of marijuana. If his apocryphal psychedelic lyrics are any indication, he indeed journeyed somewhere from which there was no return.

Like their San Francisco psychedelic counterparts Moby Grape and the equally troubled Skip Spence, The 13th Floor Elevators are a bit of a footnote from the late 1960s. Like Grape, their recordings are in and out of print, often in inferior versions, due to legal wrangling with labels and producers that continues to this day. And it is a shame.

When John Cusack opens his window and blasts out the Elevator's "You're Gonna Miss Me" in the film High Fidelity, it is many people's only taste of Erickson's music. Still, it is abundantly apparent that these casualties of the Summer Of Love got their music out to a wide range of open ears, as this tribute is fueled by impassioned versions of Erickson's songs by the likes of the late Doug Sahm, ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd, Julian Cope, R.E.M., The Butthole Surfers, and T-Bone Burnett.

As with any tribute, there are a few missteps, and they are especially egregious here. Chris and Tabby Thomas turn in a wan R'n'B rendition of "Leave Your Body Behind" that leans heavily on paper-thin electric drums and psuedo-Prince vocal posturing. It's painful -- really, really painful. Lou Ann Barton's surfy, monochromatic rockabilly "Don't Slander Me," even at a mere two minutes, goes on a little long. And Thin White Rope's uber-creepy "Burn The Flames" with its ghoulish lyrics about candelabras and piano-playing vampires might be perfect for a kitschy Halloween mixtape, but it gets the skip button from me in the off-season.

Yet "Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye," while saddled with some filler, is ultimately a worthwhile listen. Cope's "I Have Always Been Here Before" is outfitted with an awesome bassline that carries his baritone through verses about pyramids whose existence "challenges the scientists" while "obelisks" mock our mortal remains. Weird, yes. But not only weird - danceable. Primal Scream gives "Slip Inside This House" a similar catchy dance makeover, taking it in a trippy and acid-drenched beat-heavy direction. Sister Double Happiness (a band made up of fellow Texans Gary Floyd and Imperial Teen's drummer Lynn Perko, both former members of Texas' legendary punk band The Dicks) gives us a righteously bellowed version of "Red Temple Prayer." If I could be reincarnated as a voice, I'd want to be Gary Floyd's voice. Bongwater delivers a suitably odd piece of psych-tortured folk with their gorgeous "You Don't Love Me Yet."

This Roky Erickson tribute is a sprawling and ambitious affair, and mainly suffers from being too long and trying to straddle too many styles. It's a testimony to the power of Erickson's decidedly unusual songwriting and compositional powers that so many performers - from the lilting Poi Dog Pondering to the harmonized wolf-howls and handclaps of John Wesley Harding - lined up to pay their dues."