The 13th Floor Elevators – “Easter Everywhere” (1967)

August 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

A November 1967 Newsday review by Scott Holtzman on the 2nd Elevators album.
Note: towards the end of the review Holtzman makes mention of 2 pictures of Roky Erickson and Tommy Hall that were printed with the review…

 

Just when everyone else is thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, the unpredictable 13th Floor Elevators come out with a new album Easter Everywhere.

This doesn’t surprise anyone, because there is a musical charisma which follows The Elevators everywhere they go. Everyone knows they have adopted Houston as their headquarters, but does anyone feel that they are from anywhere in particular? Did they rise as Druid spirits from the mists of Stonehenge on some dark All Hallows Eve? Were they conjured up one full moon from the dark swamps of Louisiana by Marie Laveau, the high priestess of voodoo? Or, are they aliens from Planet X offering us mirror-images of something hidden deep within our subconscious?

Witness a lyric from their new LP:

“Higher worlds that you uncover – Light the path you want to roam – You compare there and discover – You don’t need a shell of foam – Twice born Gypsies care and keep – The nowhere of their former home – They slip inside this house as they pass by – Four and twenty birds of Maya – Baked into an Atom you – Polarized into existence – Magnet heart from red and blue – To such extent the realm of dark – Within the picture it seems true – But slip inside this house and then decide.”

That’s from “Slip Inside This House” by Tommy Hall and Roky Erickson and is just a small sample of the lyric content of the album.

The saddest thing about the album is that the presence on the singers is so cloudy that unless you follow the lyric sheet thoughtfully provided with the album, you won’t realize just how well these young men are writing.

“Splash 1” came from their songbag, but it took the slick commerciality of The Clique to make it Number 1 in this area. The funny thing about it is that The Elevators themselves are commercial, but some unknown element hides Roky Erickson’s excellent singing abilities. As a listener, I want the singer to get more personal with me. I don’t want his voice hidden so often behind the musical jug, which has become identified as their sound, but is growing tiresome from over-exposure. When I hear The Elevators’ tapes over giant speakers, I get that personal feeling, but somehow it is lost in the translation from tape to disc on a small machine in the home.

Don’t get me wrong. This album is a must for any Elevator fan. In fact, it is already the fastest rising LP in Houston. It has many songs in it. My favorites are “Dust,” “I Had to Tell You,” “Slide Machine,” and “She Lives in a Time of Her Own.” I don’t know which one will be their new single, but there’ll be several left for you groups (who have no writers) to choose for your own singles as did The Clique.

These pictures of Roky and Tommy are by Bill Metzler and are the first ever released besides those on the back of the new album. It’s amazing a group can become so well-known nationally with no publicity pictures ever released before.

That alone shows how far these boys have come on sheer musical ability. They deserve every bit of it, wherever they came from.  

Scott Holtzman

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