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The Psychedelic World of the 13th Floor Elevators

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Review

Did the 13th Floor Elevators invent psychedelic rock? Aficionados will be debating that point for decades, but if Roky Erickson and his fellow travelers into inner space weren't there first, they were certainly close to the front of the line, and there are few albums from the early stages of the psych movement that sound as distinctively trippy -- and remain as pleasing -- as the group's groundbreaking debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. In 1966, psychedelia hadn't been around long enough for its clichés to be set in stone, and Psychedelic Sounds thankfully avoids most of them; while the sensuous twists of the melodies and the charming psychobabble of the lyrics make it sound like these folks were indulging in something stronger than Pearl Beer, at this point the Elevators sounded like a smarter-than-average folk-rock band with a truly uncommon level of intensity. Roky Erickson's vocals are strong and compelling throughout, whether he's wailing like some lysergic James Brown or murmuring quietly, and Stacy Sutherland's guitar leads -- long on melodic invention without a lot of pointless heroics -- are a real treat to hear. And nobody played electric jug quite like Tommy Hall -- actually, nobody played it at all besides him, but his oddball noises gave the band a truly unique sonic texture. If you want to argue that psychedelia was as much a frame of mind as a musical style, it's instructive to compare the recording of "You're Gonna Miss Me" by Erickson's earlier band, the Spades, to the version on this album -- the difference is more attitudinal than anything else, but it's enough to make all the difference in the world. (The division is even clearer between the Spades' "We Sell Soul" and the rewrite on Psychedelic Sounds, "Don't Fall Down"). The 13th Floor Elevators were trailblazers in the psychedelic rock scene, and in time they'd pay a heavy price for exploring the outer edges of musical and psychological possibility, but along the way they left behind a few fine albums, and The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators remains a potent delight. [This version of the album includes bonus material.] ~ Mark Deming
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 You're Gonna Miss Me 13th Floor Elevators 2:26
  3. 2 Roller Coaster 13th Floor Elevators 5:8
  4. 3 Splash I 13th Floor Elevators 3:56
  5. 4 Reverberation (Doubt) 13th Floor Elevators 2:47
  6. 5 Don't Fall Down 13th Floor Elevators 3:2
  7. 6 Fire Engine 13th Floor Elevators 3:19
  8. 7 Thru the Rhythm 13th Floor Elevators 3:9
  9. 8 You Don't Know 13th Floor Elevators 3:0
  10. 9 Kingdom of Heaven 13th Floor Elevators 3:10
  11. 10 Monkey Island 13th Floor Elevators 2:38
  12. 11 Tried to Hide 13th Floor Elevators 2:49
  13. 12 Everybody Needs Somebody to Love 13th Floor Elevators 5:17
  14. 13 Before You Accuse Me 13th Floor Elevators 3:41
  15. 14 You Don't Know 13th Floor Elevators 2:38
  16. 15 I'm Gonna Love You Too 13th Floor Elevators 1:56
  17. 16 You Really Got Me 13th Floor Elevators 6:19
  18. 17 Splash I 13th Floor Elevators 3:37
  19. 18 Fire Engine 13th Floor Elevators 3:2
  20. 19 Roll Over Beethoven 13th Floor Elevators 2:49
  21. 20 The Word 13th Floor Elevators 2:46
  22. 21 Monkey Island 13th Floor Elevators 2:45
  23. 22 Roller Coaster 13th Floor Elevators 5:42
  24. 1 Slip Inside This House 13th Floor Elevators 8:3
  25. 2 Slide Machine 13th Floor Elevators 3:43
  26. 3 She Lives (In a Time of Her Own) 13th Floor Elevators 2:56
  27. 4 Nobody to Love 13th Floor Elevators 2:56
  28. 5 Baby Blue 13th Floor Elevators 5:17
  29. 6 Earthquake 13th Floor Elevators 4:49
  30. 7 Dust 13th Floor Elevators 4:0
  31. 8 Levitation 13th Floor Elevators 2:39
  32. 9 I Had to Tell You 13th Floor Elevators 2:27
  33. 10 Pictures (Leave Your Body Behind) 13th Floor Elevators 6:29
  34. 11 Splash I 13th Floor Elevators 4:20
  35. 12 Kingdom of Heaven 13th Floor Elevators 3:31
  36. 13 You're Gonna Miss Me 13th Floor Elevators 3:41
  37. 14 She Lives (In a Time of Her Own) 13th Floor Elevators 3:2
  38. 15 Reverberation (Doubt) 13th Floor Elevators 3:21
  39. 16 You're Gonna Miss Me The Spades 3:26
  40. 17 We Sell Soul The Spades 3:19
  41. 18 Fire in My Bones 13th Floor Elevators 2:3
  42. 19 Levitation [Instrumental] 13th Floor Elevators 3:10
  43. 20 Slip Inside This House [Single Edited Version] 13th Floor Elevators 4:7
  44. 1 Before You Acuse Me 13th Floor Elevators 3:43
  45. 2 She Lives in a Time of Her Own 13th Floor Elevators 2:57
  46. 3 Tried to Hide 13th Floor Elevators 2:49
  47. 4 You Gotta Take That Girl 13th Floor Elevators 3:2
  48. 5 I'm Gonna Love You Too 13th Floor Elevators 2:0
  49. 6 Everybody Needs Somebody to Love 13th Floor Elevators 3:44
  50. 7 I've Got Levitation 13th Floor Elevators 2:43
  51. 8 You Can't Hurt Me Anymore 13th Floor Elevators 3:45
  52. 9 Roller Coaster 13th Floor Elevators 5:0
  53. 10 You're Gonna Miss Me 13th Floor Elevators 2:24
  54. 11 Livin' On 13th Floor Elevators 3:20
  55. 12 Barnyard Blues 13th Floor Elevators 2:49
  56. 13 Till Then 13th Floor Elevators 3:15
  57. 14 Never Another 13th Floor Elevators 2:23
  58. 15 Rose and the Thorn 13th Floor Elevators 3:33
  59. 16 Down by the River 13th Floor Elevators 1:47
  60. 17 Scarlet and Gold 13th Floor Elevators 4:57
  61. 18 Street Song 13th Floor Elevators 4:55
  62. 19 Doctor Doom 13th Floor Elevators 3:12
  63. 20 With You 13th Floor Elevators 2:9
  64. 21 May the Circle Remain Unbroken 13th Floor Elevators 2:42
  65. 22 Wait for My Love 13th Floor Elevators 3:25
  66. 23 Splash I 13th Floor Elevators 3:5
  67. 24 Right Track Now 13th Floor Elevators 3:1
  68. 25 60 Second Radio Spot for "Bull of the Woods" Album 13th Floor Elevators 1:1

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