Never Say Goodbye

In 1967, [a]Roky Erickson[/a] - lead singer with the proto-psychedelic [B]13th Floor Elevators[/B] - was arrested in Texas for the possession of a small quantity of marijuana....

In 1967, Roky Erickson - lead singer with the proto-psychedelic 13th Floor Elevators - was arrested in Texas for the possession of a small quantity of marijuana. Offered the choice of jail or a mental hospital, he chose the latter - eventually finding himself locked away for three years, during which time he was repeatedly subjected to thorazine and electro-shock therapy.

This album is a compilation of previously unheard, lo-fi recordings he made after that experience. Although he did eventually re-emerge as a musician in the late-'70s, by that point he was a deeply paranoid and delusional figure, making the 14 recordings featured here all the more remarkable.

Like Syd Barrett's post-Floyd solo work, the music here is scuffed and stuttering, but more together than you might expect, considering that at least five of the songs (including the wonderful and inspired 'I Love The Living') were recorded at the Rusk State Hospital in Texas, presumably while he was still receiving treatment.

Concise and understated, much of this album is equal to, or even better than, most of his officially released work. It often sounds like a brilliant Guided By Voices record, and songs like 'Be And Bring Me Home' and 'I've Never Known This Til Now' are so loaded with dignified emotion and lyrical dexterity that you wonder why it took so long for them to surface. Now they have, you know what to do.
8 / 10

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