US - Texas - Full Moon 168 - 05/28/10
Roky Erickson with Okkervil River
True Love Cast Out All Evil
Chemikal Underground Ltd. / Anti
The album doesn't sound like any other from Roky's hand that I've heard. Well, there are some garage-sounding bits, but not of the psychedelic 13th Floor
Elevators ilk - Rokys 1960s band. There is no mentioning neither of zombies, vampires, two headed dogs, demons, Lucifer nor Satan, that our man seemed obsessed
with in the late 1970s and early 1980s after returning from different institutions. On the contrary, as the title track and "God Is Everywhere" indicates.
The music is a fine mix of traditional rock'n'roll of the gallant south kind, garage-rock, blues, gospel, even some melancholic pop-songs. (Btw., the latter
doesn't sound too distant from another acid drop-out from the 1960s exiled in the early 1970s, one Brian Wilson.) Roky sounds to some extent resigned, on the
other hand he also sings with confidence and conviction. The man's still got levitation! The songs and lyrics are from his entire career after 13th Floor
Elevators, but few have been released and even fewer recorded decently earlier. The lyrics mainly deal with his life and experiences, not least his stay in
Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane. We even get a couple of rough recordings from Rusk, blended with fresh new overdubs.
After seeing the documentary film You're Gonna Miss Me from 2005 about Roky's current state and life at the start of the 00s, it seemed incredible
that he'd enter a stage anymore, and impossible that he'd ever record his songs in a proper studio again. Well, there was a bit of hope for improvement towards
the end of the film, and wonders do happen. True Love Cast Out All Evil is the proof! Producer Will Shelf neatly sums it up at the end of his comprehensive
essay in the booklet about the life and times of Roky Erickson leading up to the recording of the new album:
'I'm a cynical person, and I generally don't believe stories about miracles. However, having personally seen what's
happened in Roky's life, I feel surprised to hear myself vouching that his recovery is real, that nothing in here is made up, and that being inside that story,
beeing a footnote to that story, makes someone like me feel humbled and small, which is a good way to feel. Roky is both the most cursed and blessed person
I've ever met. He's suffered unimaginably and he's lost some things that he will never get back. The fact that those things are lost forever is what makes
the story so sad, and what makes you know the story is real. But equally real are the facts that Roky's back with us, that he's happy, that he's funny, that
he's excited about life, that he's creative, and that, at 63 years old, he's just made his first record in 15 years. And all of those facts make me stupidly
and uncynically and purely happy. And I'm so proud that I could be there to see and hear it.'
Copyright © 2010 JP