Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ROKY ERICKSON-THE EVILLER ONE Redux: AN ALTERNATE CLASSIC!







The material recorded by ROKY ERICKSON and the ALIENS with ex CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL bassist Stu Cook in the producer spot still commands respect more than 30 years later. Initially spread out over two lps but now compiled into the 15 song EVIL ONE cd, the otherworldly spell of this music still holds demonic sway-- in its way, as important as his legendary previous work with Psychedelic/Garage titans the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS. The focus of the terror themed compositions married to the unique and powerful arrangements of the ALIENS resulted in a no-longer-debatable classic. With each passing year its 'cult' status appeal expands into a wider and wider audience of appreciative fanatics.

So why mess with a good thing? Well, truth is, most of THE EVIL ONE's tracks have made impressive, sometimes superior, appearances elsewhere in the dense catalogue of ERICKSON's erratic recording career. Sometimes different versions tried with the ALIENS, sometimes with other backing bands such as the EXPLOSIVES, sometimes live, sometimes solo attempts. With so much of this amazing material available online, it seemed natural to offer up an 'alternate' EVIL ONE. Many of these other options are likely to thrill both the novice ROKY dabbler as well as the longtime devotee-- there are some truly wild performances here, and not all of them are well known.


The set is programmed to match the running order of the EVIL ONE cd, so kick back, open up your mind, and click your fingers applauding as you press PLAY.





1. TWO HEADED DOG
     Arguably the most perfect version of this classic was concocted for the slightly earlier Sponge EP, also recorded with the ALIENS.

TWO HEADED DOG





2. I THINK OF DEMONS
     Rarely attempted live until ROKY's 'comeback,' here is an impressive take with the NOMADS backing him in 2008 in front of an awesomely receptive audience,

I THINK UP DEMONS





3. CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN
      An unforgettable segment of the 1980 documentary MEETING WITH AN ALIEN featured ROKY performing this favorite in a windy graveyard. Begins with an amusing interview snippet and ends with the ol' devil horns.

CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN





4. THE WIND AND MORE
     This energetic performance with the EXPLOSIVES features some maniacal adlibbing from ERICKSON. This is matched with some more horror themed live footage from MEETING WITH AN ALIEN.

THE WIND AND MORE






5. DON'T SHAKE ME LUCIFER
     An enticing performance with the EXPLOSIVES features a tough, lean arrangement and is notably adorned by a rarely heard extra verse-- which surprisingly references his earlier band.

DON'T SHAKE ME LUCIFER


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 6. BLOODY HAMMER
      A great acoustic version from the uncommon LOVE TO SEE YOU BLEED cd, with an extra verse of lyrics!

BLOODY HAMMER






7. STAND FOR THE FIRE DEMON
     This highlight from the EXPLOSIVES backed CASTING THE RUNES is a performance which inspired ROKY to impressive passages of demented power.

STAND FOR THE FIRE DEMON





8. CLICK YOUR FINGERS APPLAUDING THE PLAY
      Though effective in its own right, the EVIL ONE attempt of this gem just can't match the relentlessly bashing throb of the earlier SPONGE ep take.

CLICK YOUR FINGERS APPLAUDING THE PLAY






9. IF YOU HAVE GHOSTS
     An EVIL ONE rarity for certain: not only untopped, but virtually unattempted elsewhere in any recorded form by ERICKSON. Suppose the only way to achieve 'EVILLER' in this instance is to throw in imagery from the 1962 cult horror film CARNIVAL OF SOULS. (This vid begins with a brief snippet of WHITE FACES. Don't worry. That's coming.)

IF YOU HAVE GHOSTS





10. I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE
     Another strong EXPLOSIVES live cut.

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE





11. NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE
     This startlingly devilish highlight from GREMLINS HAVE PICTURES captures what may be ERICKSON's finest moment with the EXPLOSIVES.

NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE





12. IT'S A COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS
      This thrilling alternate EVIL ONE take is powered by demonstrably more frenetic drumwork, and other impressive performance touches from the ALIENS.

IT'S A COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS





13. MINE MINE MIND
     Another superior SPONGE ep meditation.

MINE MINE MIND





14. SPUTNIK
      Leading off with a chorus instead of a verse, this dazzling EVIL ONE alternate take more than holds its own against the finally utilized version.

SPUTNIK: ALIEN I CREATOR





15. WHITE FACES
     The EVILLER ONE proper closes with one of this exercise's most amazing finds: an undeniably superior EVIL ONE take with an incredibly open throttle, full on freakout vocal explosion from ROKY. MUST be heard to be believed.

WHITE FACES










We'll wrap things up here with a few extra tastes of other versions which just fell short of the cut. There were only a few of my first choices not available online-- the Sympathy for the Record Industry live RESURRECTIONISTS cd BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has a great DON'T SHAKE ME LUCIFER, and that release's TWO HEADED DOG and COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS surely would have been considered. The LIVE IN DALLAS release with the NERVEBREAKERS features a particularly strong THE WIND AND MORE. Otherwise, the remaining ideal options were all findable. So were these appealing also rans.


16. TWO HEADED DOG
     Surely the toughest decision of this program was between the SPONGE ep take of TWO HEADED DOG and this DOUG SAHM produced original, which appeared on a 45 on the MARS label. Many prefer the nearly unhinged clamour of this version, but the devastating guitar work on the SPONGE ep tipped the scales in that direction.

TWO HEADED DOG





17. CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN
     The two cd collection THE EVIL ONE (PLUS ONE) reveals this tantalizing outtake with the ALIENS. Incomplete, but with far more dialogue from the film quoted.

CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN





18.NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE
      Another brief EVIL ONE alternate from the same release.

NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE





19. IT'S A COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS
     Another great EXPLOSIVES live track from GREMLINS HAVE PICTURES. Not as good as the RESURRECTIONISTS, but available.

IT'S A COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS





20. MINE MINE MIND
      A dark, moody solo performance.

MINE MINE MIND





21. BLOODY HAMMER
     This slightly varispeeded rough mix of the EVIL ONE version features not only more dominant guitars, but also continues well past the expected fadeout point to the absolute conclusion.


BLOODY HAMMER






22. TWO HEADED DOG
     In conclusion, one more highly obscure demo of TWO HEADED DOG.

TWO HEADED DOG









Thanx to the YOUTUBE posters of these precious materials.



For more great ROKY artifacts, please visit this fanpage:

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Hail the party.




2 comments:

  1. question: do you know who originally did the painting that you've posted at the top that was adapted for the cover of the record? really curious. thanks! amazing post / great blog!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! The image is an edit of the English movie poster art for CURSE OF THE DEMON (probable inspiration for STAND FOR THE FIRE DEMON by the way), but nobody seems to know who the artist was.
      Paste the link to check it out up close:
      http://wrongsideoftheart.com/wp-content/gallery/posters-c/curse_of_demon_poster_01.jpg

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