Alternative Fox presents a reissue of Roky Erickson‘s “Clear Night For Love”, originally released in 1985. Dallas-born Roger Kynard Erickson, better known as Roky Erickson, is a legend of psychedelic music and culture.
Playing piano at five years old and guitar at ten, he dropped out of high school in Austin shortly before graduating, since the school dress code demanded short hair. In 1965, his group, The Spades, made an impact with “We Sell Soul” and the following year, The 13th Floor Elevators burst onto the scene with debut album “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators” (1966), but the band’s non-conformist attitude and open endorsement of drugs, such as marijuana and LSD, put them in repeated conflict with the authorities. Then, in 1968, during a performance at the San Antonio edition of the World’s Fair, known as HemisFare, Erickson began speaking incomprehensible nonsense on stage, leading to a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and confinement in a Houston psychiatric hospital, where he was forcibly given electroshock therapy.
The following year, after being busted with a single joint, Erickson pleaded not guilty by means of insanity, leading to a three-year stay in Rusk State Hospital, with further electroshock and Thorazine treatments. Following his release Erickson formed a group initially called Bleib Alien, which evidenced a more hard-rock orientation, later renamed The Aliens, though Erickson was also working with Austin’s The Explosives in the same era. Alien’s material produced by Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Rival was issued by CBS and an independent, 415 Records.
Then, in the early 1980s, Erickson became fixated with junk mail and unsolicited letters, writing to lawyers and celebrity figures on a regular basis; in 1985, solo mini-LP “Clear Night For Love” was produced at Music Tracks in Austin by bassist/guitarist Speedy Sparks, with former Joe “King” Carrasco and Delbert McClinton drummer, Ernie Durawa, plus Supernatural Family Band alumnus John Reed on guitar. Released by France’s New Rose label in small numbers, the release found Erickson back in semi-psychedelic/country rock mode on opening track “You Don’t Love Me Yet”, the plaintive “Starry Eyes”, and the anthem-like title track, while “The Haunt” is more in swamp/horror rock vein and “Don’t Slander Me” has heavy blues leanings.