The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators first entered my conscience after receiving Robert Palmer's Rock and Roll: An Unruly History for Christmas in 6th grade. One of the best chapters in the book, "Eight Miles High" features a picture of The 13th Floor Elevators first record, known by heads as "The All Seeing Eye." Once you see it, it's all over.
One of, if not, the first truly psychedelic band, The 13th Floor Elevators represented a clear shift in consciousness, not only in their super reverberated R&B, but in their unequaled "quest for pure sanity." For example, the liner notes for The Psychedelic Sounds... read like some sort of avant-psych manifesto:
Recently, it has become possible for man to chemically alter his mental state and thus alter his point of view...He then can restructure his thinking and change his language so that his thoughts bear more relation to his life and his problems, therefore approaching them more sanely. It is this quest for pure sanity that forms the basis of the songs on this albumThe 13th Floor Elevators convey this hedonistic psychedelic voyage on songs like the frantic, reverb soaked "Fire Engine", which features the reverberating whirl of the electric jug amongst lyrics like "Let me take you to the empty place in my fire engine/ it can drive you out of your mind." The dark trip doesn't end their, as everything the 13th Floor Elevators touched was soaked in a haunting blend of LSD, best exemplified in "Reverberation."
Two years ahead of the San Francisco psychedelic revolution, The 13th Floor Elevators paved the way for acid-heads for years to come by getting freaky-deaky and looking perpetually inward, making The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators a sort of white American equivalent to The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
The 13th Floor Elevators- You Don't Know (How Young You Are)
The 13th Floor Elevators- Fire Engine
The 13th Floor Elevators- Reverberation
"Your Gonna Miss Me" Live on American Bandstand