Roky Erickson

Hide Behind the Sun

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The spate of cynical cash-in recordings from the "lookit the weird crazy guy who believes in demons" '80s having at least temporarily dried up, the trend in Roky Erickson bootlegs from the turn of the millennium was in audience tapes from the 13th Floor Elevators days and before. Hide Behind the Sun, from 2000, combines the crassest aspects of both in one miserable, barrel-scraping release. First comes the false advertising of the circa-1966 cover photo, suggesting that these 1976 and 1984 tapes are of an older vintage (along with the highly dubious "authorized bootleg" claim on the cover, unlikely considering that these tapes have been making the Erickson fan circuit ever since they were recorded). The contents are what's commonly known as the "Roky's Living Room" tape from 1984 and the "California Coffeehouse" tape from 1976. The 1984 tracks (tracks one through nine) are acoustic covers of '60s folk-pop hits, including two each by Bob Dylan and Donovan and a lugubrious take on the coffeehouse favorite "Baby Let Me Follow You Down," which Erickson had played as far back as the Elevators days. The slightly more interesting 1976 recordings (tracks 10 through 15) include a smattering of originals, from the Elevators classics "Splash 1" and "I"m Gonna Free Her" to the new tunes "Hide Behind the Sun" and "Bermuda." This tape was made in front of an appreciative crowd just as Erickson was starting his post-lockup comeback, but despite its historical interest, the sound quality is simply abysmal. Buyer beware: Better-sounding copies of these uncopyrighted tapes are out there if one knows where to look.

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