In 1968, the 13th Floor Elevators were dealing with legal troubles and personal strife that prevented them from touring, but they still had a reputation in Texas as a powerful live act, and their label, International Artists, wanted to capitalize on that by releasing an album of the group in concert. However, IA's attempt to record a live Elevators album in 1967 proved little short of disastrous -- the group was booked into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable venue in Houston and guitarist Stacy Sutherland had a bad reaction to the LSD he customarily took before a show, and the results were well recorded but musically ragged. So the folks at IA decided to simply invent an Elevators live disc -- Live is an often laughable collection of unreleased studio recordings and album cuts overdubbed with crowd noises (reportedly taken from a boxing match) kicked off by an announcer declaring "We're all gathered together here for psychedelic music! We all are a family!" with the sincerity and hippie fervor of a used car salesman. Despite all this, Live is not without interest for serious Elevators fans. Beneath the sound effects, there are several excellent early performances that otherwise appeared only on B-sides or bootlegs, including some fiery covers (great versions of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," "Before You Accuse Me," and "I'm Gonna Love You Too") and little-heard group originals ("You Gotta Take That Girl" and "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore"). However, the versions of "You're Gonna Miss Me," "Tried to Hide," and "She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)" are the same ones that appeared on The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators or Easter Everywhere, albeit in curious stereo mixes with the canned audience bobbing up and down throughout. The 2010 collection Headstone: The Contact Sessions features the rare material on Live in its original form (no crowd noises and in considerably better fidelity), rendering Live pointless for most listeners, though the kitsch factor of this obviously phony concert makes it entertaining for folks with a taste for arcane psychedelic artifacts.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming