Roky Erickson

Never Say Goodbye

EJ-26 CD

"The phrase 'lo-fidelity field recordings,' which adorns the jewel case of Erickson's new Never Say Goodbye, is not often a mark of quality, but it's easy to overlook the album's sound quality: These previously unreleased songs are unbelievably good. Six of the tracks were recorded in 1971 during his time at Rusk, four are home recordings from 1974, and the rest are from 1985, and as a whole, the album places Erickson among the ranks of such singer/songwriters as Tim Buckley and Nick Drake in terms of naked honesty and sentimental intensity. Unlike the paranoiac creepshow songs Erickson wrote in the late '70s and early to mid-'80s, the songs on Goodbye are sweet, tender songs of love for another or all mankind. The musical and vocal delivery on "Birds'd Crash" add up to one of the most beautiful moments you'll hear, lo or hi fidelity. Erickson sounds like a psychedelic Woody Guthrie on "Be And Bring Me Home," and John Darnielle's liner notes are dead-on with regard to Erickson's musical rendition of "The Pledge Of Allegiance": It's just plain cool. This is the first Roky Erickson release in which Erickson maintains full ownership of the songs; there's a long and complicated history of labels dicking him on royalties because he was mentally ill. Consequently, all proceeds from the album go to benefit his trust fund. Even if they didn't, Never Say Goodbye would still be a haunting, phenomenal record that's bound to be one of the year's best. — Joe Garden, The Onion


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