Friday, November 06, 2009

For the Caveman Won't Leave You Alone

Once upon a time, Roky Erickson of Austin, Texas, helped pioneer psychedelic rock via The Spades ("We Sell Soul") and The 13th Floor Eelvators. His impact was significant enough to inspire Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson (1990) and to renewed efforts by Erickson, plus more recent releases of his earlier work.

One of my favorite tracks on the tribute compilation is Welsh-born Julian Cope's variation on Erickson's "I Have Always Been Here Before." Cope's lyric set, except for repeating the song title in a chorus, is almost entirely different -- and cooler. Cope, besides being a musician, has written six books, including two on European Neolithic sites (those stone circles and all).

Haven't been able to find any transcriptions of Cope's version; so, here's my own quick and dirty take:

I Have Always Been Here Before (Julian Cope version)

From the Long Barrows of Wiltshire to the Pyramids
From the stone circles that challenge the scientists
And the Neolithics that tread the ancient avenues
The children that died forever more exist
For the Caveman won't leave you alone
For you and your gods alone
For leaving the centuries
For leaping the centuries

[Chorus:] I have always been here before
Belief in my mind's opened the door . . .

Look behind you, look behind you, you are always there
Twenty-one years old -- or maybe twenty more . . .
Obelisks will mark the place you fell
Where children play they will mark the place you fell
You are perfect, you are immeasurable
Comes death -- oh, no mortal remains
Like the grey weather stones you shelter behind
You are a monument of your very own

We sell soul (repeat)

The childish man shrinks back from the unknown world
And the grown man is threatened by sacrifice
He so ever protects himself from what is new and strange
Just ask the man who's running from the Past

(Chorus -- fade out).

For more on the Wiltshire Barrows, here's a link: ; Images are of petroglyphs in lands now known as Canada and Sweden.

Today's Rune: Defense.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'll have to see if I can find this for Lana. Sounds like something she'd like.

Johnny Yen said...

A friend who owns a record store recently posted a thing about Roky Erikson-- to get him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I love a bunch of his stuff-- a particular favorite is "The Creature With an Atom Brain."

Johnny Yen said...

BTW, did you recommend "Protagonist?" I could have sworn I found out about it on your blog, but I can't find mention of it here.

jodi said...

Erik, you are amazingly well versed in music. I, on the other hand still listen to old disco!

Craig said...

This tune has long been one of my favs. I've been tryin' to figure out the lyrics for awhile now. Regarding the 8th line, I tentatively have:

formed deep in the centuries

and, on the 2nd to last line:

He so ever protects himself from all these new age dreams

Whaddya think?

Erik Donald France said...

Craig -- such a cool cool song. I like it, your lines work perfectly!

upriver said...

you missed a crucial part... the lines "we sell soul" are a nod to the 13th Floor Elevators proto-band the Spades. The Spades "We Sell Soul" became the elevators hit "Dont Fall Down". Nice post!