Kingdom of Heaven

by: 13th Floor Elevators

The 13th Floor Elevators were the true pioneers of psychedelic rock, determined to push their music in new and radical directions at a time (the mid-'60s) when pop music was still reluctant to embrace the innovations of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, and in a place (Texas) where their experimentation with hallucinogens was considered a threat by law enforcement officials. While the Elevators recorded three excellent studio albums, their live shows are the stuff of legend, and Kingdom of Heaven is a sampler that collects 15 tunes from surviving recordings of the group in concert. The bulk of this material can be found on the career-spanning 13th Floor Elevators box set Sign of the 3 Eyed Men, and the best tracks, from a blazing and cleanly recorded San Francisco concert, can be found on the grey market release Avalon '66, but this collection also features some selections from the band's stellar appearance on the local television show Sump N' Else. Kingdom of Heaven is a sampler that confirms the 13th Floor Elevators were truly a force to be reckoned with on-stage, and is well worth investigating for those already familiar with their studio work. ~ Mark Deming

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