ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons contributed the lead track to the album May the Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute to Roky Erickson, which was released as a limited-edition colored-vinyl LP on July 17th as part of the 2021 Record Store Day event and now also can be purchased on CD.
The album features a variety of mostly contemporary artists saluting late Texas psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson, who died in 2019 at age 71. Gibbons recorded a version of “(I’ve Got) Levitation,” a 1967 single by Erickson’s early band The 13th Floor Elevators, who was a big influence on Billy’s own music.
“[The 13th Floor Elevators] inspired me to start a group following in their footsteps called The Moving Sidewalks,” Gibbons tells ABC Audio, referring to his pre-ZZ Top band. “Elevators go up, sidewalks move forward, so it was a match made in heaven. We had a great admiration for everything that Roky did. And to this day, they remain great inspirations.”
The 13th Floor Elevators were best known for their debut single, “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” a minor 1966 chart hit that has become a garage-rock classic.
Acclaimed alt-country artist Lucinda Williams recorded a version of the song for May the Circle Remain Unbroken. Other artists featured on the tribute include Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy, ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan, Gary Clark Jr. and the duo of Alison Mosshart of The Kills and longtime Bob Dylan touring guitarist Charlie Sexton.
In addition to 13th Floor Elevators covers, the album features renditions songs from Erickson’s long solo career.
Reflecting on Roky’s passing, Gibbons says, “[H]e’s gone but not forgotten. We’ll have many more days of enjoying Roky Erickson and his great sounds.”
May the Circle Remain Unbroken is available at LightintheAttic.net. Here’s the track list:
“(I’ve Got) Levitation” — Billy Gibbons
“Starry Eyes” — Mosshart Sexton
“For You (I’d Do Anything) ” — Jeff Tweedy
“Clear Night for Love” — Lynn Castle & Mark Lanegan
“Don’t Fall Down” — The Black Angels
“Be and Bring Me Home” — Neko Case
“Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)” — Margo Price
“Roller Coaster” — Gary Clark Jr. & Eve Monsees
“Night of the Vampire” — Ty Segall
“You’re Gonna Miss Me” — Lucinda Williams
“If You Have Ghosts” — Chelsea Wolfe
“May the Circle Remain Unbroken” — Brogan Bentley
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