I Walked With a Zombie

087_roky_evil-oneTRACK #87:

I Walked With A Zombie

by Roky Erickson & The Aliens

Roky Erickson’s a pretty far-out cat. So literally far-out in fact, that he once claimed he was an alien.

He was also admitted to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane where he underwent shock treatments, but that’s neither here nor there. Though the latter did occur before the former, I don’t mean to suggest that this clearly means he’s not actually an alien. Just saying…that happened too. It’s all pretty far out.

Originally the front man for psychedelia pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, Roky embarked on a solo career after being released from the hospital in ‘74. What resulted was an altogether different experience in the form of Roky Erickson & the Alien’s The Evil One.

The Evil One is a pretty great album featuring all kinds of groovy monster tunes that could easily find a home on the Shindig. Particularly, I Walked With A Zombie, which has been a standing member of the playlist for some time.

There’s not much to it, honestly. It’s just the title, repeated over and over again, with the addition of the words “last night” attached to every 3rd go ‘round.

However, I like this song. Its got a cool and catchy, almost 50’s sound to it that I can’t help but sing along to. Maybe you’ll find yourself doing the same.

Included are some samples from the songs namesake, 1943’s I Walked With A Zombie. Here’s Roky & The Aliens kicking off a little zombie block here on the Shindig.


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2 thoughts on “I Walked With a Zombie

  1. D. R. Dork says:

    The lyrics are not just the title phrase repeated. You missed the subtle but crucial variation between the verses. First “I walked with A zombie”, then “I walked with THE zombie”, then “I walked with Zombie”, as Roky gets more and more familiar with the zombie.

    • Indeed. Dr. Dork here raises an interesting point. Roky does in fact change the lyric from the indefinite article “A” to the definite article “The,” to finally dropping the article altogher.

      Does this suggest familiarity? Perhaps. We’re given no other lyrical indication that it does, however. And quite frankly, he only ever says “last night” suggesting he only actually walked with “a,” “the,” or just “zombie” one time. Doesn’t say how long of course. So maybe he did feel more comfortable with the zombie after a spell.

      What else happened? Did Roky himself become a zombie? Is that why the part of speech changes? Was there more than one zombie? “The” (and even the lapse in an article) could indicate it was a crowd. Maybe more joined the walk at some point in the evening.

      Or maybe he’s just drunk. Perhaps “zombie” does not refer to the creature at all, but the tropical drink.

      So many questions, Dr. Dork. I’m afraid only Roky knows for sure.

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