Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
So, realistically Timothy Leary, the Ron Jesus of LSD, probably shouldn't have stretched out into the musical arena, but I'm pretty glad that he did. While his collaboration with Ash Ra Tempel, "Seven Up," is typically pooed upon, it's actually one of my absolute favorite psychedelic albums. This earlier effort isn't as good as that one, but it's still a damn entertaining slab of vinyl. This disc was issued in conjunction with his strange gubernatorial campaign in California against Ronald Reagan. Of course, Leary probably had real business entering that field either, but it's way more entertaining that Donald Trump pretending to run for president. In Leary's words, "The function of government is to get everyone high and feeling good." Of course the truly disturbing parts are when Leary makes sense.
"Live and Let Live" takes up the first side with clips of Leary on the campaign trail backed with a musical jam from Leary's buddies. Fortunately, Leary's buddies consisted on Jimi Hendrix on bass, Stephen Still, John Sebastian, and Buddy Miles. None of them are at the top of their game - I imagine part of the deal was that Leary would keep them heavily 'medicated' - but it's still pretty to hear these guys casually rocking out. And of course if you lend your ears to Leary himself, you'll probably giggle a bit at his political platform, yet dig the words of the man. Side two gives us the title track, which is probably the best thing on the album. A heavily echoed Leary rants on about Hinduism, reincarnation, and the rat race as the music continually shifts - melding R&B jamming with classical Indian music, and a touch of the Beatles and the Floyd, along with some various electronic meddling. "What Do You Turn On When You Turn On" gives Leary a chance to explain his views on astrophysics and brain physiology, I guess. We'll just have to trust the professor on this one. The music simply jams out with tribal percussion, oscillators, and a bit of piano.
I think this album is a wonderful way to let Timothy Leary brainwash you from beyond the grave. Maybe my fellow Americans will even write him in for president in November. North Korea's got a necrocracy, why not us as well? Anyway, this disc will likely put off a fair amount of you, but if you're willing to follow Leary down the rabbit hole, you may dig what you find.