the red krayola - born in flames (1980)

featuring lora logic (of x-ray spex and essential logic) on vocals.

Pink Stainless Tail
  • Pink Stainless Tail
  • The Red Crayola
  • The Parable Of Arable Land

While their first album, The Parable of Arable Land, is one of the essential drug trips of 1967, Red Krayola never reached the heights of swamp-psych ubiquity afforded their that-much-more conventional Texas contempos the 13th Floor Elevators. “Pink Stainless Tail” is the closest that album comes to barnburning Nuggets garage-surf, and it is killer. As in, like, a psychopathic dismembering butcher kind of killer.

Dear Betty Baby
  • Dear Betty Baby
  • Mayo Thompson
  • Corky's Debt To His Father

 mayo thompson- dear betty baby. from corky’s debt to his father. 

recorded in houston, released by tiny Texas Revolution in 1969. TR went under soon after, and the record disappeared. re-released on Glass Records in 1985. went out of print. rere-released on cd by Drag City and dexter’s cigar in 1994. rerere-released by Drag city on vinyl in 2008. vinyl is already out of print.  the cd is still out there. 

his only solo record… plenty of other records. a good history of his long running Red Krayola can be found over at Mutant Sounds.

 but this track gets me every time. 

maybe it’s the horns… jim o'rourke and will oldham did a song called Ebb’s Folly for the Dutch Harbor soundtrack (who’s got my DH VHS?) from around 1997. some horns (or are they?) pop up halfway through that sound closely related to the horns in this song.   

maybe it’s song-as-letter-to-someone. like: “sonny’s lettah” by linton kwesi johnson, “a soldier’s last letter” by ernest tubb, or “the day after tomorrow” by tom waits. but, as far as i can tell, nobody dies in this song. or do they?  the captain is crazy, betty’s beau is crying, and no sign from the waves...


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Radar (1979)

Depuis ses débuts au milieu des années 1960, Mayo Thompson, le leader de Red Crayola (ou Krayola), n’en a toujours fait qu’à sa tête, plus attiré qu’il a toujours été par ce qu’il a appelé les « free-forms freakouts » que par quoique ce soit d’autre en rapport avec le rock au sens strict. Ainsi figurent au palmarès de cette formation d’origine texane deux des disques les plus fous du psychédélisme, Parable Of Arable Land (1967) et God Bless The Red Krayola & All Who Sail With It (1968), deux albums de pur délire à base d’improvisations proches de l’esprit de ce que confectionnaient alors les Mothers Of Invention de Frank Zappa. L’idéologie hippie, quoique l’on puisse imaginer, a toujours été étrangère à Mayo Thompson qui s’est rapidement découvert des affinités avec le punk-rock britannique, au point d’aller s’installer en Grande-Bretagne, patrie qu’il pense alors plus réceptive aux musiques déviantes. Toujours est-il que c’est effectivement depuis l’Angleterre que Red Crayola offrira un écho fascinant à la no wave new-yorkaise naissante, comme le relate Soldier-Talk, produit en compagnie du Britannique Geoff Travis, connu des amateurs pour son travail au sein du label Rough Trade. Plus encore que l’écho de la no wave, il s’agit peut-être bien là d’une singulière passerelle tendue par-dessus l’Atlantique, puisque collaborent autour de Mayo Thompson rien moins que l’Anglaise Lora Logic, ex-X-Ray Spex, et Pere Ubu, de Cleveland, Ohio, au grand complet. Avec ces derniers, disons que celui qui fait office de leader partage un même sens de l’espace sonore, moderniste et industriel. Du coup aucune des chansons ne présente une structure habituelle. Et même si celles-ci s’avèrent faussement chaotiques, elles proposent bel et bien une déconstruction des normes d’une sidérante vivacité, où, sur des rythmes syncopés, des guitares singulièrement accordées vrillent des embryons de mélodies décharnées – cette démarche innovante séduira d’ailleurs les trublions du post-rock Jim O’Rourke, David Grubbs et John McEntire qui collaboreront tous avec Mayo Thompson. D’une étourdissante liberté de ton, Soldier-Talk se livre à une éblouissante relecture des canons inhérents au rock, en plongeant tête baissée dans les dissonances, comme dans ces embardées héritées du free jazz que l’on retrouve là tapies dans les moindres recoins.

( Frank Zappa, par là )

With the Raincoats, you have Vicky Aspinall, who’s a trained player. She can read it, and all that kind of stuff. And then, some primitives who have a feeling for music, like Ana da Silva, who’s got a certain kind of primitive relationship to it. She likes that scratchy, nasty guitar. I like it too, but I don’t want to make that the point of the record. If that’s the point of the record, then it’s a very simple, straightforward sort of thing to do. Whereas what they were doing seemed to me to be more complex than that. It was about this element, this feeling, that drives one to make music in the first place, and the whole idea that music somehow soothes the savage beast, belongs to the organism, and has something to do with the way we are, the feelings, and all those kinds of things. I would say that the Slits were more attitudinal, and the Raincoats were more musical. The Raincoats were not trying to convince anybody about who they were, or what kind of people they were, or those kinds of things.
Obsessive Nights #007

Obsessive Nights #007 Mayo Thompson - Horses Elevator To Hell - Everything Made More Sense Holy Shit - My Whole Life Story
Institute - Fate In A Pleasant Mood The Deviants - First Line (Seven The Row) The Coneheads - Out Of Conetrol The Coneheads - Waste'O'Space
Barbara Dane - When I Was A Young Girl Clyde Stacy and The Nitecaps - So Young Broadcast - Tears In The Typing Pool (demo) King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Hot Water Women - China Steps Lotus Plaza - Gemini Pt. 1



“Explain the Red Krayola? It cannot be—it shouldn’t be explainable. Unless I misunderstand art altogether… the game is to test the limits of popular music.”

  • Leejol
  • The Red Krayola
  • God Bless The Red Krayola And All Who Sail On It

God Bless The Red Krayola And All Who Sail With It is one of my favourite albums for reasons that are really hard to explain. At the risk of sounding ostentatious, it’s like trying to make sense of a baffling dream. It’s also unapologetically free and very spontaneous feeling. I’d almost say it’s more daring and just as forward thinking as what The Velvet Underground were doing at the time.