Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Texas Freak Out n' the Familiar Ugly

My older cousins George n' Phil had the record collection I envied as a kid of no income in '66. My Sunday visits with the relatives were mostly spent spinning new records that leaned stacked, lining the baseboards of their room. 'The 13th Floor Elevators' wobbling organ sound lifted me off the carpet... 'Yea, they're from Texas', George said, as his brother danced, cupping his mouth to create the elevating keyboard sound.
Later, a familiar feral harmonica wormed into my ear out of my friend Wally's family stereo console. He played me The Red Crayola's 'Parable of Arable Land'.

 Another psychedelic band from Texas who's 'Free Form Freak Out' tracks were joined by 'The Familiar Ugly';  friends and followers including Roky Erickson, singer, harmonica, guitar of The 13th Floor.
These 'free form' tracks were with layers of instrument and vocals atop electronic tape loops inspired I'm sure by the American minimalist composer, Terry Riley (who I much later discovered). It seemed many were inspired and experimenting with looping, from The Beatles and The Soft Machine in the UK to Zappa in L.A.

I was happy to see that Mayo Thompson, the leader of The Red Crayola (now Red Krayola) was still active and continuing his 'Familiar Ugly' collaborations with the likes of Jim O'Rourke to John McEntire of Chicago's 'Tortoise'. The Newer releases of RK can be found on the Drag City label in the good company of The Sun City Girls, another 'non conforming' favorite of mine.

There have been many bands covering the early work of The Red Krayola.
From their first '66 release, 'Parable of Arable'...
                              so nice to hear 'Transparent Radiation' done densely by Spaceman3.