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Monday, June 8, 2009

Red Crayola Hurricane Fighter Plane

Check out these Red Crayola Hurricane Fighter Plane vids. This album recorded in 1967 is the cornerstone of the Red Crayola legend and one of the most famous records in avant-garde '60s rock. Originally released on the fabled international artists label, this album is an uncompromisingly weird artifact that moves right beyond psychedelic into freakishly strange. Having been recorded in a legendary one-day session where the core band (including singer / guitarist Mayo Thompson, bassist Steve Cunningham, and drummer Frederick Barthelme, invited a group of fellow freaks, including the 'Elevators' Roky Erickson, into the studio to record the 'Free Form Freakouts' which appear between the proper songs. Of those songs, the almost punky 'Hurricane Fighter Plane,' with a squalling organ solo by Erickson, and the plain freaky 'Pink Stainless Tail' are the highlights, but the whole thing is a sonic onslaught that makes Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica', its nearest point of comparison, sound downright normal.

More legend than functioning band for most of its four-decade-plus, on-again-off-again existence, the Red Crayola started off in the mid-'60s by playing whatever Houston clubs would book them. At the time, the RC was a rangy collective of psychedelic cavemen led by visionary icon-smasher Mayo Thompson, who would remain the band's only constant member over the years. The early Crayola climaxed its local career by competing in a 1966 battle of the bands at the Gulfgate Center Mall. Back then, the RC's anthemic "Hurricane Fighter Plane" functioned as a mere respite from the band's true specialty, improv jams identified simply as "Free-Form Freakouts." Fatefully, the Red Crayola were defeated at the battle of Gulfgate in the final round (by Johnny and Edgar Winter!), thus launching the band into a glorious, international obscurity that has continued unabated into the 21st century.

1 comment:

Russ said...

"Soldier Talk" from the early eighties is a worth while album if you can find it. It is billed as the Red Krayola, but is really Pere Ubu with Mayo Thompson doing lead vocals. Every once and a while you can hear David Thomas chiming in.