The Parable of Arable Land

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
After Houston-based International Artists Records enjoyed unexpected commercial success with one of the most eccentric bands to emerge from the State of Texas, the 13th Floor Elevators, the label's proprietors presumably set out to find some folks who were even weirder, and they found a band that fit the bill in the Red Crayola. The group's 1967 debut album, The Parable of Arable Land, actually documents the work of two different groups; the Red Crayola themselves conjure up a sound that's part psychedelia, part garage punk, and partly some sort of experimental rock that would not truly make itself known until many years down the road, and they generate an impressively ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
After Houston-based International Artists Records enjoyed unexpected commercial success with one of the most eccentric bands to emerge from the State of Texas, the 13th Floor Elevators, the label's proprietors presumably set out to find some folks who were even weirder, and they found a band that fit the bill in the Red Crayola. The group's 1967 debut album, The Parable of Arable Land, actually documents the work of two different groups; the Red Crayola themselves conjure up a sound that's part psychedelia, part garage punk, and partly some sort of experimental rock that would not truly make itself known until many years down the road, and they generate an impressively freaked-out energy on deliberately primitive numbers like "War Sucks" and "Hurricane Fighter Plane." Six of the 12 tracks on The Parable of Arable Land are devoted to the Red Crayola; the rest find the three members of the group collaborating with 45 friends, acquaintances, and fellow travelers credited as "the Familiar Ugly." The Familiar Ugly tracks are each credited as "Free Form Freakout," an inarguably apt description, and they feature the various participants making all manner of chaotic noise on musical instruments both real and imagined as well as various household objects, and though the roiling mass of sound occasionally threatens to cohere into something, within moments it invariably descends back into the sound of several dozen hippies trying to navigate their way out of a trap of their own lysergic imagination. The album allows the songs to rise in and out of the "Freakout" segments, a bit like an overheard conversation, and the Red Crayola seem to be having great fun making audio manipulation part of their music, particularly on the bent and noisy title track in which they descend into a familiar ugly of their own. However, compared to their later work, guitarist and vocalist Mayo Thompson, bassist Steve Cunningham, and drummer Rick Barthelme actually deliver relatively straightforward and coherent performances on the band tracks, which generate a spaced-out but potent groove. While the truly bent Texas psychedelic scene of the 1960s provided a context in which the Red Crayola could thrive, The Parable of Arable Land exists on a plane all its own; if art-damaged noise rock began anywhere, it was on this album. (The group changed its name to the Red Krayola to avoid a lawsuit after the release of this album, and it has appeared under both group names in various issues.)
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/12/1993
  • Label: Collectables
  • UPC: 090431055120
  • Catalog Number: 551
  • Sales rank: 91,496

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Red Krayola Primary Artist
Tommy Smith Drums
Technical Credits
Mayo Thompson Contributor
The Red Krayola Contributor
Walter Andrus Engineer
Rick Barthelme Contributor
Rick McCollum Contributor
Lelan Rogers Producer
Rick & Bubba Contributor
General Fox Liner Notes
Steve Cunningham Contributor
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