Probably a few musicians have been through the years so influential as Mayo Thompson and The Red Krayola and surely among all of them, he and his band are the most eccentric reality into psychedelic music and the one from the sixties that probably has had since now the less recognitions from the critics and from the so-called big audience.
Let’s try to fix some points. Number one, Mayo Thompson, he is a great guitarist, never seen no one playing like him, and I’ve watched a lot of guitarist performing in my whole life, and he has got a great voice, the perfect timbre to go with his brilliant and at the same time strange and allucinate compositions. Weird and crazy like the voice of his dear friend and formerly mate into Pere Ubu David Thomas, soft and sinuous as his guitar playings goes on and on.
Number two. Not everything Mayo Thompson and his band recorded trough the years has been released. In any case, it is in practice if not impossible, surely very difficult to reconstruite the entire discography of The Red Krayola. Also considering the unnembered collaborations they made through the years.
Number three. Among them, a relevant place it is dedicated to the performances The Red Krayola made and recorded with Art & Language, a group of conceptual artists founded in the end of the sixties and that through the years collaborated with the band in artistic and musical project which had politics and social contents (for example design studios for social and community initiatives development of trade unions). As consequence, number four: probably what haven’t given through the years to this band the notorious they deserve, it is also the fact The Red Krayola has never been something like ‘mainstream’. As a conceptual artists and involved into themes like social issues and politics, they couldn’t probably be considered not a traditional psychedelic band, neither they are something dedicated to an elected and limitated audience of intelectuals. Far from this, Mayo Thompson and his band are always been on the point. They were into the new wave at the beginning of the eighties and they were into post-rock and experimental music in the nineties with a long-time collaboration with artists as Jim O’Rourke and David Grubbs.
Number five. ‘Baby and Child Care’ is an album recorded in the 1984 (Mayo Thompson recorded other three albums with Art & Language those years and other two respectively in 2007 and 2010) with the two avant-garde theorists of Art & Language’s Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden and what was actually The Red Krayola ‘Black Snakes’ band.
Number six. In practice the record it is dedicated to what was actually the figure and the personality of the Dr. Benjamin McLane Spock, an USA pediatrician born in New Haven in 1903 and dead in La Jolla in 1998, famous for being the author of the book ‘Baby and Child Care’ (1946), a best-seller in which his most famous quote was actually a message to all the mothers, ‘You know more than you think you do.’
Number seven. I guess I probably now told you everything about this record. You now could eventually ask me, why? Because The Red Krayola and Art & Language decided to make an album dedicated to the thoughts of the Dr. Spock and why they’re releasing it now (the record it was out the last 13th of May via Drag City Records), more than thirty years after they recorded it. There’re actually no answers to this questions of course, but, think about it, it is not so strange that conceptual artists and a band with no rules as The Read Krayola are actually always been, they were interested in the thoughts of a revolutionary figure as the Dr. Spock. He was not just a pediatrician and a writer in fact. He was into social and political activism and he was candidated for the People’s Party in 1972, when he proposed a platform that called for free medical care, the repeal of victimless crime laws, including the legalization of abortion, homosexuality and cannabis, a guaranteed minimum income for familias and the immediate withdrawal of all American troops from foreign countries. So, just wow. He was not a pediatrician who pretended to learn people what they have to do with their babies and in their life, he was someone who tries to make you to improve your mind so that figuring out in growing up a baby, it could be in some sense also figuring out in becoming a woman or a man.
So. Here we have an album about child and baby care and about the Dr. Spock legacy. Why not? The rest it is rock’n’roll psychedelia and free form freak-out.
You can also read this review at http://machchapuchchare.blogspot.it/