The Krayolas* – long leaf pine (no smack gum) on Box Records
By Rod Ames
Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s and right on into the decades of the 80’s and until his untimely death on November 18, 1999, I was and have remained a huge fan of Doug Sahm. It all started with the Sir Douglas Quintet and ended with The Texas Tornados. He was, and still is an inspiration for tens of thousands adoring fans and musicians. He remains an inspiration to us all to this day.
However, this article isn’t about him. It’s about one of his many inspired. It’s about a band out of San Antonio, Texas, Sir Doug’s hometown. This article is all about The Krayolas* and their music. It was no coincidence that Sir Doug’s daughter, Dawn, turned me on to this band. We met a few years ago and have remained friends over the years.
Sometimes I feel as if I’ve been sleeping under a rock or something. Why hadn’t I heard of these guys before? They’ve been around, playing and recording together at least since the 80’s. I have always prided myself in being in the know when it comes to music, yet this incredibly talented band had evaded my ears all of these years. Then, I realized, it’s not entirely my fault. It’s the major record labels who seem to “own” radio stations these days and prevent things like this from getting the air play it deserves.
The Krayolas* (www.thekrayolas.com) consist of Hector Saldana on lead vocals, rhythm and electric 12 string guitar, David Saldana on drums and lead vocals on “A Frame” and “Hurtin’ Me Baby”, “Fish Out Of Water”, and the Spanish vocals on “Corrido 12 Heads in a Bag” along with harmony vocals and percussion, Van Baines on Lead and pedal steel guitar, and Abraham Humphrey on bass. They are helped out by Max Baca on the bajo sexton and Michael Guerra (Tex Mex Experience with Shawn Sahm) on the accordion. Luvine Elias plays the piano and organ on two or three songs from the record as well. Finally, Wayne Harper jumps in to help out on lead guitar on a couple tracks too.
These guys, and you can tell by the very first cut on the record, “Marie Laveau”, are heavily influenced by Doug Sahm, but it’s much more than that.
They have been compared to Bob Dylan (“Corrido 12 Heads in a Bag”), The Beatles (“So Happy” and “Matter of Time”), and Los Lobos (“Chola Song”). Augie Meyers has recorded with them before and is on this record, of course, playing the Vox organ he has helped to make so famous. He has also produced for the band as well.
Long leaf pine (no smack gum) is nothing short of brilliant. The tunes are all original , with the exception of “It’s Gonna Be Easy”, written by Atwood Allen, and “I Wanna Fall in Love Again”, written by Augie Meyers, and should be heard by the masses.
As much as I’d love for these guys to be discovered and hit the big time, I have to admit there is the selfish part of me which hopes they remain just under the radar. That way, they won’t be influenced by some major record label somewhere, who will undoubtedly swoop down like the vultures they are, cutting out their heart that connects them to their very soul, which enables them to create such wonderfully inspired music which resides on very nearly every single track on this record.
There is literally something for everyone on this record. In a lot of cases that would leave you thinking, “who are these guys?” or “what direction are they trying to go in?” Not here though. It all happens almost seamlessly. Even though they are obviously inspired by some great artists, their sound definitely remains their own.
The record is eloquently produced and mixed by Joe Trevino and was recorded at Blue Cat Studio in San Antonio, Texas. The horn section is courtesy of The West Side Horns, and is a very very nice compliment to to several tracks, most notable on “Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time” and “Find a Girl”. They help to take the record to a whole new level.
This album is so good; it was absolutely an impossible task to find a song I could honestly say was my favorite. Every song on the album is great. The album contains fifteen tracks so you are surely getting your money’s worth on this gem of a record.
‘Rebel’ Rod says to absolutely, without a doubt, immediately, without hesitation, go buy this record.
Thanks Dawn, for turning me on to this wonderful band.