Outsider Music
July 1, 2002 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Outsider Music. From a mailing list, here's a concise description of what is really more an idea than a genre, per se. The Hip Surgery Music Guide has some info on the essential artrists of the phenomenon. If you wanted to stretch the definitions of the form you could include, some better-known artists as well. Unspoiled genius in the rough or merely crude freakshow appeal? The answer I believe is somewhere is somewhere in between. But in an age where most music is either a copy of what is currently popular or a revival of what used to be popular, Outsider Music is a place to go for a "Wow! What was that?" musical experience.
posted by jonmc (11 comments total)
For some more information on outsider music, see this article at the now somewhat defunct Audigalaxy.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:59 AM on July 1, 2002

The Hip Surgery Music Guide site looks like it will take some time to go through, but I'm looking forward to it just after seeing the opening graphic. I question some inclusions, though - Spike Jones? Roger Miller? Offbeat, maybe, but not really outsiders. Likewise, Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville) deserves credit as a legitimately popular recording artist for "Witch Doctor" alone.

Oh well - the random quote I got when I first went there is appropriate, I guess: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." - Steve Martin.
posted by yhbc at 12:10 PM on July 1, 2002

does brak count?
posted by kliuless at 12:24 PM on July 1, 2002

I have seen that "Talking about music..." line attributed to Frank Zappa and Elvis Costello, too. Does anyone know who originally said it?
posted by turaho at 12:36 PM on July 1, 2002

Well, I took the quote at face value, but a quick Google search turns up this guy, who has so far chronicled about a dozen or more people to whom the quote is frequently attributed, but has still not found the definite source. (warning - godawful green lettering on black background).
posted by yhbc at 12:42 PM on July 1, 2002

The kids of widney high are rad.
posted by ph00dz at 2:05 PM on July 1, 2002

warning - godawful green lettering on black background

Whadd'ya mean? Ah, sweet, sweet days of Apple IIe.
posted by vacapinta at 2:10 PM on July 1, 2002

Also falling within the scope of "outsider music" is the sub-genre of weird and hilarious "song poem" recordings:

The ads in the back of magazines would say "Send us your poems or song lyrics and we'll get them recorded. Big money could be yours!," or some such come-on. What it turns out to be is that you pay them to put music to your words, then they send you a couple of copies of it on their label. And that's all they do.

From the liner notes for Beat of the Traps, the first of many latter-day compilations of these recordings.
posted by nstop at 3:00 PM on July 1, 2002

I don't know whether we should be nominating our favourite Outsider Artists, but this man is the one of the most extraordinary performers I've ever seen (and I've seen him hundreds of times). I just hope he wouldn't mind me calling him an Outsider Artist.

The most outside OA I've ever seen was Smiley, but I don't have the energy right now to try to explain him.
posted by Grangousier at 3:57 PM on July 1, 2002

Beat of the Traps is a fun compilation. I believe it was put together by Tom Ardolino, drummer for NRBQ.
posted by macrone at 4:09 PM on July 1, 2002

Ssssssssyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyddddddddd. man.
posted by Satapher at 5:14 PM on July 1, 2002

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