Songs in the Key of Z by Irwin Chusid

Songs_in_the_key_of_z Popular music has always had its mainstream artists, the perennial Top 40 folks that have defined, for better or worse, what usually airs on the radio.  But there are plenty of individuals who haven’t fit this pop music rat race at all, and whose sound and vision definitely haven’t jibed with the bigwigs in the music industry.  Beyond the gloss of slick production and high dollar record deals have always been the folks whose personal style, sheer quirkiness, and/or total lack of talent (or talent as is commonly perceived) have insured that they remain on the outer fringes of the tonal spectrum – in short, being the practitioners of what the author calls "outsider music."

The essays in this book prove that there has been far more goings-on in the musical scene besides catchy hooks and eye candy.  Heck, most of the people in these essays made their own scene, most without even trying.  Along the way, you’ll meet has-been record producers (Joe Meek), acid casualities (Syd Barrett), small town girl groups (The Shaggs), ukelele-toting songsters (Tiny Tim), and a slew of other originals who may have lacked in musical chops but not in inventiveness.  And, for those who want to learn more, there’s an extensive discography and bibliography to boot. 

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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