Outsider music

"Songs in the Key of Z (Vol. 2)" is an ear-opening collection of eccentric and weird songs from Irwin Chusid's radio show "Incorrect Music."

Published February 21, 2003 4:07PM (EST)

Various Artists
"Songs in the Key of Z" [Vol. II]

Out now on Gammon Records

Irwin Chusid could be described as half music archaeologist and half sideshow barker. For five years, he co-hosted a weekly radio show on New Jersey freeform radio station WFMU called "Incorrect Music." The show, in his own words, was "an asylum of crackpot and visionary music, covering sounds that are atrocious, outsider, blasphemous, or just plain wrong." Chusid has unearthed gems from amateur girl rockers the Shaggs, multi-instrumentalist space-lady Lucia Pamela and Mexican lounge composer Esquivel.

While the show is no longer aired, some of its highlights have been collected in the series "Songs in the Key of Z." This second volume includes a brash, a cappella description of a striptease titled "Curly Toes," a song that circulated via tape-swapping; its original source has unfortunately been lost. The curious collection also features Shooby "The Human Horn" Taylor, whose taped version of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," in which he spastically scats over a Farfisa rendition of the 1920s NAACP anthem, was left in his New York studio. Later, one Wayne Pereira offers a haunting, heartfelt ode to his well-endowed lover on "Deep Bosom Woman," singing "You know she squeeze me 'til I don't want no more."

The passion of these uninhibited outsider musicians often exceeds their talent, and the results might not be appreciated by the casual listener. But those who seek out the eccentric and weird will find an ear-opening experience of raw, inventive and highly amusing songs. The liner notes helpfully warn, "If all you hear are the imperfections, your ears are wrong."

By Salon Staff

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