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The Outsider Music Mailing List is devoted to those songs that make you stop in dumbfounded wonder. Drawing partly on the art world concept of outsider art (or art brut, naive art, self-taught art, take your pick), outsider music includes all manner of incompetent but sincere recordings, music by the mentally challenged, industry rejects, eccentrics, singing celebrities (& don't they always sing?), lovable oddballs, grandiose statements, etc. The list is to encourage discussion of these artists, news of findings and even trades of recordings.
Anybody trying to be strange is not an outsider. Classic outsider music artists include--don't worry if these are unfamiliar names--The Shaggs, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jandek, Shooby Taylor, Wesley Willis, Brute Force, Ya Ho Wha 13/Father Yod, Little Marcy, song-poem singers, T. Valentine, Lucia Pamela, Fran Baskerville the Singing Psychic, Peter Grudzien, Arcesia, Anton Maiden, certain school bands, some street musicians and a host of others few people have ever heard. And of course the list of celebs inadvisedly essaying songs includes William Shatner, Jack Webb, Telly Savalas, Leonard Nimoy, Joey Bishop, Xaviera Hollander, Ed McMahon, Sebastian Cabot and even opera great José Carreras who did some stupefying Christmas recordings. There's much more info on the Resources Page.
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Outsider Music is NOT:
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The Outsider Music Mailing List is not moderated. However since it is aimed primarily at information and discussion please keep "me too" and "I agree" posts to a minimum. It's also helpful to clip unnecessary parts of an old post when making a response. E-mail attachments are not allowed. A digest version is available.
Like Portuguese and Spanish explorers, Irwin Chusid has made the first maps of outsider music in his book Songs in the Key of Z and in a radio show co-hosted by Michelle Boulé called Incorrect Music. Some outsider recordings have been released by Arf! Arf! Records and others but much tends to be found in more circuitous routes. Many links are on the Incorrect Music site. Also check out both volumes of Re/Search's Incredibly Strange Music but handle with caution since there's too much "aren't we hip" attitude; the Jello Biafra interview is a wonder though.
Other outsider music information can be found on our Resources Page.
Public archives of the list are available at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/outsidermusic (but you have to join the list to post). There's nothing in the archive before late June 2001 because the group used to be on Listbot before it went under.
Thanks, Lang Thompson, list owner
(You may also be interested in the webzine Adventures