Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music (Paperback)

Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music By Irwin Chusid Cover Image

Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music (Paperback)


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Outsider musicians can be the product of damaged DNA, alien abduction, drug fry, demonic possession, or simply sheer obliviousness. This book profiles dozens of outsider musicians, both prominent and obscure—figures such as The Shaggs, Syd Barrett, Tiny Tim, Jandek, Captain Beefheart, Daniel Johnston, Harry Partch, and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy—and presents their strange life stories along with photographs, interviews, cartoons, and discographies. About the only things these self-taught artists have in common are an utter lack of conventional tunefulness and an overabundance of earnestness and passion. But, believe it or not, they’re worth listening to, often outmatching all contenders for inventiveness and originality.

A <A HREF=“”>CD</A> featuring songs by artists profiled in the book is also available.
Irwin Chusid is a record producer, WFMU radio personality, journalist, and music historian. He has produced landmark reissue albums of the music of Raymond Scott, Esquivel, The Shaggs, and the Langley Schools Music Project, among others. He is also the author of The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora.
Product Details ISBN: 9781556523724
ISBN-10: 1556523726
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Publication Date: April 1st, 2000
Pages: 272
Language: English
“Essential reading about the fringes of popular music.”  —Booklist

“[Chusid] possesses a knowledge of music culture that most contemporary rock critics think they have. Guaranteed: this book will take readers to record stores searching for Chusid's list of musical miscreants.”  —Library Journal

“A significant achievement.”  —Notes

Songs in the Key of Z is a zesty garnish to Irwin Chusid's thick sauce of knowledge, written with an appreciation that makes us want to share in the cacophonous fun. A must-read for anyone who enjoys the weird side of the human soul, and I speak as an authority on human weirdness.”  —Ken Smith, coauthor, Roadside America