Saturday, December 27, 2008

Playlist: Eccentric blackness revisited

One of my favorite music posts of 2008 was labeled “Eccentric blackness.” It was a tribute to the impassioned weirdness of performers such as Wesley Willis.

The official term for this type of material is “outsider music.” Call it what you will... just give me more of it. Click the song titles below to hear a few of my latest acquisitions.

1. “In Canada” – B.J. Snowden

B.J. Snowden is, by day, a substitute schoolteacher in Massachusetts. Purportedly she holds a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

The fact that she sings badly hasn’t kept her from attracting a cult following. People are charmed by her child-like style. She has even appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

This 1996 track is Ms. Snowden’s signature song. I dedicate it to my loyal Canadian reader, Dollar Bill.

2. “Woman Your Smell, It Makes Me Well” – Elton White

If you haven’t had the pleasure of stumbling upon Elton and Betty White on MySpace, YouTube or elsewhere across the Internets, you’ve missed something. Elton flies his freak flag high and proud. Follow this link and you can find several Elton and Betty MP3s to download for free.

3. “Yellow Bird” – Joseph Spence

Joseph Spence was a guitarist and folksinger in the Bahamas. His guitar technique has many serious admirers. But Spence’s idiosyncratic vocalizations – as on this calypso standard, “Yellow Bird” – earn him a place in the Eccentric Blackness Hall of Fame. (Hat-tip: Uppity Music.)

4. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – Shooby Taylor

A commenter on the original “Eccentric blackness” thread pointed me to the late William “Shooby” Taylor. Shooby never made it as a scat singer. But his uniqueness has been rewarded with a nice Wikipedia entry.

Follow this link for some free Shooby Taylor downloads. And check out the video below to see Mr. Taylor get booed off stage at the Apollo.

12 comments:

Kellybelle said...

Don't tell anybody, but I think Betty sounds like Nina Simone.

Oh. The scat version of LEVAS. Oh.

S.O.L. said...

Hey UBM, you're aware no doubt that Elton and Betty White are regulars on the Venice Beach Boardwalk? Just in case, you know, you wanted to catch their act live and up close and in person. ;-)

Geneva Girl said...

May I assume that B.J. Snowden's degree from Berklee is not in vocal performance? Because if it is, they need to ask for it back. She sounds like that strange auntie we all have who goes off her off her meds just in time for the Christmas party.

Could you imagine being in her classroom and being subjected to her singing every day and not being allowed to laugh? Oh man, torture.

KeWayne said...

Geneva Girl said...
...sounds like that strange auntie we all have who goes off her off her meds just in time for the Christmas party.
*********
GG, That's sounds like my brother-in-law whose medication comes in pints and fifth's and he thinks he sounds like Nat King Cole...

DeAngelo Starnes said...

For the shower crooner and air-guitarist and, in general, the wannabe-musician in all of us, this was a great tribute.

More maestro please. I'm living a bizarre existence right now. Why not more?

bklyn6 said...

I can just picture B.J. Snowden in front of Simon, Randy, and Paula.

Jack J. said...

I had to stop laffin' to write this!

Remember Mrs. Miller from the 60's? Now we have our own: B.J. Snowden.

I think she's weet, just like ol' Mrs. Miller.

Sometime equality is funny.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Jack, I just remember Mrs. Miller sitting in the audience shootin' the shit with Merv Griffin in the '70s. I've never seen her sing.

Undercover Black Man said...

Hey UBM, you're aware no doubt that Elton and Betty White are regulars on the Venice Beach Boardwalk?

Thanks, S.O.L. I need to make that trip.

cnulan said...

too late now man, betty been dead....,

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Whaaat?

Dollar Bill said...

Have some Joseph Spence in the store right now.
A aquired taste in the Missippi John Hurt vein to be sure.