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.