The Outcasts (Texas band)

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The Outcasts
Outcasts-bandphoto.jpg
Background information
Origin San Antonio, Texas
Genres Garage rock
Years active 1963–1968
Labels Outcast Records
Askel Records
Gallant Records
Past members Buddy Carson
Rickey Wright
Denny Turner
Jim Carsten
Jim Ryan
Galen Niles

The Outcasts are a garage rock band from San Antonio, Texas that released a total of five singles between 1965 and 1967. Their most well-known songs are I'm in Pittsburgh (And it's Raining), and 1523 Blair; their recordings have been reissued on many compilation albums. According to the Ugly Things compilation album notes, they are the best known of at least 10 bands of this name that were active in the mid-1960s, followed by the band from Manhasset, New York (see below for others).[1]

Formation[edit]

The Outcasts were formed in San Antonio in late 1963 by Buddy Carson, Rickey Wright and Denny Turner.[2] In late 1964, Jim Carsten and then Jim Ryan joined the band.[3] This line-up prevailed until the band's fifth single, when Galen Niles replaced Denny Turner on guitar. In 1964, Denny designed a logo and slogan for the band, "Music from the OUTER LIMITS", taken from the name of the popular science-fiction TV show of the period, The Outer Limits. The band had the logo emblazoned on the backs of their uniforms and also issued business cards with a similar design.

Early direction for the band came from Mike Post, whose many later musical credits include producing the first three albums for The First Edition and creating the theme music for Law & Order, the Rockford Files, Hill Street Blues and many other TV shows. Post was the songwriter and producer of the band's first single.[4] He also recruited the Outcasts as the back-up band for a performance by Jimmy Carlson (who was active in the New York folk music scene) and Jimmy Hawkins (who later worked in Elvis Presley films and on the Donna Reed Show).

Brushes with fame[edit]

According to member Denny Turner, they had all of the trappings of a successful rock band: a succession of managers (Sally Senter and Major John Carson), go-go dancers, a fan club with a regular newsletter, and adoring fans. Their performances at area military clubs led to gigs as opening act for Herman's Hermits in San Antonio and Austin. In 1965, the Outcasts were even invited to appear in Houston, Texas with the Beatles. but turned down the opportunity; the Five Americans took their place at the concert.

Ticket for an Outcasts show w/ 13th Floor Elevators

In May 1966, they shared a bill with the 13th Floor Elevators (ticket pictured) and also appeared at Texas Teen Fairs and other venues with such popular acts as Lou Christie, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon, and the Rolling Stones.[5]

The Outcasts regularly participated in Battle of the Bands competitions, usually placing first or second;[5] in 1966, the band won the competition statewide,[6] at the peak of garage rock fervor, beating the large number of bands that were then active in Texas. (No other state is so heavily collected today in compilation albums of garage rock and psychedelic rock music; as one example, the landmark Highs in the Mid-Sixties series devotes five of their twenty-three volumes to bands from Texas.)

Break-up and beyond[edit]

The band dissolved in 1968; founding member Carson died of hepatitis that same year.[7]

  • Denny Turner continues to write and record music, and he also sells and repairs vintage guitars for his store called Denny's Guitars, based in northern Oahu, Hawaii. He is also a multi-media artist and music teacher and has a home recording studio.
  • Jim Ryan is a public school music teacher in San Antonio who owns and manages Braindance Ink,[8] a multi-lingual music production company specializing in the creation of songs, dances and games based on folk music for music education classes.
  • Galen Niles was the guitarist in two well-regarded Texas hard rock bands, Homer and Ultra during the 1970s and is still active in music. The Ultra tracks were reissued on Monster Records in 2000 and on Vintage Records in 2010.
  • Jim Carsten went into law enforcement and was once a county sheriff; he is now a security consultant.
  • Buddy Carson died from complications of hepatitis in 1968.
  • Rickey Wright died in an automobile accident in 2000.

Other bands called the Outcasts[edit]

"The Outcasts", with various spelling variants, has been a fairly common name for rock bands for many years; at least 10 bands were using this name during the mid-1960s. This has led to some confusion among these varied groups.

One common misconception has to do with the 1960s band The Outcasts from Manhasset, New York,[9] whose recordings were reissued by the same Collectables label, even before they featured the Texas band. In the mid-1980s, Cicadelic Records released two archival albums by the New York group: Meet the Outcasts! (studio recordings, mostly previously unreleased), and Live! Standing Room Only (a 1967 concert). In 1993, Collectables reissued both albums on CD, with additional songs that include Society's Child, and Get It On. Popular recordings (reissued on compilations) of this band are Don't Press Your Luck, I Didn't Have To Love Her Anymore, Nothing But Love, Set Me Free and their unique versions of Walk On By and Gloria.

Another band called the Outcasts recorded several tracks backing Linda Pierre King,[10] an artist featured on a compilation of female garage rock artists from Texas, We Had the Beat / The Heartbeats & Other Texas Girls of the 60s. That album's liner notes suggested that the San Antonio band had backed her on these songs, a natural mistake, since King is from Houston, and the record label that released the final single by the Outcasts, Gallant Records, was based there.

Songs[edit]

The 1995 retrospective I'm in Pittsburgh and It's Raining (15 tracks, all the band's music on the Collectables label) omits the band's first single, Nothing Ever Comes Easy b/w Oriental Express; according to the CD's brief liner notes, it was "not up-to-par with their subsequent releases."[11] Since neither side has yet been issued on a compilation album, we have only band member Jim Ryan's description: the first is "a very tender, yearning ballad with some nice changes and arrangement by a talented composer [Mike Post]. The B-side [is] a surf instrumental that rocked in fifths to give that Asian sound."[6]

I'm in Pittsburgh (And it's Raining) embodied much of the innocence and charm of garage rock, as well as the less-than-slick production common of the 1960s garage sound.[citation needed] This was the band's most successful single, receiving national airplay and charting locally in San Antonio and also in Houston and Austin, Texas. The opening lyrics – I'm in Pittsburgh and it's rainin' / I'm sittin' in the subway here complainin' – contain an error of fact (Pittsburgh does not have a subway system), which cooled off the initial rush of record sales in that city.[6] The title lyric was taken from Mountain's first lines of dialogue in the Rod Serling teleplay Requiem for a Heavyweight, the theatrical film version of which had been released three years before the song was composed. This track was included in the first of the Pebbles compilation albums, where the original liner notes call this song a "blistering punk-rocker, which has been compared to the Pretty Things at their best."

Numerous bands have released covers of this song over the years. Perhaps best known is the 1990 cover by the Cynics, from Pittsburgh; others have been recorded by the Flies, the Vibes and the Go-Devils. The original version of the song was re-pressed in 1977 as a bootleg recording in Amsterdam, and marketed to new wave fans, with the band name changed to the Kicks.[12]

The band's last single, 1523 Blair features a "wind-up" introduction, followed by guitar riffs played at a furious pace, then barely intelligible lyrics, all at a blistering tempo. (The title was taken from the address of the Doyle Jones recording studio in Houston.) One recent reviewer remarked, "The music on this selection is jarringly experimental, the spirit is possessed fervor. '1523 Blair' is one minute and forty seven seconds long because it couldn’t have possibly been any longer".[13] This song inspired the name of a British psychedelic rock band, Blair 1523 (Bomp! Records released their lone album in 1993, after the band had already broken up).

The Outcasts tried their hand at many styles, from protest songs (Price of Victory), blues (Sweet Mary), to instrumentals (Come on Over and The Birds) and romantic ballads (I'll Set You Free and Everyday). The Outcasts also recorded covers, notably Smokestack Lightning and Route 66.

Band members[edit]

  • Denny Turner, lead guitar, autoharp
  • Buddy Carson, keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Rickey Wright, drums
  • Jim Carsten, rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Jim Ryan, bass guitar, vocals'
  • Galen Niles, lead guitar (replacing Denny Turner for the final single)

Discography[edit]

The retrospective album[edit]

Singles[edit]

[14]

  • "Nothing Ever Comes Easy" b/w "Oriental Express"; Outcast Records (#6865)
  • "I'm in Pittsburgh (And it's Raining)" b/w "Price of Victory"; Askel Records (#102)
  • "I'll Set You Free" b/w "Everyday"; Askel Records (#104)
  • "Route 66" b/w "Everyday"; Askel Records (#107) – Alternate version of "B" side
  • "1523 Blair" b/w "Smokestack Lightning"; Gallant Records (#101)

Compilation albums[edit]

[15] "I’m in Pittsburgh (And it’s Raining)" is featured on:

  1. Pebbles, Volume 1 (1978 LP, Mastercharge Records)
  2. Great Pebbles, Volume 1 (CD)
  3. Texas Punk: 1966, Volume 2 (LP)
  4. Flashback, Volume 2 (LP)
  5. Acid Visions, Volume 6 (CD)
  6. Acid Visions - The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)
  7. Green Crystal Ties, Volume 8 (CD)
  8. Garage Beat '66, Volume 7 (CD)
  9. Uptight Tonight (CD)
  10. Texas Flashbacks, Volume 2 (CD)

"1523 Blair" is featured on:

  1. Acid Dreams (1979 LP, CD)
  2. Mayhem & Psychosis, Volume 2 (LP)
  3. Teenage Shutdown, Volume 4 (LP and CD)
  4. Songs We Taught The Fuzztones (1993 LP and CD)
  5. Texas Punk Groups From The Sixties, Volume 1 (LP)
  6. Acid Dreams Testament (CD, extended version of Acid Dreams)
  7. The Complete Acid Dreams (box set, extended version of Acid Dreams)
  8. Sixties Archives, Volume 2 (CD)
  9. Ya Gotta Have Moxie!, Volume 1 (CD) – this song is marked on the track listing for the CD as “The Chocolate Mousse Theme” by the Chocolate Mousse.

"I’ll Set You Free" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk: 1966, Volume 2 (LP)
  2. Acid Dreams Testament (CD)
  3. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)
  4. The Complete Acid Dreams (box set)

"Everyday" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk, Volume 3 (LP)
  2. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)

"My Love" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk, Volume 3 (LP)
  2. Acid Visions, Volume 6 (CD)
  3. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)

"Sweet Mary" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk: 1966, Volume 2 (LP)
  2. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)

"What Price Victory?"

  1. Texas Punk, Volume 3 (LP)
  2. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)

"The Birds" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk: 1966, Volume 2 (LP)
  2. Acid Visions, Volume 6 (CD)
  3. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)

"Smokestack Lightning" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk Groups From The Sixties, Volume 1 (LP)
  2. Texas Punk: 1966, Volume 2 (LP)
  3. Endless Journey Phase 1 (LP)
  4. Endless Journey (CD)
  5. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)
  6. Sixties Archives, Volume 2 (CD)

"Route 66" is featured on:

  1. Texas Punk: 1966, Volume 2 (LP)
  2. Green Crystal Ties, Volume 8 (CD)
  3. Acid Visions, Volume 6 (CD)
  4. Acid Visions – The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (CD)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://comps.ugly-things.com/compsproject/intro.php "Searchin' for Shakes" compilation album database, Ugly Things fanzine.
  2. ^ Bandmember Denny Turner's website on the Outcasts, www.dennysguitars.com/outcasts1.html
  3. ^ A 2002 posting on www.angelfire.com by Jim Ryan, a former bandmember.
  4. ^ Review from Fuzz, Acid and Flowers, partially reproduced on Denny Turner's website
  5. ^ a b Denny Turner's website, op. cit.
  6. ^ a b c Jim Ryan posting, op. cit.
  7. ^ http://www.dennysguitars.com/bio2.html
  8. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/tx/braindanceink/ Jim Ryan's Braindance Ink
  9. ^ The Outcasts (Manhasset, New York) discography at Discogs
  10. ^ Fuzz, Acid and Flowers, op. cit.
  11. ^ Liner notes, I'm in Pittsburgh and it's Raining CD
  12. ^ Original liner notes, Pebbles, Volume 1
  13. ^ Posting on www.officenaps.com, February 5, 2007
  14. ^ I'm in Pittsburgh compilation liner notes
  15. ^ "Searchin' for Shakes", op. cit.

External links[edit]