The Langley Schools Music Project
Much of the appeal of so-called “outsider” music is that it’s so frighteningly different than what’s offered by the mainstream. And when that mainstream pretty much sucks, the weird stuff sounds damned good by comparison. New Jersey-based outsider music enthusiast Irwin Chusid, who has a knack for getting involved in music that isn’t your typical foisted-by-weasels radio fare (i.e., the Shaggs, Esquivel) found these boffo sides, recorded in the late 1970s by a teacher in British Columbia. Imagine an assembly in the school auditorium where a bunch of kids are singing such tunes ranging from the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows” to Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” with accompaniment ranging from an out-of-tune acoustic guitar and drums to ambitious Brian Wilson-meets-Skip Spence arrangements (as on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”). It makes for weirdly compelling music that grows on you.