The Outsiders “C.Q.”
With a plethora of recent reissues (Jackpot – vinyl and RPM – cd), it seemed like a good idea to backtrack to this classic record and give it another listen. C.Q. was to be the Outsiders last album (their 3rd LP), an attempt to reach the group’s original core audience amidst a troubling commerical downfall. Not only is this one of the best “international” psych albums but it’s as good as anything by the early Pink Floyd, psychedelic era Pretty Things or Love. Its closest reference point is probably the Pretty Things superb S.F. Sorrow – there are no soft, wimpy moments on either of these records, just pure intensity and garage punk muscle. C.Q. is what the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request should have sounded like.
C.Q.’s strength is in it’s consistency and diversity. No two songs sound alike yet every experiment is well thought out and successful. The group’s hallmark start-stop punk rhythms are firmly in place on many of C.Q.‘s tracks but by 1968 the Outsiders had grown considerably, incorporating more folk-rock and psych sounds into their repertoire. Psych cuts such as the very European sounding “Zsarrahh” (supposedly a nod to Wally Tax’s Russian roots), the brief “Bear,” an avant garde folk-rock cut titled “Prison Song” and “C.Q.” heralded a new, more experimental outfit. Other cuts such as the sensitive “You’re Everything On Earth,” a bluesy, spacy cut titled “It Seems Like Nothings Gonna Come My Way Today,” and “I Love You No. 2” were folk-rock gems that showed off Tax’s soft, expressive side. That being said, it’s the harder cuts that warrant the greatest attention. “Misfit,” “Doctor,” “The Man On The Dune,” “Happyville,” and “Wish You Were Here With Me Today” are masterful acid punkers. “Doctor,” one of the group’s best LP tracks, features distorted vocals and an explosive fuzz guitar freakout. “The Man On The Dune,” another classic and personal favorite, is a blistering psych punker with jagged guitar fuzz and a strange, unsettling conclusion. It goes without saying that C.Q. is one of the immortal 60s albums.
As mentioned above, there have been many reissues of C.Q. To me, the Pseudonym reissue was the best as it featured three terrific non-lp tracks (“Do You Feel Alright” is an excellent cut that should have been a hit). The recent RPM disc features six good live cuts from 1968 while the Jackpot reissue is a straight up vinyl offering with no extras.
“The Man On The Dune”