Years before the MC5 or the Stooges planted the seeds of American proto-punk, and a couple of years after the Sonics and the Monks helped create garage rock, a couple of Dutch boys had already created music that went beyond proto-anything and issued a heavy statement defying any type of categorization. Helmed by an infamous Dutch rock legend Wally Tax (of Russian and Romany roots, on vocals and guitar), along with his buddies Ronnie (lead guitar), Frank (bass), and Leendert (drums) terrorized the dance halls and clubs of Netherlands with their frantic R&B and rock jams. Today’s track “Misfit”, encapsulates their living on the edge of Rock sound, its also a unique groove that scarcely anyone knew could exist at such a time.
Spearheading the Nederbeat movement, without actually caring for much of the supposed influences The Outsider were slapped with, they were much, like the UK’s Pretty Things, a group that had one thing in mind: finding different ways to blow your mind. Groups like the Stones and the Pretty Things themselves knew better than to choose them as opening acts, they were too good and too explosive, threatening to overpower the headliners.
|CQ album cover.|
Their first album, 1967’s the Outsiders, was recorded on the cheap. Not that it mattered to the boys, they played on tape like they played live, as rapidly as possible with little regard to mistakes and polish. Wally, owning vocal and lyric writing duties, never properly learned English (he was self-taught not by choice but by necessity, once, being a small time pimp for American sailors lookin’ to have a good time) and to his benefit his concise and a bit askew lyrics/phrasing worked to their favor. However, by 1968, they were looking to free their reigns even more.
Choosing to record on their own 8-track machine, and experiment with more than just guitars and standard rock grooves they started what became their 1968 CQ sessions. Balalaikas, organs, Jacques Brel chanson-like ballads, Eastern-European folk mutations, left-field pop and much more were things The Outsiders tackled with equal ferocity and domination. “Misfit”, the leadoff track, is just a launching point for your ears to get tenderized for what comes next. As a ricocheting bass kicks off the jam and the rest of the Outsiders launch a punk (not proto-punk) guitar assault, Wally vocally joins in the stomp, challenging the then late 60’s listener to join or get left behind:
you thought you could make it
tryin’ to join our dance
you thought we would take it
you didn’t stand a chance
you talk too loud
when you’re out in the crowd
knowing full well that what follows from the Slavic psychedelia of “Zsarrah”, Musique Concrete Garage of “C.Q.”, Let it Bleed-era Rolling Stones meets CAN pop of “Happyville”, Post-Punk meets Goth-like sound of “The Man on the Dune”, all the way through the Transformer-era Lou Reed meets Stooges sound of “Prison Song” was entirely an alien sound experience hardly anyone was prepared for. It only took, around 30 or so years for the album to finally click in for listeners (it sold around 15,000 less copies than the VU’s first album!). Few albums from this or any era will radiate with such prismatic power as C.Q., in my humble opinion…
Bonus track time, the left hand hook, to “Misfit”‘s right hand jab, the growling neo-folk melancholia of “Zsarrahh”…
and then go down for the count with an early live performance of their “hit” the Byrds-ian R&B groove of “Lying All the Time”.