The Outcasts

Live!: Standing Room Only

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There's nothing earth-shattering about the 44 minutes of live material represented on this CD -- it's just a well-played set by one of the better garage bands working on New York's Long Island during the mid-'60s. But that's sort of the point -- precious little of that scene survives in so pure and unadulterated a form as you get to hear here, and depend upon it, this is worth hearing. Near as one can make out, the Long Island group the Outcasts (as distinct from the similarly named bands from Texas and elsewhere) were an enthusiastic, talented outfit, capable of doing live covers of numbers like "Mustang Sally" and "Hang On Sloopy" for audiences of the day, often with a lot of verve and spirit, which does get picked up on this performance. Additionally, the choice of some of their covers -- "In the Midnight Hour" and "Satisfaction" are not surprising choices, but Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and the Stones' "Play With Fire" -- shows some more serious musical ambitions, the ability to do more than deliver a beat, and a willingness to demand a little more out of an audience; this show also contains what seems to be their first attempt to do Van Morrison's "Gloria" on-stage, and they do surprisingly well with it. The singing is above average, and these boys were nothing if not rehearsed and experienced, but not so much so that their instrumental attack isn't bracing throughout, and this reviewer liked the swirling organ break on "Hey Joe." The live set has been augmented with the presence of an unreleased 1967 single, "Society's Child" b/w "Get It On," which shows the band in a more controlled setting and still able to play up a storm.

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