Kim Fowley

Outlaw Superman

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AllMusic Review by

Even if the name Kim Fowley doesn't immediately ring a bell, the average listener has probably heard his most popular early productions -- "Alley Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles, and "Nut Rocker" by B. Bumble and the Stingers. Outlaw Superman is a sampling of some of the bizarre singles Fowley has released on small labels over the years. If the subtitle Pure Genius From Ultra-Rare Singles is an overstatement, Fowley does possess a good ear for songs and a knack for getting his ideas across in three minutes. An integral aspect of Kim Fowley's work is his larger-than-life reputation. None of the tracks here are as outrageous as "Young America Saturday Night" (available on the compilation Only In America), a request for teenage girls to send their picture to Kim in care of the record company. However, "Hound Dog Savage" and "Hollywood Nights" (under the alias Lance Romance) might qualify as autobiographical statements of purpose. Spanning from 1962 to 1977, Fowley's work anthologized here touches upon many of the important genres of pop music from that period. The two tracks by Johnny C. and the Blazes, the exotica-tinged "Inferno" and blues-riffin' "Ebony," are among the better surf music available. "John Works Hard" by the Laughing Wind is an exellent garage-rock tune, which proves that shamelessly Beatlesque music can still sound original. Kim Fowley was, if not exactly ahead of his time, somewhat visionary in terms of hit potential. For example, his 1972 single as Jimmy Jukebox foreshadowed Bowie-esque territory years before it became fashionable. Outlaw Superman also has its share of celebrity or eventual-celebrity cameo appearances. Among them are Leon Russell, Phil Spector's backing band the Wrecking Crew, members of the Wailers, and Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on 1964's "Rise of the Brighton Surf," a "House of the Rising Sun" knockoff that is probably the first-ever mod record. Kim Fowley has been an invisible mover and shaker for several generations of pop music; Outlaw Superman stands on its own as a Fowley primer, or could serve as a completist volume of this legendary and prolific character.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Players
3:53
2
feat: Players
3:45
3
feat: The Memories
2:25
4
2:25
5 2:20
6 2:25
7
2:15
8 2:17
9
feat: Bo & Peep
4:26
10
2:12
11
2:21
12
2:06
13 2:38
14 2:21
15 2:33
16
feat: King Lizard
3:57
17 2:03
18 2:42
19 2:13
20 2:32
21
feat: The Orchids
2:05
22 2:50
blue highlight denotes track pick