Classic Singles #4: The Outcasts – 1523 Blair / Smokestack Lightning (1967)

“There’s no use for salt if the pillar’s melted dry by rain…ah, hear my pain!”

Outcasts_labelAs you can imagine there were quite a few bands named The Outcasts in the 1960s. This particular bunch hailed from San Antonio, TX and they are the first group I’ve covered to make more than one single. In fact they managed five, and two of them are of exalted enough quality to be eligible as Cosmic Mind at Play Classic SinglesTM (the other is ‘I’m in Pittsburgh (And It’s Raining)’, which I will post at some point down the line).

Words almost fail me when it comes to describing ‘1523 Blair’. It is surely one of the most full-on singles of the era. 1 minute and 48 seconds of pure, demented garage-psych mayhem. The sped up intro, frantic drumming, half-intelligible lyrics, pulsating guitar and keyboards…Incredible!

‘1523 Blair’

Outcasts_cardApparently the band didn’t have a name for the song, so it was suggested that they call it after the address of the Doyle Jones Studio in Houston where it was recorded.

Though less essential, they actually end up getting pretty wigged out on their cover of the old standard ‘Smokestack Lightning’ on the flip side as well.


‘Smokestack Lightning’

Guitarist Galen Niles, who joined The Outcasts in time for this single, was later in Homer, whose 1970 album is worth a spin.

The single has been reissued, so if you want a vinyl copy you can save yourself over $1,000 by buying that. Both sides are on the CD Sixties Archives Volume 2, or if you are just interested in ‘1523 Blair’ that is easily sourced on the Acid Dreams Testament CD.


  • Nothing Ever Comes Easy / Oriental Express (Outcast, 1965)
  • I’m in Pittsburgh (and It’s Raining) / Price of Victory (Askel, 1966)
  • I’ll Set You Free / Everyday (Askel, 1966)
  • Route 66 / Everyday (Askel, 1966)
  • 1523 Blair / Smokestack Lightning (Gallant, 1967)


One thought on “Classic Singles #4: The Outcasts – 1523 Blair / Smokestack Lightning (1967)

  1. Pingback: Classic Singles #32: The Mind’s Eye – Help I’m Lost / Still In Love With You Baby (1967) | Cosmic Mind at Play

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