Nuggets: Time Won’t Let Me by The Outsiders

Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.

Track 40/118: Time Won’t Let Me by The Outsiders
Release Year: 1966
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Aphoristic Rating: 9/10

TIME WON’T LET ME – The Outsiders [2:46]
(Thomas King/Chet Kelley)
Personnel/SONNY GERACI: vocals * TOM KING: guitar, sax * MERTON MADSEN: bass [+ AL AUSTIN: lead guitar * RONNIE HARKAI: drums * EVAN VanGUARD: trumpet * MIKE GERACI: sax]
Produced by TOM KING
Recorded in Cleveland, OH
Capitol single #5573 (1/66); Pop #5

The Outsiders originated from an earlier band, the Starfires. The Starfires were formed by teenage guitarist Tom King in the late 1950s. They were a successful R&B combo regionally, playing up to shows a week. The band’s style evolved in the 1960s – King relinquished his position as lead singer after a tonsillectomy, and the band changed their style to reflect Beatlemania.

‘Time Won’t Let Me’ is a sophisticated amalgam of the band’s R&B roots and the Beatles influence. There’s a horn section and organ adding colour and energy, but even without them, there’s a very impressive British Invasion-inspired guitar song. There’s also a touch of blue-eyed soul in the voice of lead singer Sonny Geraci, and a fluid guitar solo from Al Austin.

While many of the songs on Nuggets languished in obscurity, ‘Time Won’t Let Me’ made the top five on Billboard. The band, however, weren’t able to capitalise on their hit. They enjoyed a minor hits with follow-up singles – ‘Girl in Love’ and a cover of The Isley Brothers’ ‘Respectable’ – but faded into semi-obscurity.

The members of The Outsiders who achieved the most in the music business didn’t play on ‘Time Won’t Let Me’. Drummer Jimmy Fox left Starfire to go to college, before reconnecting with The Outsiders after ‘Time Won’t Let Me’. He later left to form his own band, The James Gang with Joe Walsh. Meanwhile, James William Guercio toured with a later lineup of The Outsiders – he went on to manage Chicago, whose early work offered a similar blend of R&B and British Invasion sounds.

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17 Comments

  1. Thebass player has a hell of a quiff. Excellent song and always a favorite of mine when I listened to it on our oldies channel here back when I was a teen. One of the best songs on Nuggets to me.
    Cleveland has given us some good bands…James Gang, Raspberries, and I think Nine Inch Nails…. that makes sense with The James Gang.

  2. I didn’t know that the one guy had anything to do with The James Gang, whom I love. Or that they had anything to do with that Guercio guy who was in Chicago, whom I also love. But I knew he had something to do with The Buckinghams, who now that I think about it are kind of similar to The Outsiders with their horn arrangements and stuff.

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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person. It features album reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.

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Graham Fyfe has been writing this website since his late teens. Now in his forties, he's been obsessively listening to albums for years. He works as a web editor and plays the piano.

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