Visions of Paradise

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Underrated rock musicians

Second only to my love of books (primarily science fiction, although history/ historical fiction also) is my love or rock and roll. I have been listening to rock music for most of 5 decades now and, like many listeners, I enjoy most of the “giants” of the genre: Beatles, Kinks, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Creedence, Van Morrison, Moody Blues; there are also several giants whom I do not particularly enjoy: Stones, Clapton, Skynyrd.

But the bulk of my listening consists of a handful of artists who are not considered as important as those listed above, but who, in my opinion, are every bit as good, if not better in some instances. So here is my list of the most underrated rock artists whom I highly recommend to all fans of rock and roll music. In each case I have listed two albums which represents them at their very best:

Richard Thompson: forget Clapton; RT is as good a guitarists and a much superior singer-songwriter / Shoot Out the Lights, The Old Kit Bag

The Strawbs: David Cousins’ band runs the gamut from folk-rock to progressive rock, doing all of it well / Hero and Heroine, Bursting at the Seams

Dion DiMucci: forget the early “boy band” music, Dion is one of the finest folk rockers ever / Yo, Frankie!, Deja Nu

Chris de Burgh: my choice for the most underrated singer-songwriter; think Moody Blues style music / Man on the Line, This Way Up

Jethro Tull: similar to the Strawbs, although a bit more folk, mandatory listening for any rock fans / Aqualung, War Child

John Hiatt: covers of his songs have been hits for several artists, but nobody does them as well as Hiatt in his Dylanesque voice / Bring the Family, Slow Turning

Steve Forbert: outstanding folk rocker / Streets of this Town, Jackrabbit Slim

Frank Zappa: ignore the craziness, nobody blends progressive rock with jazz-fusion better / Lather, Have I Offended Someone?

Waterboys: more folk-rock with a big-band ambiance / Fisherman’s Blues, This is the Sea


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