Bands On The Bubble: Why Don’t These Rockers Get More Credit?
Procol Harum, Ian Hunter, and The Dave Clark Five all come to mind as the kind of classic rock artists we know you've heard of, somewhere, sometime. But the passion fans have for their stuff pretty much keeps 'em relegated to "Cult Land".
Let's be clear: just because you've only heard the same 2 or 3 songs for the last 25 years doesn't mean there isn't more to what these five artists have to offer. They're all great, so let's show 'em some love...
#5 - Traffic: Best known as a vehicle for Steve Winwood's singing and songwriting, but don't discount Dave Mason's contributions to their early stuff. These guys could do psychedelia, folk, and jazz-rock improv. Essential LP: "John Barleycorn Must Die" (1970).
#4 - Ten Years After: While it's easy to call TYA just another '70's boogie outfit ala Foghat (not necessarily a bad thing), you're missing out on a pretty deep catalog that showcased Alvin Lee's wicked talent as songwriter/arranger/producer. Essential LP: "A Space In Time" (1971).
#3 - Roxy Music: Bryan Ferry mastered the art of presentation, whether it was live shows, videos, album artwork, promotional materials, etc. Every single Roxy album had a peculiar and unique strangeness to it, as if they'd been beamed in from the future to show what was possible. Essential LP: "Country Life" (1974).
#2 - Little Feat: An inconsistent catalog, sure, but head honcho guitarist-singer-songwriter-producer (and ex-Zappa band member) Lowell George had the elusive knack of being able to fuse blues, C&W, funk and outer-space rockabilly, all sometimes within the same song. Essential LP: "Feat's Don't Fail Me Now" (1974).
#1 - The Kinks: How can these guys possibly be underrated? You know the radio hits. It's their catalog of cut-out-bin albums between '66 and '77 that showcased Ray Davies' true genius as a songwriter on par with Dylan-Townshend-Lennon-McCartney. The most taken for granted band the universe has ever produced. Essential LP: "Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The Brirtish Empire)" (1969).
We know there are lots more out there, so tell us: who are your picks?