In my musical search I’ve found so many sorely underrated and underappreciated artists. In the rock vein, Ry Cooder has been around since the 60’s, is a master of all fretted instruments and has played on seminal releases by Gordon Lightfoot, Captain Beefheart, The Everly Brothers, Rita Coolidge, John Mellencamp, Emmylou Harris, and Van Morrison, among many, many others. He’s also issued classic after classic as a solo artist–the man is prolific, exceptionally talented, and so underexposed it’s criminal. He spearheaded the entire “Buena Vista Social Club” project in the late 1990’s, which became immensely popular worldwide–yet he took no credit. He paid the original performers to record the songs rather than record them himself.
Another band in the rock genre that has slipped through the cracks in Los Lobos. Best remembered for providing the soundtrack for La Bamba (and earning a hit with the title track) the band turned out quality album after quality album, probably 20 in all. I love listening to Los Lobos, their blend of East L.A. roots rock is sublime.
John Prine doesn’t get enough credit.
Then there is Doug Sahm and his band, the Sir Douglas Quintet. Doug passed a little over 10 years ago. Despite little public fanfare when he was alive, and even less following his death, Doug was a master of all Texas music styles including blues, country, rock & roll, Western swing, Cajun, or polkas. His catalog is fantastic. Plus, look at his awesome eighth grade school photo. The guy was one of Bob Dylan’s favorite musicians. What more needs to be said?
Next–one of my recent and soon to be all-time favorites, the Subdudes. A New Orleans staple, this group has backed Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell, Roseanne Cash and others before making their own records. I love their laid back funky roots rock groove.