Boz Scaggs and othe Underappreciated Artists

I was making a tape for a friend last night and I recorded all of Boz Scaggs’ first album. What a great piece of work! Recorded in Muscle Shoals in 1969, it has all of the usual Muscle Shoals studio muscians plus Donna Jean Thatcher (before she went west, married Keith Godchaux, and joined the Grateful Dead) on harmony vocals, AND (here’s the kicker) Duane Allman on dobro and guitar. KFOG in San Francisco would annually poll their listeners for their favorite songs, and for about 20 years “Loan Me A Dime” from this album won. It is a 12:38 mix of despair, longing, and searing, burning, achingly beautiful guitar work by Duane. If you haven’t heard it, and you like your music with a good dose of the blues, you need to hear this album.

I also threw on some Bobby Womack, Al Green, and Etta James. All artists who should be in your collection if you like good music.

So, who’s your under-rated favorite and why?

I couldn’t agree more about Boz. “Loan Me A Dime” ranks right up there with the best work Duane Allman has ever done, IMHO.

Another thing about Boz - for a short time he was a member of the Steve Miller Band (when the name was changed from the Steve Miller Blues Band), and appears on “Children of the Future” and “Sailor,” both released in 1968. For those who only think of Steve Miller in terms of “Fly Like an Eagle,” “The Joker” and similar dreck, you should hunt up those two records. Boz sings, plays guitar, and also contributes mightily to the song writing. His importance to those two albums cannot be overstated.

*Originally posted by plnnr *
**So, who’s your under-rated favorite and why? **/QUOTE]

Oh, sorry! I got carried away talking about Boz Scaggs and forgot to answer plnnr’s question! I suppose I’d have to say that Peter Green is my “under-rated” favorite. All he did was replace Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Blues Breakers and the band didn’t miss a beat. He then took John McVie and Mick Fleetwood from the Bluesbreakers and went on to form another little group called Fleetwood Mac. He wrote a little known song by the name of “Black Magic Woman.” (that’s right - Santana did NOT do it first). Those early Fleetwood Mac albums, with Green, McVie, Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer and later Danny Kirwan, are nothing short of incredible, yet too few people on this side of the pond are familiar with them, and think Fleetwood Mac came into being with Stevie Nicks. They were HUGE in the UK in 1967-70, beginning as a pure blues band and then morphing into some great progressive rock (listen to their album “Then Play On” for an idea of where they were heading). Sadly, Green self destructed in 1970, and crawled into a hole he has only recently emerged from.

Joe Jackson, most definitely.

We have a Joe Jackson’s greatest hits album, and whenever we play it around friends they’re always like… hey, this is a good album… we should get this.

Got to be Dave Mason. Both in his days playing with Traffic (Dave was a founding memeber) and on his own. I love his album ‘Its like you never left’ especially. Those were the days.

Joan Armatrading–singer songwriter who never made it huge.
Should have.

Amen, bro’. Peter Green is magnificent. Whenever I have discussions about great guitarists, I mention him, and no one has ever heard of him.

Another underappreciated artist/band: Hot Tuna. Two guys from Jefferson Airplane playing blues. Great stuff.

I totally agree regarding Boz. BTW, he still puts on a terrific concert–saw him a year or two ago. Sensational.

My other nominees for most underrated:

Felix Cavaliere (of the [Young] Rascals)

Nina Simone (big in UK, Europe, but underappreciated in the US)

David Clayton Thomas (why this marvalous vocalist never had a successful solo career after Blood, Sweat & Tears, I’ll never know)

Didn’t Ben Sidran play keyboards for them too at the same time? They were supposed to open for Otis Redding the night he crashed into Lake Monoona in Madison(on my 7th birthday incidentally), from what I have heard. Musta been a great band. Yea, Boz is great, Silk Degrees was one of my favorites when I was younger, I’m not sure how it sounds now.

hey you guys are talking my language! I remember that old Loan Me A Dime song from, what, 1970? But it’s Peter Green’s stuff, especially the attitude and the singing, plus the riffs of course, that’s really out there.I’ve always wondered, though, just who did which riffs on which songs. One of my favorites is Baby Please Don’t Mess Around on English Rose; is that Green or Kirwan on the lead (which I play nearly every other day on my guitar, dreaming. And who plays the lead on My Heart Bear Like a Hammer, on their very first album?
I don’t know, when I first heard those guys, it seemed, well, like, somebody sure knows what they are doing.
Hey, and what about that intro to the Kingsmen’s Money–anyone remember that guitar how do you do? On their first album I think.

Sidran wrote most of or half or something like that of Space Cowboy. If he had anything to do with those early Steve Miller albums, he, too, is a hero of mine. I’m with you, Labdad.

Yeah, Fleetwood Mac was amazing back in the Peter Green era. Today I was just playing some early Mac for a coworker, who like most people, thought Black Magic Woman was a Santana song. He had trouble believing it was the same band going from Green Manalishi to Albatross. It shows what incredible talent and scope they had.
Kiln House has one of my all time favorite lines,
“Don’t make me nervous, I’m holdin’ a baseball bat.” Man, they don’t write 'em like that anymore.

Yes Dr. Jazz, Ben Sidran, was in the Steve Miller Band in the early days. He’s still around recording and producing albums. I think his son plays drums for him now.

Speaking of Steve Miller and underappreciated artists, the guy who wrote Jet Airliner, Paul Pena, is an incredible artist. If you get a chance, see Genghis Blues, about how this blind blues singer taught himself Tuvan throat singing and ended up going to Tuva to compete in a throat singing competition. An amazing film, even if you’re not into Tuvan throat singing.

Hope I’m not hijacking, but I am curious about Sidran’s relationship to Steve Miller Band and the oodles of moolah the latter made after Miller headed west from Madison. I lived in Madison a while, and would read or hear of some resentment or something there every now and then. Anybody got the skinny?
If this is just gossip, I’d be happy to move the post to ___?

How’d you like to be Alex Chilton? Spend a lifetime writing the world’s best pop songs only to languish in relative obscurity. I’d be bitter, too.

I agree with all of the above posts. Many people are not at all familiar with the earlier Fleetwood Mac incarnation.
Kiln House is still one of my favorite albums.
I think Warren Zevon,dark storyteller,talented pianist is one of the more under-appreciated musicians in the last 25 years. His self-titled album from 1976 is a masterpiece, and the body of work following that consistantly excellent, especially Sentimental Hygiene in '87, Mutineer in '95 and Life’ll Kill Ya in 2000. Zevon gets respect from his peers, but only a small, if ardent following of listeners.
I have heard him worry (in his trademark deep, raspy voice) that he’ll end up howling “Werewolves in London” in Las Vegas some day. I think (hope!)he was kidding, and he is too clever to end up in such dire straits, but it’s too bad that his commercial success does not equal his prodigious talent.

Regarding “My Heart Beat Like a Hammer,” I’d bet that was Jeremy Spencer on lead. If it’s a 12-bar blues number with an Elmore James type slide guitar, you can pretty much take it to the bank that it’s Spencer playing lead.

W/re “My Heart Beat LIke a Hammer,” my guess is that’s Green on lead. Kirwan had just joined the group at the time “English Rose” came out. Kirwan’s main contributions to the album were “One Sunny Day” and “Without You.” Listen closely to “One Sunny Day” and you’ll get a good definition of the Kirwan style (that’s also him singing). If you have “Fleetwood Mac in Chicago” or one of the Boston Tea Party concert recordings, give a listen to “Like It This Way,” wherein Kirwan and Green engage in a call and response trading of riffs with Kirwan playing the call and Green doing the response. After listening to those, you ought to be able to pick Kirwan’s guitar out. It’s a lot like distinguishing Duane Allman’s guitar from Dickie Betts’. The styles are distinct enough that you can do it once you know what you’re listening for.

And Caprese, very good call on Warren Zevon! When Paul Shaffer goes on vacation, Zevon is the only one he seems to trust to lead the excellent “Late Show” band. If that’s not the highest peer respect, I don’t know what is. But you’re right - a consistently first-rate body of work that just won’t sell. Go figure!

Mink Deville, they had one hit and the album they released at the time was pretty good, but somehow it never happened.

Richard Thompson is shamefully under-regarded, he is as good as Neil Young any day.

Joe Satriani is a very good guitarist. He does instrumentals only, and is known to other players. I’d never heard of him until I met my fiancee.

plnnr, thanks for bringing up Boz Scaggs.

Big Cheese, Silk Degrees still sounds great to me. Scaggs had terrific collaboration on that album – Tom Scott, David Paich, and Jeff Porcaro to name a few (yup - Paich and Porcaro went on to form Toto). Off this album came Lowdown, Lido Shuffle, and We’re All Alone (later a top-ten hit for Rita Coolidge).

To take a somewhat different tack, I don’t think that 10cc gets their due these days. They were bigger in Britain than in the U.S. during their early 70s prime, unfortunately. They had only a single American #2 song to their credit while brilliant multi-instrumentalists Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were still in the band – I’m Not in Love. There was almost nothing as original as the proto-electronica of I’m Not in Love being done in the mid 70s (save perhaps by Kraftwerk).

thanks mucho, labdad! That “One Sunny Day” is a crusher of a song–I especially like how it breaks into a shuffle from that hard-rock main part of the song. Don’t know the Boston Tea Party recording; will look for it.