We've all got a few favorite artists who we think should be superstars but no-one else seems to have heard of. Here's part one of the Active Listener's selection of musical geniuses that the masses have yet to discover. More to follow soon.
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The prolific Jeff Kelly's first outfit the Green Pajama's started out with cassette only releases in 1984, and have released over 20 amazingly consistent albums since. Initially lumped in with the Paisley Underground scene, the Green Pajama's were more heavily influenced by the U.K psychedelic scene of the late sixties than their peers and managed to capture the late sixties period flavor far more authentically than anyone else on the scene at the time. They've since progressed through psychedelia to jangle rock to folk rock to country rock on their latest. In the meantime Kelly has also released a number of solo albums in more of a singer songwriter mould which highlight his lyrical songwriting and Tom Petty-ish voice better than the Pajamas material, and as Goblin Market, he also has three albums of more esoteric material verging on acid folk under his belt.
BUY HERE : The Green Pajama's - Complete Book Of Hours, Jeff Kelly - Indiscretion
Glenn Ross Campbell ( not the country singer ) is the Jimi Hendrix of the steel guitar and was highly influential in the transition from garage rock to psychedelia. As a member of the Misunderstood his distorted steel guitar heroics helped set the groundwork for the psychedelic movement in 1966 with material like Children of the Sun and Find A Hidden Door. He then found himself in rock outfit Juicy Lucy who released several excellent hard rock releases, before shifting into country rock. Their recordings of Who Do You Love and Willie the Pimp are definitive to me. More recently he's made an appearance on the Loon's excellent psychedelic garage album Red Dissolving Rays of Light.
BUY HERE : The Misunderstood - Before The Dream Faded, Juicy Lucy - Who Do You Love: The Anthology, The Loons - Red Dissolving Rays Of Light.
Ian Carr seems to be primarily known as a Miles Davis biographer, but was a very fine trumpet player and arranger in his own right. His work with Saxophonist Don Rendell throughout the sixties accounted for the very finest English jazz of the era, while he established the groundbreaking progressive jazz rock outfit Nucleus in 1969 who continued to push the envelope throughout the seventies. Fans of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and Tribute To Jack Johnson would do well to investigate.
BUY HERE : The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet - Shades Of Blue/Dusk Fire, Ian Carr & Nucleus - Solar Plexus / Belladonna
Ollie Halsall was the finest guitarist that no-one seems to have heard of. His imaginative, dexterous and fluent guitar runs helped to enliven albums by all sorts of progressive English musos in the late sixties and early seventies. As well as being a member of Patto and Tempest he also featured extensively on albums by Kevin Ayers, and appeared as Leppo in the Rutles : All You Need Is Cash. But it's his amazing guitar work that he's most noted for, check out the solos in Patto's Hold Your Fire and prepare to be blown away. His work on vibes on Beat The Drum from Hold Your Fire is also exceptional.
BUY HERE : Patto - Hold Your Fire
Robert Harrison's band Cotton Mather should have been one of the biggest bands of the nineties. With taut and tuneful Beatlesque rockers, gushing reviews from the English music press and frequent endorsements from Noel Gallagher and later, Spoon's Britt Daniel it's a mystery as to why they never achieved the same level of popularity as say, Matthew Sweet. We'll have to put it down to small labels not able to market it as competitively as their larger competition, because their albums are to all intents and purposes flawless. Harrison's more recent recordings as Future Clouds and Radar are fascinating as well, if not a little more esoteric.
BUY HERE : Cotton Mather - Kontiki, Future Clouds & Radar