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great albums that nobody seems to know about:


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I was a dust bin junkie throughout most of the 80s and then on into the 90s. There was no bigger thrill for me than spending 99 cents on a unheard of album that ended up being great. Or even having one or two great cuts. It was about as exiciting as being 8 years old, spending your weekly allowance on 3 packs of baseball cards and getting a Pete Rose or Cesar Geronimo...

Over the years I've valued these unknown classics, lugging them off to college in heavyass milk crates each year, piling them in my trunk everytime I got kicked out of an apartment in the early 90s--realizing I could probablly sell them all off and pay for two or three months more rent, suffering the heartache of having one scratched or worbled bythe sun or ripped off by a vengeful ex-girlfriend--and then frantically scouring the record shops trying to replace it.

Perhaps because of their rarity, they sound better. Or perhaps it its Rock snobbery "Look at me, I know all about this secret little masterpiece and no one else does, Nanny-nanny boo-booo"

Whatever the case, I think its time we share our Unknown Classics with each other.

I'll start off with a band called OddManOut who released their album Havana in 1990 on Frigid Air records out of Chicago. There are at least 5 of the 8 songs on this album (total running time is a bit under 36 minutes) that are good to very good, to damn near great. Only one song is a throw away, and two others I have to be in the right mood for.

None of the band members are listed anywhere on the album. The liner notes simply read all songs arranged by Odd Man Out and produced by Phil Bonnet and Perry Bax. The cover has a green and white close-up photo of a merry-go round horse. The music is typical of the atypical college rock radio of the late 80's. Theres more than a few hints of U2, the Fall and Echo and the Bunnymen, especially in the lead singer's voice and phrasings. Theres also some cool jangly guitar riffs popping in and out all over the place and unexpected harmonica or keyboard layers weaved in. Most of the songs are dancible to, and could seamlessly have been inserted into any mid to late 80s Teen movie Prom scene, possibly staring Nicolas Cage or Robert Downey Jr. The main problem I have with the couple songs that I dont like are that they overdue the melodrama on the synthesizer a tad bit.

Still I regard this as a great album that nobody seems to know about.

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We share an interest in "trawling the bargain-bins", PaulEd. I'm always dragging my three year old round the charity shops in search of long-lost gems. I've had some fantastic finds over the last few months, though these tend to be tapes (occasionally CDs) by "name artists" going dirt cheap. e.g. I picked up Cocteau Twins "Victorialand" for 30 pence (that's less than the cost of two cigarettes), the week before last I got a double-play cassette of The Triffids featuring the album "Born Sandy Devotional" on one side and a bonus "Best Of" compilation entitled "Love In Bright Landscapes" on the other, for 50p (= approx. two king-size cigarettes). A few weeks back, I also got the Ciccone Youth "The Whitey Album", The Teardrop Explodes "Everybody Wants To Shag The...", The Fall "Seminal Live", The Jesus And Mary Chain "Stoned & Dethroned", U.F.Orb (The Orb) and Tad's "8-Way Santa" all for roughly the same as a packet of twenty. And all that I spend goes to charidee to support Cancer Research, kids with cerebral palsy, old folks, etc. Innit great!

But you're looking more at picking up stuff by artists nobody has ever heard of and probably never will, right? Which is slightly different.

When I used to have more time on my hands and a student grant to fritter away, I often used to buy stuff on the basis of intriguing song-titles, interesting sleeve graphics, weird band names, etc. In hindsight this modus operandi turned up a fair bit of crap for every diamond unearthed. I distinctly remember an EP by a group called Carl Gustav and The 1984s entitled "Through Birds, Through Fire, But Not Through Glass". They were a strange looking bunch for sure, and the sleeve artwork was a bit tatty, but one of their songs boasted the lyric "I disembowelled myself to please her, she keeps my entrails in her freezer". That sold it to me. The music was a bit more ambient and avant-garde than I was expecting, but intriguing nonetheless.

Selecting on the basis of band-name led me to Electric Love Muffin, whose "Playdoh Meathook" album is a slice of reasonably melodic psyche-garage pop-punk. The cover also featured Hieronymous Bosch artwork, which probably swayed me. I guess they may be known in the States, but to this day I've never met anyone in the UK who has ever heard of them. Likewise Lubricated Goat whose Schadenfreude 12" mini-album stands proudly in my collection: gritty uncompromising psyche-garage punk-rock (in the old-fashioned sense of the word). I later learned that one of Lubricated Goat shacked up with the singer from Babes In Toyland and formed a spin-off band with her, so they can't have been total unknowns. But rest assured Lubricated Goat were never "the name on everyone's lips" over here.

I'm getting my vinyl out later to do a compilation tape: that might jog my memory on this subject.

Nice one, PaulEd. I like it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

There was no bigger thrill for me than spending 99 cents on a unheard of album that ended up being great. Or even having one or two great cuts. It was about as exiciting as being 8 years old, spending your weekly allowance on 3 packs of baseball cards and getting a Pete Rose or Cesar Geronimo...

I wholeheartedly agree, some of my all-time favorites, a few obscured underground / indie-labeled records / albums; I found at pawn shops / 2nd hand stores for pennies out of the pocket. You never know what you might find; if you look a little bit closer. Nice post Paul :thumbsup:

Jesus & the Mary Chain

Babes in Toyland

2 eccentric artists that I vauguely remember, despite forgetting about a decades past; along with Urge Overkill, Dandy Warhols, Lords of Acid, & Life of Agony, etc. There's a few others, in good taste, that I can't remember, no matter how I try.

Ziggy-Marley.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Buckingham/Nicks

This was recorded pre-Fleetwood Mac or at least pre- Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Stevie was a teenager supposedly living with Lindsey Buckingham. They recorded an album full of really good stuff. I think Fleetwood Mac actually re-recorded some of the songs once Stevie and Lindsey joined the group. The album had great potential, but right after it's release Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac. All you have to do is listen to the album and you know just how much influence they had over Fleetwood Mac. I assume that since Lindsey and Stevie joined the band that a decision was made to discontinue the distribution of Buckingham/Nicks. You could find the album for a while but by the early 80's it was gone. I can't even find a reference to it on the web, very obscure. Not sure of the release date but I think it was mid 70's?????

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Okay...a bit more info on Buckingham Nicks.....

This was recorded in 1973 and became somewhat popular in the South. This was a Polydor release but Stevie and Lindsey own the rights. Evidently there has been a push to release the album on CD. I don't think Lindsey and Stevie can come to terms on how this should happen. The song "Crystal" was re-recorded by Fleetwood Mac on their first release with Stevie and Lindsey. Waddy Wachtel plays guitar along with Lindsey and Jorge Calderon shows up on percussion. I did find more info on the web than I had in the past.

wm

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That's as may be, but y'know The Who, Dylan, etc. we can read about the likes of them anywhere else on Songfacts.

Sorry to be picky, but I think the original point of this thread was something along the lines of : "Picked up a bargain by a "total unheard of", which turned out to be not half bad / a personal favourite? Tell us all about it!".

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