Friday, April 10, 2009

In the interest of fairness....

OK, so for those of you who hated the five most overrated bands/singers of all time, I will give you a better target. Here are the five most underrated bands in Freddy's World. (Those of you who knew me in high school...well, my tastes haven't changed much over the years).

Readers of F World will know I think Shinedown is the most amazing current band. But since I heard Second Chance on our sister pop station yesterday, they can't be considered underrated and are eliminated from this conversation. (If they have any more hits, I am going to have to drop them from Most Favored Band status). Tom Petty would have made the list, but since he played at halftime of the Super Bowl, it's hard to call him underrated.

Anyway, make fun of me as much as you like...

5) Thin Lizzy. For some reason, they just never got big before the death of Phil Lynott. They didn't take off after, either. "Jailbreak," "The Boys are back in Town..." Their songs were energetic and exciting. Another band that inspired a lot of successful bands.

4) Albert Collins. No knock on Robert Cray or the great B.B. King, but Collins was an incredible blues guitarist, the bets of the genre. (Yes, his career started in Houston. If you don't like the provincialism, bite me). He inspired many great artists, including Cray. He died of cancer in 1993. You might know him from his cameo in Adventures in Babysitting. You should know him for "Frosty," "Cold Snap" or "Iceman."

3) King's X. Score another one for the local team. (Well, they were originally from Missouri, but the Houston music scene doesn't have a lot of stars. We claim them). They are brilliant song writers, but they just never quite took off. "Over My Head" from "Faith, Hope, Love" gave them some commercial success, but their library is deep and versatile. (Also check out Doug Pinnick's solo albums under the name Poundhound, by the way). They are awesome in concert and are another band that has multiple influences on other bands. If you haven't heard them, you are missing out.

2) Blue Oyster Cult. (If you are one of my high school friends, you guessed this without looking).
I pretty much have stalker status with these guys, since I have now seen them 14 times. They have been making music for almost 50 years. They inspired many of the rock bands of the 80s and 90s. You probably know Don't Fear the Reaper and Burnin' for You, but those songs aren't even among their best. They are weird, versatile, clever. They wrote songs about soul-eating demonic swords (Black Blade), Astronomy (Astronomy), Tattoo Vampires (Tattoo Vampire) and dead Joan Crawford (Joan Crawford).

From Joan Crawford: "Catholic schoolgirls throw away their mascara...they chain themselves to the axles of big Mack trucks...the sky is filled with herds of shivering angels...the fat lady laughs: "gentlemen, start your trucks!"

How can you not love that?

"Then Came the Last Days of May" is simply the best song I've ever seen performed live.

1) Eric Johnson. Simply the most talented musician you've never heard a word about unless you live in Texas. His live shows are magic; his guitar work is legendary. There is not another guitarist in the world who combines his skill and feel. He's also got a very melodic voice, and his music is versatile. I've seen him four times, twice in small clubs in Austin. Don't know who he is? Just download Cliffs of Dover and feel free to thank me later.

Many years ago I went to see him at the old Rockefeller's in Houston. He was playing two shows. I went to buy tickets for the second show while he was on stage for the first one. You could hear the muffled guitar riffs outside. They were so brilliant, I stood outside and listened through the wall. That's magic, gang.

OK, poke all the fun you want...

4 comments:

Bevotee said...

Can't disagree with any of that. TL's "Cowboy Song" gets me playing air guitar on both solos every time. And how did I never know you were big into BOC? I've seen them seven times myself, tho none in the past 29 years. I believe they were the first band to use a laser light show, in 1974, at the then-unheard-of cost of $100,000. That show, at the Houston Music Hall, was the single best performance I've ever seen.

Fred said...

Guess who was the last cut? The Cramps...wonder who introduced me to them...:-)

wayne.wells said...

Hummmm ...... Shinedown is a winner, Try Theory of a Deadman as well, CD-Gasoline..... The best live act I have seen "Big Head Todd and the Monster"....no joke...CD-Sister Sweetly.... I like Kenny Wayne, Robert Cray, Stevie Ray.. But BHTM is my favorite....

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