Unsung Figures No.9: Fred Neil

Unsung Figures No.9: Fred Neil

The latest post in this series looks at the life and career of an enigmatic and influential figure who shunned fame and instead devoted much of his life to the conservation of his favourite animal. Some musicians seek fame but never find it, others have fame thrust reluctantly upon them; others sail within touching distance of lasting recognition only to have it snatched away by fate or circumstance. And then you have musicians who neither seek nor find it, and for whom the only thing that matters is the music, and who see fame for the fickle and empty mistress Read more »

Unsung Figures No.8: Chris Spedding

Unsung Figures No.8: Chris Spedding

In the latest edition of our series looking at under-appreciated artists from the world of music we profile a British guitarist and singer more famous for his session work than his own records. You may not have heard of Chris Spedding but if you’ve been a music lover for some time chances are you will have heard him play. You may have even heard ‘Motor Bikin” – the closest thing he ever had to a hit – pop up on driving compilations or golden oldies stations. Having worked as a gun-for-hire with Paul McCartney, Nilsson, Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry, Read more »

Unsung Figures No.7: The Shaggs

Unsung Figures No.7: The Shaggs

Music, like all art, elicits – or at least should elicit – all kinds of value laden responses from those who engage with it, whether casually or obsessively or somewhere inbetween. We can all think of music we hate, and indeed if you are an obsessive (like us) then the music you don’t like defines you just as strongly as the music you do. Example: in the wake of Phil Collins anouncing his un-retirement music fans everywhere seem to be queuing up to insist the he un-unretires, such is the strength of feeling towards his music. It’s kind of inexplicable Read more »

Unsung Figures No.6: Judee Sill

Unsung Figures No.6: Judee Sill

The latest in our series exploring peripheral musical figures looks at the troubled life and ambitious musicality of this Californian singer-songwriter. The first time I heard Judee Sill, which I’ll admit is less than a few years ago, my initial reaction was that this was all very lovely and her voice very pleasant but it was a little lacking in edge or bite. Something grabbed me though and having borrowed the albums from the friend who played her to me I listened again, intrigued by an underlying quality in the music that suggested I might want to dig deeper. One Read more »

Unsung Figures No.5: Terry Reid

Unsung Figures No.5: Terry Reid

We take a look at the life and career of a singer and songwriter who had things turned out differently could have fronted either of two of the biggest rock bands of the 70’s. I’m not sure it’s fair or even accurate to call Terry Reid one of the unluckiest men in rock music. Here is a man who recorded his first album as a teenager, toured America as a headliner not long after, has worked with, toured with, and befriended everyone from the Rolling Stones to CSNY, from Jackson Browne to Bonnie Raitt. And yet the feeling that pervades Read more »

Unsung Figures No.4: Jobriath

Unsung Figures No.4: Jobriath

“The hairy beasts who wrote for the music press laughed Jobriath off the face of the planet. He was, at best, merely considered to be ‘insane’. It was clear that Jobriath was willing to go the gay distance, something that even the intelligentsia didn’t much care for. Elton John knew this in 1973; Jobriath didn’t. Surrounded on all sides by Journey, Styx, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Jobriath was at society’s mercy. Yet it could have worked so well.” – Morrissey. “There’s no success like failure” sang Bob Dylan some 8 years before Jobriath’s debut lp was released, “and failure’s no success Read more »

Unsung Figures no.3: Connie Converse

Unsung Figures no.3: Connie Converse

Continuing our series on under-appreciated musical artists we look at the life, music, and disappearance of this American singer/songwriter In between two tall mountains there’s a place they call Lonesome. Don’t see why they call it Lonesome; I’m never lonesome when I go there – from Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains) When I embarked on this series the idea was to bring to your attention talented artists who might be known in the right circles but whom maybe deserved wider attention, those who had a recording career and substantially toiled for their art but failed to make a lasting Read more »

Unsung Figures No. 1: Paul Hucklebuck Williams

Unsung Figures No. 1: Paul Hucklebuck Williams

We contribute a little to give Paul Hucklebuck Williams the recognition he deserves! As many of you will know by now we here at MVD have musical tastes which cover a broad range of both genres and eras. Last week we presented you with the first of our Musical Decades playlists covering the 50´s, and we like to think we covered a pretty eclectic array of music from that important era. The first record in that playlist was Rocket 88, which we included to show that rock and roll didn´t just magically spring up from nowhere the moment Bill Haley sang Read more »