The Best Music You Never Heard


This is my opportunity to share an eclectic background in music.  It's the internet version of the guy who forces you to listen to his music by shoving in the cassette and turning it up full volume!  If you don't know what a cassette is, then you really need to pay attention.

Obviously, the title of this page is not all inclusive.  However, there will be many Boomers who know a lot of the older stuff but perhaps not so much of the more contemporary music.  Generations X, Millennials and the Zoomers will likely experience the opposite.  It doesn't matter what age grooup you belong to, paricularly if you, like me, think of music as, well...just music.  We are awash in labels for different types of music:  blues, pop, urban, punk, jazz, oldies, urban, rap, metal and on and on it goes.  To me, and hopefully to you, good music is just that.  If it sounds good to you, what do you care what the rest of the world thinks?  It sure doesn't bother me and I think that freedom has allowed me to find precious gems that would have likely gone undiscovered in my lifetime.

I promise, I take these submissions seriously and hope that you can find something magical that you never knew about or passed under your radar.  Don't you love that feeling?  Like that album you bought when you were a kid and didn't get it?  And now, 20 years later, you do?

For me, music has been a mile marker and timekeeper throughout my life.  I will hear a certain song and remember clearly the time of my life when I first heard/the song or album.  I know this is not unique but I find it fascinating how music can cement memories that I would have probably lost.


These records are presented in no particular order.  They will be discussed when I'm inspired.  My goal is to try to do something once a week but, hey, my boss is pretty flexible and if you know me and my proclivity to chase shiney baubles, it probably won't be that often.  We'll see....  Also, it is my objective to invite friends and industry pros, wannabees or anyone who has a deep love and respect for music to write about an album that is important to them.  If YOU would like to be considered for publishing a review on this blog, go ahead and send it to me and I will let you know!

I'm still trying to figure out how to allow commentary from you.  When I do, please remember, these opinions are my own.  They are NOT authoritative and presented in the spirit of sharing.  I do NOT wish to debate.  I love debate, but I simply don't have the time.  Don't get butt hurt if I don't respond to your post.  If you are particularly nasty, I will not hesitate to remove and ban you.  Let's be grownups and share.

Above all, remember that like your relationship with your higher power, music is an intensely personal pursuit.  Please Enjoy!


Updated: 2 days ago

I know kids. Ancient territory. I do enjoy new music will comment on recent music soon. At one post a year, I should get to you about 2024.

However, if you take a close listen, perhaps this monumental album might give you a sense of why the greatest musical decade that ever was and , my humble opinion, still holds the title. The 1970's. Take a real deep think and tell me if I'm not at least close. In fact, barring Mozart and those guys, I dare you to submit a decade that produced the core of what we call popular (Pop) music today.

David Bowie. What can you say? They called him a "chameleon". And for good reason. Not only did he take on the androgynous identity of Ziggy Stardust (the undisputed leader of the "Spiders from Mars") he also transformed into the "Thin White Duke", "The Blind Prophet", "Aladdin Sane", "Major Tom" or "Halloween Jack".

In retrospect, it is simply amazing how he slid in and out of these various personas as easily as a lubed up.... well, like a lubed up, ....uhhhh. I don't know. I will not be accused of writing filth. Yet (a big nod to you Mr. Bukowski) but today isn't that day.

Let us put things in perspective. Ziggy and the Spiders album was released June 6, 1972. Your PARENTS were kids then.

Being gay, flamboyant, Glam oriented, or anything out of the cultural norms of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's ever longing for the right girl, was, well, at the time, I'm sure, quite confusing to the record-buying public, en masse.

Although Marc Bolan (with and without T. Rex) had made significant inroads into rock and roll androgyny, he was mostly a British charm and really never made a huge impact in the US with the exception of the very unthreatening "Bang a Gong, Get It On". A rock anthem for sure but it was quite vanilla.

Else, we were still watching Elton John playing straight "piano player" who could never quite decide on whether or not he wanted to be a C&W artist or a flowery balladeer. Queen had yet to hit the scene with any significance. The New York Dolls, Gary Glitter, and Alice Cooper were only whispers if non-existent.

The record is a loosely based story about an alien (like the outer space kind, Trumpers) and his observations and struggles of being an earthling and a rock star. be continued

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Updated: Aug 28, 2021

Gram Parsons was born Ingram Cecil Connor III on Novemeber 5, 1946 In Winterhaven Florida. He died on September 19, 1973.

Poor Gram. He didn't even make the "27 Club" whose more esteemed members include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Ron "Pigman" McKernan, Amy Winehouse and Chris Bell amongst many other influential musicians.

Boy, trying to encapsulate Gram in a short blog is pretty challenging. Post Boomers are not likely to know anything about him and even many Boomers are unfamiliar. Let's frame him this way: Without Gram, there would be no "Country Rock". He managed to commandeer the lead role in already established "The Byrds" and the result of this brief takeover resulted in the monumental Byrds album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo". Although Gram had been at work well before this classic 1968 release, his participation resulted in what many consider the ultimate seed album for the "Country Rock" genre.

With Gram, there would be no Eagles, Jackson Browne, Creedence, Linda Ronstadt (one of Gram's backup singers and collaborator), Charlie Daniels, Pure Prairie League and further up the California soft rock scene, Fleetwood Man (the xth generation with Buckingham/Nicks).

"Sweethearts" is such a classic. But Gram had fronted other bands that left their mark on the contemporary music scene then and now. "The International Submarine Band" was really his first entrance onto the Western music scene. He also fronted the phenomenal "Flying Burrito Brothers" who probably deserve a blog of their own.

His influences ranged from Merle Haggard (" I Must Be Somebody Else You've Known" ) to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Buck Owens not to mention the entire, gigantic burgeoning rock and roll scene that stormed the 1960's.

He wasn't afraid to take risks. Imagine, back in the sixties, some "long hair" walking onstage in a cowboy bar with a sequined and "bedazzled" matching coat and pants depicting every drug on the planet, singing this, at the time, strange mixture of songs all those cowboys knew all the way to something bordering on head scratching is-this-country-or-what? He left many scratching their heads but ultimately gained a loyal following from both the rock and country camps.

His solo career was short. The two albums listed above pretty much comprise his entire catalog. However, here is where the genius of Gram shines. He rehydrates the classic "Hickory Wind" from "Sweetheart", but this time helped by the, then , relatively unknown true sweetheart of the rodeo, Emmylou Harris. I personally think that this time, with Harris, were his masterworks. Titles to hear include the penultimate version of "Love Hurts" which was later a huge hit for the mostly forgotten 70's rock act "Nazareth". George Jones' "That's All it Took" , Parson's self penned "Hearts on Fire", "Return of the Grievous Angel", "Cry One More Time", and the sadly foreboding "In My Hour of Darkness" round out the cream on top the milk. There are more gems too numerous to mention here.

As alluded to at the beginning, Gram died at age 26. Can you imagine? The gigantic influence this man had was during a age many of us would still consider a "boy". What can you say about that kind of genius? Shooting star isn't even appropriate. His influenced continues to haunt the studios of Wilco, Whiskeytown, Son Volt, Black Eyed Keys, Jack White and so many, many others.

Though his death was indeed tragic -alone in a cheap motel room in Joshua Tree, CA- his demise still remains a bit of mystery. Check out this Rolling Stone article from the time:

What really strikes me about this article, besides the obvious wonderment, is how "gentle" the press was back then. And this was a "left wing-commie-pinko-faggot" magazine in the minds of the public at large. Imagine how they would have ripped poor Gram to shreds today?

Here's an added bonus I really urge you to check out even if you are a casual fan. "Grand Theft Parsons" is a 2003 comedy about the true story of a pact Gram and his road manager Phil Kaufman made. The pact between the two best friends was simply this: Which ever of us dies first will ensure the other is burned upon the majestic landscape of the Joshua Tree National Monument.

The film is a sleeper starring Johnny Knoxville in a surprisingly convincing performance as Kaufman. It's mostly true but you should still have a grain of salt or two on hand. Highly recommended.

Also there is a more standard documentary produced by Spothouse& The BBC called "Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel". It's a freebie on Youtube so just click to watch. It's pretty fascinating.

As I progress in these articles, we shall encounter myriad geniuses. However, I am particularly in awe of this guy. So much creation in so little time... RIP Gram Parsons. What could have been?

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