Another lists post to ease you into the weekend. The NJ Star Ledger offers "The 25 Greatest Songs You've Never Heard." Don't quibble that you've heard them, go with the flow. I second, third and fourth one recommendation there of Gallo del Cielo, written by Tom Russell. Joe Ely's version is great too but Tom's original does the melancholy and anguish better.
Here are five off the top of my head. Of course, add yours to comments.
"Black Books" Nils Lofgren (Album: Acoustic Live) Plenty of people have heard this via the Sopranos soundtrack, but not enough. Lofgren's voice is ... molten. It sounds pixie-ish and brittle but you can't break it with a stick. He's not always hit these heights in his solo career but this is a truly haunting and beautiful song.
A neat segue to Nils's sometime employer Bruce Spingsteen. You might think nothing The Boss has ever done could be possibly be obscure but tucked away at the very end of The Rising is "Paradise." At the same time this came out, Steve Earle was copping it for his vanilla John Walker Lindh song, and here was the Boss with a ditty about suicide bombers and their victims just begging to be misinterpreted, and it never got a mention. Which just goes to show, the idiots who make the most noise are usually the ones paying the least attention. Some days, "Paradise" can make me cry. In the end is a sentiment you don't hear alot, the sun upon our face is all we have, which makes the lies told in the name of paradise all the more tragic.
I sink`neath the water cool and clear
Drifting down, I disappear
I see you on the other side
I search for the peace in your eyes
But they're as empty as paradise
They're as empty as paradise
I break above the waves
I feel the sun upon my face
"Meet Me in Music City" Bobby Bare, Jr (Album: From the End of Your Leash) Son of 60s country star (the original "Streets of Baltimore" for you Gram Parsons lovers) and one of the more original voices going round, does rock, indy folk, alt.country, a mixture of all three, and some other stuff, all at once. Irreverent and mostly affectionate tribute to his actual home town and my spiritual one.
I was born at the Ryman Auditorium.
During the Martha White portion of the Grand Ole Opry.
Roy Acuff cut off my umbilical,
And tied me off with his yo-yo string.
That whole album could be one of the best never heard actually but for sentimental reasons this is my favourite. If you subscribe to eMusic they have it there.
"Jail" -- Dan Bern. (Album: The Swastika EP) Which Dan Bern song to choose?? This is the one I probably come back to mostly, highly singalongable and with a message. Sure the message is about the hypocritical war on drugs so nothing new, but he does it with style.
OK, it's easy to find great songs no-one's heard from obscure singer-songwriters but let's end with another big one. The biggest one, in fact. You know Bob Dylan right? And you know that old chestnut "Blowin' In the Wind," but you haven't really heard it 'til you've heard the live version included at the end of Masked and Anonymous. Recorded in at the Santa Cruz Auditorium in March 2000, not on the official soundtrack and unreleased apart from a some Japanese rarities. Sublime perfection, unarguably the world's greatest ever singer proves once again no one does Dylan, like Dylan. Don't even bother disputing this with me.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom.