Okay, so since this group has slowed down, I'd like to post a discussion. Admittedly, I have little knowledge in this genre. Who can clue me in and hip me to the essential releases/bands that I need to hear?
Well, it depends on how deep you already are and have been.
At least for my answer.
For example, have you heard/own Montrose - s/t?
THE most important hard rock debut, in terms of its historical context. Recorded in '73 and you'll hear Eddie Van Halen influenced all over it. W/O this album, Van Halen's first two albums sound totally different.
What about Budgie? "Bandolier" has two essential hard rock songs for me - "Breaking All The House Rules" and " Napoleon Bona Part 1 & 2". Now, these are not obscure, certainly but they are foundational and it's best to key up on some missed mini-classics like this before going deep and obscure.
Foundational albums along this line(ie: not the so terribly obscured but still not obvious):
Foghat - Rock 'n Roll Outlaws(the most overlooked album in their catalog and still my favorite)
Nazareth - Loud 'n Proud
Rainbow - Rainbow Rising
Golden Earring - Moontan (don't get me going on Golden Earring - I'm a complete geek for all the 70s and very early 80s albums)
Cactus - s/t
I must shame Mr. Brodeen for not naming Robin Trower (we both share a passion for the Man). Many called him a Hendrix knockoff, which, sure, his sound is influenced by Mr. Jimi. However, up to, and including Live, Mr. Trower was probably one of the most consistent 70's hard rockers. Bridge of Sighs is, IMHO essential in any collection of any era. (Again, if one considers Mr. Trower "obscure.")
Definitely obscure: if you missed the my post to Lucifer's Friend, a German band of that era, I would hop on over and give that a listen. The Zep riff ripoff is worth the price of admission. I believe their debut is still out there somewhere for sale. It is fine. Kind of Deep Purple/Zep feel.
I also would urge a look at Rainbow. I recently gave them a relisten, and Rainbow Rising is might-tee-fine.
Trower's not obscure, Stan.....He had a few Gold records in the early/mid 70s - rightfully so. Btw, thre's a GREAt reissue of ALL his Crysalis albums - '73-78 into a 3 CD set - 5 albums for about $20.
I listened to Rainbow Rising a week ago today driving to Salt Lake City - I bought it the day it came out and am more convinced today of its sheer perfection and to be representative of the hard rock genre than every before. Absolutely perfect.
That said, I listenened to the first one, Blackmore's Rainbow, afterwards and other than 3 great songs, the rest kinda blows. Of course, Dio shines.
You would be surprised Bruce. I had never heard of Robin Trower until I discovered him on a "artists you must here' but probably never will section on amazon. None of my friends had ever heard of him. In what country did he achieve gold album status? Every now and then he steps out of Hendrixs shadow and blows me away with a song like "in this place".
Also, there's a couple of video series on Youtube. Herewith the part 1 of one of 'em.
There's at least three parts. And yeah, like Bruce points out, to somebody 70's classics may represent obscure items. Or vice versa, for that matter. It all depends. Like the following band, SAHB, is important to me and for someone else they might look like a bunch of clowns. At least, I guess they would qualify as being obscure.
All great answers, the lists could go on forever! Definitely Rainbow! Also please check out the early Judas Priest. Most people think of them as an '80's metal band, but Rocka Rolla came out in 1974. Their first few albums, pre-humbucker (Sad Wings of Destiny and Sin After Sin=phenomenal) had a completely different sound than their later, heavier stuff like British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance. They have a couple covers, which are better than the originals I feel. Spooky Tooth "Better By You, Better Than Me", Fleetwood Mac's "Green Manalishi" and Joan Baez (!) "Diamonds and Rust". Rob Halford, one of the most beautiful voices in rock and roll. If you are not familiar with their very early stuff, check it out, I think you will like it!
TOTALLY agree about the early Priest albums. My first was "Sin After Sin" bought at a porn shop that sold promotional vinyl that DJs dropped off in the Combat Zone in Boston(I swear - I may have been 14 in '76 but I went in there to buy the vinyl. No, really!). Cost me .49 cents and put it on and was like "Whaatt?!". Shortly, afterwards I found "Rocka Rolla" and was all-in.
"Better By You, Better Than Me" is a scorcher of a track. Those first two Rainbow albums still slay me - listen to them a few times a year without fail - so that is a 35 year relationship I have w/ those albums!
I was blown away by these guys the first time I heard them. Loved it so much that I quickly picked up a vinyl reissue for 30 greenbacks!
Sir Lord Baltimore - Kingdom Come (debut) = awesome
Sir Lord Baltimore- Self Titled = not so awesome
Now, from the debut......Here for your listening pleasure...
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