Obscure Groups from the late 60s and early 70s that should have done so much better!

edited June 2021 in General
You hear a fantastic group from that period of greatest rock innovation (late 60s/early 70s) whose album(s) didn't sell well and they then just faded into obscurity. Don't you ask yourself why!?

Also, there's nothing better than being introduced to an extraordinary album by a band that you have never heard of.

Here's my example to start things off, "Jonesy" and their outstanding 1972 album "No Alternative".

AMG says "No Alternative was Jonesy's debut album, and its title track best summed up their aspirations of fusing improvisational jazz to prog rock with barely a thought to commercial consequences". Some people compare them to early King Crimson. 



Looking forward to seeing all your examples.



  • edited June 2021
    This is totally the wrong decade, but I immediately thought of the album Alone Alone by Hungry Ghosts:

    I found it in the midst of the post rock binge of a couple of decades ago (goodness, that long already). It has a haunting, lugubrious, swaying, world-weary feel that stood out amid all the usual soft-loud theatrics. It's rather old-western-movie-ish. Sometimes it sounds as if a lethargic and faded version of Explosions in the Sky jammed with Labradford's ominous atmospherics accompanying. Sometimes it's more Dirty Three, with a plaintive fiddle reaching for tonality. In between are short abstract soundscapes. It evokes dusty, abandoned buildings. For me it just works. For a taster, I recommend giving the track Trying to Lift a Rock with a Bottle on Your Head a listen.

    They had released a previous album and EP that I don't think made any impression, then this in 2000. This video of one track has had 11 million views:

    Then nothing. This great album, then silence.

    Good thread idea. Sorry for hijacking the date range. (I can move it to another thread if you'd rather preserve the timeline).

  • edited June 2021

    John Handy albums songs playlists  Listen on Deezer
    John Handy - "Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival"
    An outstanding ensemble that highlighted the often overlooked west coast avant-garde jazz scene.  The album has three long-form pieces that highlight Handy's talent at flooding the rifts between free form expressions with a fluid harmonic quality.  Despite being one of the greatest live jazz recordings ever, and despite some subsequent critical prestige earned 30-50 years after its 1966 release date, this recording still is barely known at all by the jazz community... including people who typically stick solely to the avant-garde and free improv sections of the jazz aisle.
    After another solid album from this ensemble, Handy switched things up a little after this with the New View recordings, which included Bobby Hutcherson and Pat Martino among the personnel.  Despite being on Columbia, they just never seemed to catch fire like some of their east coast counterparts.  Later, Handy had some regrettable recordings in the 70s/80s that fell squarely in cheesy fusion territory.
    But the Monterey album?  I would have a difficult time leaving it off my top ten classic jazz recordings of all time.

  • Great start to a thread…both “No Alternative” and “Alone, Alone” are just as you described, and I would never have stumbled upon them otherwise.  I’m all ears for these kinds of suggestions, trusting your tastes and the forum itself.

    AMG made me think I searched the wrong Hungry Ghosts, as in one of their not infrequent errors they treat “Alone, Alone” as an EP that doesn’t show in their discography without clicking again.  My guess is they were too good at post rock too early and apparently didn’t stick around for it to get “popular”.  Seems to be very well regarded among those who know it, though.  https://www.allmusic.com/album/alone-alone-mw0000065721  

    If sticking to the 60s & 70s, I won’t have much to contribute since losing my vinyl 15 years ago.  If all decades up to this one (I figure things need at least a year or a few to be considered obscure) may be included, that’s my podcast’s focus, but I intend to stay 90% in the 21st century.  I’m sure I can scrounge up some 90s examples that I will eventually feature if still podcasting in 5-10 years.

    Also curious to know what you all think is criminally underappreciated.  

  • edited June 2021
    @Germanprof only too happy for us all to include anything that is obscure! Particularly if the albums are of the high standard of “Alone Alone”.

    @jonahpwll the John Handy Monterrey album is also outstanding.

    @omnifoo your contributions are most welcome too.
  • edited June 2021
    "Sandrose" 1972 album by Sandrose. Came across it for the first time last week.

    From Progarchives, "Of all the early French prog records, this one is probably the highest rated".


  • Listening to Sandrose now…the vocalist is a bit yelpy, but there’s definitely a lot going on with it musically…I definitely prefer the instrumental passages.

    Among the oldest on my list to feature eventually as “album picks” for my podcast are the two by once-hyped Man Jumping from the mid-80s.  On Eno’s label, I go back and forth on whether these are dated and cheesy or unappreciated genius for mixing jazz, world, electronica, and even some “pop” here and there well before technology made this kind of ambition a lot less messy and rough around the edges.   

    The few raters on AMG do not appear to share my doubts, but it’s pretty clear their experimentation went nowhere commercially, “discographically”, and in terms of being remembered.   https://www.allmusic.com/artist/man-jumping-mn0000566892/discography  

  • You hear a fantastic group from that period of greatest rock innovation (late 60s/early 70s) whose album(s) didn't sell well and they then just faded into obscurity. Don't you ask yourself why!?

    Not to sound dismissive or anything, but for that period... in about 90 percent of cases the answer to the question of "why" is going to be "major-label contracts."

  • Leaf Hound did a really good Hard Rock/Heavy Psych album 1971's "Grower of Mushrooms".

  • edited June 2021
    An ultra obscure band was Mad Timothy which recorded some Blues/Psychedelic Rock songs in the late 60s and early 70s which finally made it on to the 2018 album "A Very Snug Joiner".

  • edited June 2021
    Cherry Five's self titled 1975 album.

    ProgArchives says "The album "Cherry Five" ('75) is a real treat for all progrock lovers: strong and fluent compositions, very melodic and flowing with many good ideas....This is one of the gems of Italian progrock from the Seventies".


  • Bacamarte Depois do Fim album cover
    I had $5 in digital credit at Amazon that was nagging me to spend it, and nothing was grabbing me. So I went to progarchives and checked the top 100 symphonic prog for gaps in my collection. This album is currently #17 on that list. Recorded in 1977 or 1978 depending which website you believe, released 1983. They released one more album (released 1999 but containing 1980s material with a different lineup). A significant majority of the progarchives reviews rate it as essential. It was new to me, and I have only given it one listen so far but it does indeed sound very good so far. Virtuoso guitar, some flute, strong and sparing female vocals in Portuguese. I would never have guessed the apocalyptic theme from the sound of the music, which is not at all doomy. The singer, Jane Duboc, has appeared on a lot of other things, including touring and recording with Egberto Gismonti and has had hits in Brazil. She was #73 on a Rolling Stone Brazil list of best Brazilian singers. (And apparently was a successful athlete before turning to singing).
  • "Overdrive" an outstanding 1971 Hard Blues Rock album by Phafner.

    AMG says "it features great, blues-influenced hard rock with loads of fuzz guitar, in the style of such artists as Josephus or early Johnny Winter....... This is highly recommended to any fan of early-'70s hard rock."


  • edited July 2021
    "Lady Lake" 1972 album by Gnidrolog.

    A heady mix of Prog Rock, Jazz Rock, Psychedelic Folk and even a bit of Hard Rock.

    Progarchives says that "GNIDROLOG are one of the more overlooked bands that took part in the progressive rock explosion in Britain around 1971-73. Intricate band, with an ecletic music that is very hard to categorize."

    The strange band name comes from re-arranging the letters of the founding brothers surname (Goldring) and adding in an "O"!

    Great album cover, emblematic of the period!


  • edited July 2021
    @rostasi the video won't play in my country. Out of interest, what is the band and album?
  • Well, I tried to find another link, but that’s the only one,
    but it’s Whatever Forever by Lighthouse.
  • edited July 2021
    "Noseferatu" first and only album from 1970 by the band of the same name.

    Krautrock verging into Hard Rock. Try the first and best track "Highway".

    AMG says "Named after the vampire from the early expressionist film, Nosferatu were one of the earliest groups from Germany to explore beyond the conventional beat music and blues into the far more progressive realms of Krautrock in the late 1960s. The group is also one of the most obscure Krautrock bands, with only one record to their name."


  • edited August 2021
    The Misunderstood Children Of The Sun The Complete Recordings 1965-1966 -  Cherry Red Records

    Highly rated by iconic British DJ John Peel they were probably a bit ahead of their time. For more information, see Wikipedia. This band really deserved to do much better, listen here
  • I think they were misunderstood.
  • rostasi said:
    I think they were misunderstood.

  • Really interesting story round The Misunderstood on AMG.

  • edited August 2021
    Thanks peterfrederics, they really were the ultimate obscure group from the late 60s and early 70s that should have done so much better. John Peel regularly told the story of how he heard the band play in California and it totally blew his mind

  • edited August 2021
    "Rhésus O", 1971 album by Rhésus O. Top notch Jazz Rock with a tinge of Prog.

    Quoting from Discogs "Good jazz-prog band coming from the suburbs of Paris. Featuring several members from the famous other French band Magma, and sounding more jazzy. This unique album from 1971 is a good catch".

    Whilst ProgArchives says "The French band Rhesus O was formed in 1971 by future Magma keyboarder Jean-Pol Asseline with musicians from the jazz and jazz-rock field and released one self titled record. Soft Machine is the main influence to be found on the record and to a lesser extent Magma, Miles Davis and Frank Zappa. The record presents a melodic jazz-rock with folk and classical elements".



  • edited August 2021
    1960s Dutch group The Outsiders live album "Afraid of the Dark".

    AMG says "....the Outsiders "could issue a serious claim for consideration as the finest rock band of the '60s to hail from a non-English-speaking nation," and Richard Mason penned an essay on the group calling them "the most underrated band ever."


  • "45 RPM - 45 Years Of Rupert's People Music" by the late 1960s band Rupert's People.


    "Reflections Of Charles Brown" by Rupert's People.

  • Rhésus O was a little jazzier than I'd normally have listened to ten years ago, definitely interesting!
  • edited October 2021
    Dedalus fabulous s/t album of Jazz/Progressive Rock from 1973.

    AMG says "The Turin-based Dedalus rank among Italy's most enterprising jazz rock bands and that despite their public profile being the highest among collectors, for whom their two albums remain a holy grail of sorts.

    DEDALUS Dedalus reviews

  • Dedalus fabulous s/t album of Jazz/Progressive Rock from 1973.

    AMG says "The Turin-based Dedalus rank among Italy's most enterprising jazz rock bands and that despite their public profile being the highest among collectors, for whom their two albums remain a holy grail of sorts.

    I recall really liking this album when I discovered it a few years back, but where is it on my hard drives I wonder?

Sign In or Register to comment.