Your 2.10.21 Playpen

Today’s Playpen topic is a reader request (thanks, Russ!) that I thought would be fun.

I was listening to one of my favorite albums the other day “Marscape” by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley (Brand X).  It’s an instrumental album from the mid 70’s based (obviously) on a trip to Mars.  I’m sure it was inspired by the Viking 1 and 2 missions in the mid 70’s.  Anyway, it’s a cool album that I still enjoy and the interesting thing to me is that it was basically just random chance that I found it.

I was searching the cut out bins at Peaches in the mid 70’s when I came across the album.  It has a cool cover painting of the Martian landscape and that, along with the track titles, were enough to get my teenaged dollars (probably $2.99 or so).  Took it home, listened to it, and found that it was just to my tastes.  So much so that I still pull it out now on occasion.

I’ve had a few others like that.  Jan Akkerman (guitarist for Focus) had an instrumental guitar/stringed instrument album which I also found in the cutout bin.  But I knew of Akkerman because I liked Focus, so that one wasn’t as much of a stretch.

Anyway, this got me thinking.  What are some albums/artists that you discovered almost by accident that you still enjoy today?  I wonder what others have found?

I will start, because mine is such an easy choice.  When I was a college DJ hosting a weekly radio show, I’d show up an hour early to go through whatever new records had been sent to the station for promotional purposes.  Mostly, it would be a mix of things I’d been anticipating along with crap I wasn’t, but every once in a while I’d find a record I knew nothing about.

Like, one week, this one.

220px-nuggets2c_volume_1

This was obscure at the time, obscure enough that I discovered later it was actually a re-release of a 1972 compilation.  I asked around, to see if anyone else had listened to it and got nothing but blank stares.  (Three weeks later, the same people were walking around telling me how great it was.)  Anyway, to start my show that day, I slapped the first side on a turntable, dropped the needle, heard The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” and played the rest in its entirety for my first set.  I did the same thing with the remaining sides over the next few weeks.

It’s still one of my very favorite albums that I play regularly to this day.

Share what you’ve got in the comments.  Rock on!

122 Comments

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122 responses to “Your 2.10.21 Playpen

  1. bwaredogs

    My first few years teaching high school 20 something years ago, I loved talking music with my students. Then they started making me CDs! Lots of typical early 2000s pop/rock, but one kid (who now works on a cannabis farm in Oregon) always brought me the best CDs. While they may not the be taste of many on this blog, I really got excited about the O.A.R. music he’d share. Loved it so much I’ve now seen them about 25 times live.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spell Dawg


    Not too old or obscure, but when I finally started digging deeper than Marley and (popular at the time) Buju Banton, Toots & The Maytals’ Funky Kingston was like hitting the mother-load. I listened to them nearly every day for maybe a year, they’ll always be in my rotation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gastr1

    Also not too old or obscure, but about obscure and old music: I was visiting an old friend in about 2010 and he was playing something that really caught my ear. Asked what it was, and was embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t familiar with genre at all, 1970s Afro-beat and its subgenres (Highlife, for example). So I went and got this treasure that has been in rotations ever since, Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues. https://www.amazon.com/Nigeria-Special-Highlife-Afro-Sounds-Nigerian/dp/B000WM8IAU

    Highest recommendation for one of those backward-looking-but-new-to-you-discoveries.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Russ

    Dang, Senator. They should call that album “Mother Lode” instead of “Nuggets”. That’s a lot of music. I’ll have to track that down.

    Does anyone else use Amazon Prime Music to track down things like this? I don’t use Spotify since I already have AP. If you haven’t tried it (and you have Amazon Prime) give it a shot.

    Like

  5. Illini84

    Albums? I mustered out of Oakland Army Base in September 69. My buddy who lived in the city picked me up, we went to see a guy and then to the Fillmore to see some band named Santana. I bought the album as soon as I could recorded it on my Akai reel-to-reel and sent it to my buddy who was still at Camp Enari!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. NotMyCrossToBear

    When I was18 I really got into the Allman Brothers Band. On a live album I heard Duane Allman mention King Curtis. It took a while but I finally got hold of a King Curtis cd and immediately fell in love with his music. So many great tunes and I still love listening to him to this day.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. benco04

    An Anthology, Duane Allman. Pretty much blew my mind when I heard that collection of songs. Who knew Duane and Wilson Pickett could one-up The Beatles on one of their best songs?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. ASEF

    I had 2 older brothers and an older sister, ranging in age from 4 to 12 years older. So I was listening to their albums literally in the crib, from that point forward. One of them had a best friend who worked in a record shop, and he had a very good ear for what was going to break out. I was always the first kid at school listening to REM or U2 or…

    But that kind of precluded finding stuff on my own. Even my music was hand me down. 🙂

    My wife and I went to Scotland, Wales, and England right after college, and the pub music in Scotland got us interested enough to browse a record store while we were waiting on a train. Came home with Battlefield Band and Runrig, which work really well on the car stereo. The screeching bagpipes nicely counter someone with the high dollar subwoofer at the stoplight thumping the latest hip hop offering.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Russ

      Have you seen that latest movie about Zappa? It was produced by Alex Winters of “Bill and Ted”. He is a huge Zappa fan.

      Zappa had so many layers that there always seems to be more to discover. I started listening to “Hot Rats” last year and it’s a great jazzy rock album with just bit of Zappa weirdness.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Godawg

      Loved Overnight Sensation. So many classic Zappa songs…still know all the words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Texas Dawg

    Jupiter Coyote puts on a great show

    Like

    • Saw them in Macon at the Capitol Theater before Covid shut everything down. Still put on a good show. I remember when they were called the Rockafellas first. I think they had to change the band name due to someone else having already having it in use.

      Like

  10. Vox Dawg

    I was driving back from Birmingham Airport late at night in 1996 and caught an episode of Future Hits with Joel Denver, he played “Charms” from the Philosopher Kings. Loved the song and picked up the album at the first opportunity I could order it.

    Their self-titled album came out in Canada in 1994, but took a couple of years to reach the US. It’s been a favorite gem of mine for decades, now.

    Like

  11. Seeing these tracks makes me wonder–again–why the “oldies” radio stations don’t play all the songs that were popular, back in the days. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Paul Revere’s “Just Like Me” or “Steppin’ Out” played on commercial radio since 1967, or whenever those songs were first popular. XM radio does a much better job of preserving this music than commercial radio does.

    One album I bought, that nobody else in my bunch of buddies knew about, was the Cryan Shames record that featured “Greenburg Glickstein Charles David Smith and Jones.” WLS played that song a lot in ’68, haven’t heard it since.

    Like

    • Russ

      Radio (and even satellite radio) really does stick to the same formula. About the best I’ve heard on satellite is Little Steven’s Underground Garage. On Friday nights, Drew Carey (yeah, that one) hosts and he does a great job digging up old tunes.

      Another suggestion is to try the alternate HD channels if you have HD radio in your car or home. Public radio in Houston used to play Xponential Radio and it was a great eclectic mix. But they’ve stopped carrying it here in Houston. I think you can still stream it, though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Really dig that XM channel. Heard them play “Are You a Boy or a Girl” on that station, also “Waitin’ For My Man,” “Night of the Sadist” & other groundbreaking & obscure stuff, also a lot of more recent garage-rock stuff. I usually alternate that channel with Deep Tracks, where they’ll occasionally play things like “21st Century Schizoid Man.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wolfman

          One of the things I’ve started doing when I stopped paying for XM was get the TuneIn app on my phone, and listen to all sorts of local radio. For modern music that’s actually good, I have been listening to Lightning100 out of Nashville, KFMU from Steambout Springs, CO, or WNRN from Charlottesville. But the app recommends similar stations from all over the country, and I have found some great music just by letting the radio roll by. So much better than the corporate radio on the dial here. It’s all local, so some of the DJs play stuff I hate, but that’s the beauty of local radio. Sometimes I get tired of my own stuff and just need someone to play something for me.

          Liked by 4 people

  12. Scotty King

    Starz “Violation”
    Shaver “Tramp On Your Street”
    Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise
    Faces “A Nod’s As Good As A Wink”

    Liked by 1 person

    • siskey

      I was going to say Robert Bradley’s, Blackwater Suprise. I am 42 so I don’t have the same stories about coming across something totally under the radar as by my teens you had Flagpole. Rolling Stone, Spin, et al that at least gave you an idea about what was not being played on V103, 99X, and 96.1, but that first Robert Bradley album is fantastic.
      I also came across some good CDs at the Tower Records in Naha, Okinawa around 2004-2005 that were bands I knew of Dash Rip Rock but I had never seen at Wuxtry or the like.
      Wuxtry has some compilations that are from defunct labels i.e. Philly Soul, Detroit Drum, and Bass that they sometimes have in the display counter that I have never been disappointed in.
      The internet is great and terrible but what it has done re-killing the tangible thrill of new music is up there with its worst consequences.

      Like

  13. Ryan Williams

    I’m a sucker for harmonies and in high school (90’s) I stumbled upon this Australian band called Taxiride. They might have been a bit poppy for some but the 4 guys all had incredible voices and their harmonies instantly reminded me of Crosby, Stills and Nash. They coincidentally covered ‘Helplessly Hoping’ for a movie soundtrack. The only show they ever did in Atlanta was Rockfest back in 99 at the Speedway.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. RangerRuss

    This Playpen has the potential to send me down a rabbit hole from which I won’t emerge until tomorrow. Now where did I pack that bong up 23years ago?
    Uncle Got, is your operation up and running yet?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Got Cowdog

      Not yet.
      The R&D department has a few things working and the facilities are up to speed but nothing for public distribution at this time.
      However, you could stop by the Produce Stand for a sample of our exquisite Grandpa Got’s Kushest Winter Greens to try in your steamer…

      Liked by 5 people

  15. Harold Miller

    I have been a fan of the Boston Atl Rock scene for years. Always liked the music of Jeff Conolly, so finding the DMZ LP years ago was a treasure for me. Still listen to if from time to time.

    Like

    • Harold Miller

      Oh, one more treasure. I used to get to record shows back in the 80s with me friend Tom Street. There was one at a hotel near spaghetti junction way back when, and we both found copies of the original pressing of The Modern Lovers LP.

      Like

  16. gotthepicture

    I got a compilation CD back in 2000-01 for donating to WNCW (public radio station near Asheville). One of the tracks was “Gangsta Lean” by the Gourds, which is a Bluegrass outfit. That and their version of “Gin & Juice” are so delightful- bluegrass meets gansta rap. I think it was the first time I’d ever heard Gin & Juice all the way through.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Speaking of the Swingin’ Medallions–was anybody here aboard the Party Boat from Amelia Island to the Gator Bowl in ’97? I assure you, a grand time was had by one and all (except for that one Gator on board, who was totally in shock).

    Like

  18. Bulldawg Bill

    Instrumental guitar types would do well to look up Paul Kossoff’s “Back Street Crawler” solo lp. Side B is a 17:00+/- instrumental jam, “Tuesday Morning.” Koss made his rep with Free (All Right Now). A guitar player’s player.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. cowetadawg

    Dick Gaughan’s “Handfull of Earth”. If you can’t dig his awesome and a bit unorthodox picking style along with the Scottish passion in his songs, then slap yourself to make sure you’re breathing.

    Like

  20. Have any of you listened to Deer Tick…surprisingly , those Yankees can sing…they aren’t very obscure, but since I’m a middle aged fart, I don’t listen to much “contemporary “ music…all the music I grew up on now is found on classic rock stations…even grunge shit from the 90’s …now anything recorded since 1993 is obscure to me

    Enjoy you gnarled up junk yard Dawgs…GATA

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwivupbVx9_uAhWaZM0KHZouCFsQyCkwAnoECAcQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dvmwm7nYG8v4&usg=AOvVaw3RNHISuujEfsf0L_mAJRfR

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Idlewild Dawg

    ‘The Legend of Jesse James’- Levon Helm, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Emmylou Harris, Albert Lee
    ‘Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid’ – Dylan, McGuinn, Booker T
    ‘White Mansions’ – Waylon & Jessi

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Remember the Quincy

    I love listening to music, but I rarely pay attention to lyrics. It’s about the sound for me. I also hate concerts.

    That said, mine is Kinchafoonee Cowboys. In college, a friend told me about them and convinced me to go see them at the Georgia Theater. But being a country fan or a concert lover, it was a tough sell, but I agreed finally. So glad I did. I’ve loved their music ever since and went to see them every time they were in Athens.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. classiccitycanine

    Zephaniah OHora is my latest and greatest discovery. He’s a better version of Sturgill Simpson.

    Like

    • DawgFlan

      Got him going right now – good first impression w/ Living Too Long. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • DawgFlan

        OK so I am enjoying Zephaniah. Smooth baritone combined with well done retro-modern country revival grooves. A lot to like, and very easy to listen too.

        That said, I disagree that he is anywhere near to Sturgill Simpson, much less a better version. Sturgill is brilliant musician with a haunting voice, genre bending style, mind warping lyrics.

        Zephaniah is “safe” and more derivative in comparison. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. 86bone

    The Sandmen album Western Blood
    Found it early 90’s and it is still a go to for some reason

    Like

  25. TripleB

    I recently listened to an album suggested by my 21 year old son. I didn’t even know he listened to David Allen Coe. It’s “Live at Billy Bob’s” and it is surprisingly good. A few songs I had never heard by any artist.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. The Decider

    Ted Hawkins- Next 100 Years

    Like

  27. Opelikadawg

    I won an album from a radio station by Roxy Music frontman Brian Ferry called “Let’s Stick Together” that was a pleasant surprise. Years later, a friend gave me a copy of local Athens band Dayroom’s CD “Contagious” that I couldn’t stop playing.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Tommy Perkins

    Several years before moving to Austin, Texas, where he’s a patron saint, I randomly discovered Doug Sahm in a Charleston record store. Really, all I had to go on was that he looked like Nash Kato from Urge Overkill in a cowboy hat. Sahm turned out to be a fountainhead of Tex-Mex music styles (Cojunto, Norteno, etc.), not to mention free jazz, psychedelia, blues, country, etc.

    Anyway, picked this up at random and Mendocino hooked me for life. https://images.app.goo.gl/ESsqq8VNSWQMRNTs7

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Bay Area Dawg

    Weekend Excursions self titled album back in 1997.

    Like

  30. A few:
    A video game of things introduced me to the Trio of Doom — a one-off jazz power trio that had John McLaughlin on guitar and Jaco Pastorius on bass

    When the song “Blackest Eyes” was featured on Smallville (which I watched in college), I checked out a band called Porcupine Tree, which was a wonderful musical rabbit hole for a band that started off sounding a lot like Pink Floyd, went metal, and then the founder went solo and put out some of the best-sounding vinyl LPs of the last decade (and was tapped to handle remixing King Crimson and Yes).

    Liked by 1 person

  31. DawgFlan

    My Ry Cooder loving father-in-law had just gotten a copy of Buena Vista Social Club and was listening to it for the first time while I was there for a visit. Don’t know how long it stayed in his rotation, but I got my own copy and it remains in mine. It also prompted this GenXer to learn more about Ry Cooder.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, released in 92. Never got airplay at all, but a favorite record of mine. Izzy was the real talent behind GNR and when he left, it all went to shit. Check it out if you like bluesy, up tempo, Keith Richards esq rock and roll.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Smoky Joe Would

    Early 2000’s there was a commercial that featured a song that my wife and I loved, she bought me the album for a birthday kind of as a joke. Ray Lomontagne’s “Trouble”, we had never heard anything from him before that. Loved every track on that album

    Like

  34. otto1980

    I have found various bands through Soundtracks, Friends, independent CD shops which I was a regular. A few come to mind

    Hooverphonic is the one I still follow and are active. 2wicky made a couple of soundtrack but their live LP with Orchestra is awesome. They are Indie/Bristol Sound. Their electric stuff is often more smoky.

    Luna, I believe heard their cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine on 88.5 and then a coworker was a big fan of them before I new about them. Very Indie IMO. I like covers that put a twist on the original.

    Pigface A friend on a forum was a fan. They are Industrial Metal. He had Nutopia as his Myspace song. Lyrics might be NWS.

    Like

  35. David D

    Really not that obscure for true fans of the genre, but Television’s “Marquee Moon” really opened my eyes back in the day. Very influential.

    Like

  36. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    In the early 70s I worked at Kroger at Beechwood (about where Stein Mart is today), and mostly worked on the stock crew which was a night job. It was basically 4-5 guys in their 20s, and one much older (I would guess 40s) boss. Store was closed while we worked, and one guy always brought a radio and hooked it up to the store PA system. UGA student station played some really different music from about 10:00 to 6:00, and I got interested in West Coast music which I find hard to categorize: elements of ‘new age’, jazz, folk, classical. Paul Winter is my go-to guy, a soprano sax player.

    Like

  37. First off, based on most everything here, I think all of y’all should check out something I found by accident called Radio Tucker. Great online local radio station that can be user controlled to request a song and hear it one or two songs later.
    My “by accident” discovery was The Brecker Brothers — jazz fusion group featuring David Sanborn. I was a sax player in high school and took lessons from a guy who was a sax player and turned me on to them. Here’s Some Skunk Funk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIGsSLCoIhM

    Liked by 1 person

  38. NotMyCrossToBear

    Just remembering a Boston, MA band from the 80’s named The del Fuegos. Used to crank their song Don’t Run Wild on the way to football practice.

    Like

  39. Way back in the day, I heard a song by “pink something or other” and went looking for it. I ended up buying the first Pink Floyd record, but that wasn’t it. It turned out to be “Music from Big Pink” by The Band (Tears of Rage, I think was the song). I eventually bought that too. A double win.
    Speaking of Jac Holzman, I met him once. My wife to be was in a band that Jac showed some interest in. He came to the band’s communal house in Metro NYC and talked about the possibilities of signing them. He gave them some free studio time down in NYC, but they never did get signed.

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  40. I used to love Hype Machine (hypem.com) for finding new music in the early-to-mid aughts when music blogs were huge. I discovered the Austin band White Denim there and I absolutely love their album Corsicana Lemonade. Parts alternative, psychedelia, punk, and prog. It’s a fun bad that I hope to see live one day.

    Like

  41. 123 Fake St

    Walked into a Keller Williams show at the GA Theatre in 99 or 2000 not knowing what to expect. There were probably 300 people there. I was blown away by the one man show. Bought the cd “Loop” on the way out. I wore that cd out and every person that heard it, always said “Who the hell is this!?” He’s pretty famous now.

    Also, same kind of deal, walked into a bar and this bluegrass band from New York City called “Yarn” was picking. They were/are great. I bought their cd “Come On In” on the way out because the pretty merch girl said I’d like it. She was correct. These guys still aren’t famous and I can’t figure out why not. Highly recommend.

    Also check out the self titled Diamond Rugs album released in 2012. They’re an indie grunge super group made up of members of Deer Tick, Dead Confederate, Los Lobos, Black Lips, and Six Finger Satellite. The album rocks front to end. They actually played Letterman one time.

    I also discovered Marcy Playground on accident by buying a High Times. It came with the fine reading. The single Sex and Candy was the only song on there. Probably a year before the radio started playing it.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. 123 Fake St

    I stumbled across My Morning Jacket in the early 2000s. My buddy had a Tape Cassette that we would crank. They blew up a few years after. Great live band to see if you haven’t seen them yet.

    Like

  43. Sweet D

    This is a late reply but Morphine’s Cure For Pain album blew me away. Love the interaction of the fret less bass and the sax. A totally different kind of power trio.
    Check out Buena and All Wrong and let me know.

    Like

  44. Russ

    I have a good friend that’s been living/working in Cologne, Germany for the past decade. He told me about a guy named Holger that was weird, in a cool way, that lived in his building. Turns out, he was in the band “Can”. I’d never heard of Holger Czukay or the band, but he sounded like an interesting cat so I listened to the band. Interesting German experimental music sort of in the Kraftwerk vein, except a little more out there. Definitely an acquired taste but I enjoyed it. That was a random discovery for sure.

    Like

  45. Nice deflection today, Senator. Pleasant playpen all around.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Raleighwood Dawg

    If you like psych(ish) rock, lotsa guitars, and great harmonies, check out “Spaceface”

    Like

  47. RangerRuss

    Driveways. 2019. Brian Dennehy’s final film will be on at 9:30 TMC-E and 12:30 on TMC-W. It’s about a woman that travels to pack up her late hoarder sister’s house to sell. Her 8 year old son makes friends with the neighbor, a Korean War veteran still grieving for his late wife. An interesting character study with no surprise ending or cutesy BS. I recommend it and will watch it again if for nothing more than Dennehy’s performance.
    100% on Rotten Tomatoes which is very rare.

    Like

  48. poetdawg

    I selected the Mavericks station on Pandora and discovered three great alt country bands, Andy’s Automatics, Prairie Oyster and the Derailers. Incredible music from the 90’s that I never knew existed. Can’t believe that none of them ever made it big; better than many better known bands. Good tracks include She Won’t Be Lonely Long (Prairie Oyster), Cry for Me (Andy’s Automatics) and Hold On Fool Heart (Derailers). All were pleasant surprises.

    Like

  49. Mine would be finding Tyler Childers on a Spotify Alt Country playlist a few years back. “Universal Sound” was on the mix of songs in the playlist and lead me to find his live stuff and now he is getting radio play with his current album.

    He puts out some great stuff.

    Like

  50. Senator,
    You mentioned you were a college DJ? Was this at WUOG? I was too from ’82-’84…
    I did regular shifts but also did the blues show. But I was also a fixture for the Folk Scene 6p-8p Saturdays.
    So, they used to interview the local bands 530-6 right before my show. I can still remember standing in the back of the booth with a stack of records waiting for the interviews to finish so I could start.
    Up close and personal if you will w/ folks from Pylon, Love Tractor, Oh-OK, The Little Tigers and, of course, REM.

    Of course, my favorite shift was 12a-3a (sign off) where I found myself playing Mountain Jam (both sides of Eat A Peach) more than a few times. Somehow, I never got called on the carpet for playing the Brothers who, at that time, were a big no-no.

    Like

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