Influential Producers

I've always found it interesting how much a producer can influence the sound of an artist. The right synergy between the two can make a good artist great and really shape the creative process. A few influential producers come to mind: John Levanthal (Rosanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn), Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams), Tommy Lipuma (Diana Krall). Sometimes I shop recordings by looking for producers who have worked with some of my favorite artists--it doesn't always guarantee a great recording but it helps narrow things down as the producers mark is usually evident no matter which artist is involved. Anyone else look at the credits and see patterns?
Dodgealum - I can't say I typically "buy" for a particular producer but I definitely notice, as you suggest, what seem to me consistent, successful pairings of artist & producer. Would have to dig out the recordings to give you specific names for some current candidates but a few pairings I like are those with Andy Summers, John Mayer and Levon Helm. I don't think it's possible to give too much credit to George Martin for his work with the Beatles. Tchad Blake, Phil Spector and Daniel Lanois are three that quickly come to mind for influencing the sound of an artist - maybe too much in some opinions. Interesting topic.

Great topic! I agree about all of those mentioned thus far. I also pay attention to producers when I'm perusing recordings. It's not an infallible indicator of quality but it gives me an idea whether the recording will be something I like. Naturally, people will disagree about who is good and who is not. I'll add Mitchell Froom, Norman Ganz and Orin Keepnews to the list of producers I like.

Occassionally, some producers' signatures can also become too "present" as I think T-Bone Burnett has been lately. I love most of his work, but his latest project with Diana Krall simply did not work, IMHO.

Here's one other thing to add to the mix: who was in charge of mastering? If I see Bob Ludwig or Doug Sax along with a favorite producer, I'm nearly sure I'll dig the record.
Rick Rubin comes to mind. His work with Johnny Cash was very good in my opinion.
Interesting about Rick Rubin. I recently purchased Neil Diamonds last CD, it had two CDs, one was the "demos" as Neil wrote them, the other was the released record after production by Rubin. Nearly no difference! Not the type of producer most think of when they think of producer. He seems to be someone who simply asks for a little more from an artist, very different than my view of Lanois, for example, who I think is one of the very best ever.