Obscure bands

Does anyone know a band called City Boy? (70's/80's)Very obscure and very original. It's beyond Me how such great talent goes so unnoticed! Also please chime in on other obscure talented musicians.

I love City Boy! I have all of their albums on vinyl. Never heard them even mentioned before on any forum. GREAT band!

Several other fantastic obscure bands from that era:

China Crisis

One of my favorite all time albums is "Red Tape" from Atlanta Rhythm Section.  They weren't that obscure, but this albums ROCKS!!!

China Crisis was a favorite of mine back in the day,but I can't recall a thing about 'em right now!  Senior syndrome, I guess.

Some of The Feelies spin-offs, like The Trypes and Yung Wu come to mind first.  Both would IMO qualify for this thread as TRULY  obscure bands that never get mentioned anywhere but produced terrific music.
My favorite somewhat obscure band has to be the late great Asylum Street Spankers. Not sure how obscure they are but certainly worth checking out if you don't know them.
Follow for Now, Uncle Green, Velocity Girl, Big Head Todd. All but vg had great sq recordings and great sounding shows. 
ODA was formed in 1970 in San Francisco, California and were brothers "Randy Oda" (lead guitar, organ), "Kevin Oda" (drums) along with "Art Pantoja" (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and "Kyle Schneider" (bass guitar).The self-titled album (now known also as "The Black Album") was originally released privately on "Loud Phonograph Records" (Loud LD 80011, 1973) in 1973 with a limited edition run of 1000 copies.

The band's biggest claim to fame was to win the local Battle of the Bands contest and later ODA won a video contest for "Billboard Magazine". ODA eponymous album was an overlooked solid Hard-Rock in NO Heavy Metal guitar style.

With excellent "Randy Oda"'s guitarwork and some great songs ODA has no weaknesses and shows a remarkable versatility on the melodic moves.With good guitar leads and memorable riffing songs "Give It Up", "Chance" and "Mable" are the great ones in the set.

Unfortunately the band broke up a couple of years after the release of this album but "Randy Oda" would go on in the late '70s with "Tom Fogerty" in the band Ruby, then to a reformed ODA in 1984.
Hey arcam88,
You know I'm a City Boy fan. I also listed the "Dinner at the Ritz" as one of my favorite albumn covers on another thread. 

Great to hear from another City Boy fan mofimadness! I remember Trooper and Prism but not China Crisis. I will be checking them out!                                 Have You or anyone else heard of Crack the Sky?                                                            Thanks to everyone for the ideas! Keep them coming!
Two more spin-offs, this time from the Doctor Buzzard/Kid Creole family:

Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band
Elbow Bones and the Racketeers

Like their "parent" bands, both of these bands hybridized disco with other musical forms (notably big band jazz) in very clever ways.  IMO, Elbow Bones, in particular, had a great album, "A Night in New York".
Arcam88...thanks for the reference to Crack The Sky.  I have never heard of them, but in doing some research, Rolling Stone compared them to Steely Dan, which is my favorite band of all time. So, I am going to have to check them out.

A few others:

Wishbone Ash
Uriah Heep
Spooky Tooth
Crack the Sky is an outstanding band from Baltimore that never quite made it big. Don't know that I would compare them to Steely Dan but excellent rock & roll.
mofimadness... Check out "Safety in Numbers" and "White Music by Crack the Sky!
Here’s the reference to Steely Dan that I found about Crack The Sky:


I think it had more to do with their albums charting on the Billboard 200, than an actual comparison of the bands themselves.  Still, Tidal had a bunch of their albums, so I plan on listening to a few this evening.
Sadistic Mika Band...Japanese proto-hentai-punk strangeness...

Batdorf & Rodney.

The Cache Valley Drifters.

...there's others, but if I knock more dust off of some of these obscurities, my COPD will act up and nobody will understand the epitaph on my gravestone...
The eponymous album and Safety in Numbers are faves but its honestly been years since I listened to them.
I listened to "Safety In Numbers" and "White Noise" last night.  They seem to me, to be a cross between Duran Duran, Kansas and ELO.

I really enjoyed both albums.  Tidal has more and I plan to listen further.  Thanks again for the recommendation.
Mentioned China Chrisis, Wishbone Ash, Spooky Tooth, Camel and  Uriah Heep are very known and common bands. There's nothing obscure about them.

My obscure list:

The Can
Amon Duul (sorry no German k-board)
This Mortal Coil with members of Cockteau Twins.
Is Cockteau Twins obscure btw? 
Joy Division
Legendary Pink Dots
The Residents
Fish For Fish -- only released 2 albums 
May Blitz
Love the self-titled May Blitz, second track, first side is guitars in the room. 2nd of May is far more restrained, more recherché as a UK Swirl.
Patto- first album actually sounds good as a US swirl, second album doesn’t- you need the UK.
Just got into Lucifer’s Friend -self titled- Philips UK en route- sort of Heep/Zep/Sabbath/Deep Purple-y.

There’s another record I got turned onto recently by a friend who is deep into prog- guy was a sideman that played with Stevie Winwood- killer record, musically and sonically. I’ll have to dig it out, forgot the name.
PS: Miller Anderson- Bright City. US Deram pressing sounds great. Had never heard of him or this album until I got tipped to it, very much like early Winwood. 
Lucifer's friend is another great band. John Lawton was the original singer on the first five or six albums.                      He later did some stuff with Uriah Heep and also some very good solo albums. Hey did a few albums after Lawton left. Just about all of their stuff is good.
I like China Crisis a lot and thanks for reminding me of Crack the Sky. I always equate a band's relative obscurity with being regional independent acts. This is the type of original music I have always strived to find and seek out when I travel. Sometimes they hit it big and sometimes they end up in the cut out bins. So here are a few more: The Samples from Boulder, CO., The Connells from Raleigh, NC., From Good Homes (predecessor to Railroad Earth) from NJ.,  The Grapes from Atlanta, GA., and the White Animals from Nashville, TN. Most of theses acts are still performing, despite a lack of massive commercial success, but they all are well worth checking out. 
Another criminally obscure artist is Bill Mallonee from Athens, GA. Bill has released a ridiculous number of albums to critical acclaim, but has never achieved significant commercial success. Both his solo works and his band Vigilantes of Love are excellent. Check out "Perfume Letter" where his guitar playing is very much like George Harrison. His 70+ albums are available for download on bandcamp and his website is www.volsounds.com. This guy can really write.
** Camel. Suzi Quatro, Mother's Finest, Nantucket, Goose Creek Symphony, American Flyer, etc.

Henry Gross- Plug Me Into Something is one of my favorites.

The Dixie Dreggs don't show up much anymore. There are many outlaw country/ alternative country guys popping up.

I grew up with some kids whose uncle owned Beach Club Productions- we listened to many a promo album in the 70's but my 55 year old memory fails me.

I'll check into some of your entries, great thread!

I love this, I'm soaking it up!                  Have not heard these guys mentioned. Who remembers Axe?                                  A pretty well kept secret except for thier song "Rock-Roll Party in the Streets" They had at least 6-8 albums that were all solid. (Late 70's- 80's-90's... They Rock!!!
I remember Axe. Bobby Barth did some guitar and vocal work for them and he was also in the band Blackfoot.


How obscure arcam?

Does Greg Kihn qualify? What about Dwight Twilley (w/Phil Seymour)??

But if Joy Division, Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep, & Spooky Tooth are considered obscure, then I guess these two will stand.

Cuby & The Blizzards should definitely qualify (well in the USA - but not so much in the Netherlands).

It's a Small World nutty. I love Blackfoot and did not know that Bobby Barth was in the band.
                       No real qualifications, just stuff that's off the beaten path and stuff that got little or no radio play. That's more or less the kind of music I've always searched for. I'm always looking for something new.
Here's another one.
    Crawler, a spin-off from Paul kossoff's " Back Street Crawler" after Paul's death. Only two Studio albums that I know of (77'&78')and two or three live albums following.                                                      The first self titled album is excellent! And a great recording to boot.I have not heard the second one or any of the live albums.

I used to do the underground club scene in NYC back in the early 80s.  Lots of bands that were unsigned, or on labels like Stiff.  Also used to listen to NYU radio (WNYU) - "The New Afternoon Show", which showcased obscure artists, and dropped them like a hot potato if they got signed to a major label (it's still on the air, and AFAIK, still has the same playlist policy).  Other fave obscure bands: 

Robin Lane and the Chartbusters



Fire Engines


Rip, Rig & Panic

The Higsons 


Richard Hell and the Voidoids

Lydia Lunch

Thee Headcoatees

The Reverend Horton Heat (I don't think this band is obscure, but nobody ever seems to have heard of it)






B Bang Cider

The Amps

Cats & Jammers

Rogers Sisters

Pee Shy

Pig Bag

The Histrioniks



... and dozens more from the late 1970s to the present that I cannot recall right now.  There is so much great music that I have yet to discover and hear!

good list bondmap--i still listen to robin lane and the spinanes. i've never heard of some of yours--any of 'em especially worthy?
Twelfth Night - I have a live CD by them "Live and Let Live" that I bought on impulse and it's great, but I previously haven't been able to find any other recordings, except for a CD by their vocalist Geoff Mann - "In One Era" that's equally good.  They have a web site (http://twelfthnight.info/) now and sell their albums there. 
I'm not sure that Richard Hell & The Voidoids qualify for this thread (they were a pretty high profile band in the punk scene), but they surely qualify for the thread about best song titles:

"Love Comes In Spurts"

One curious tidbit about the band:. In the punk world at that time, there was a certain pride in a band's inability to actually play their instruments.  It lent a certain DIY authenticity to the music as a kind of craftless "primal scream".  The Voidoids featured both Robert Quine and Ivan Julian on guitar, and both guys can play the sh*t out their instruments.
Anyone remember the English blues rock band Chicken Shack?  They featured a great guitarist called Stan Webb.  Their pianist, Christine Perfect, later married into Fleetwood Mac (becoming Christine McVie) and raised her profile quite a bit over the next five years, or so.
Hey Marty - 
Remember Chicken Shack?  No....
Aware it was the band Christine McVie nee Perfect came from?  Yes.

Here's another from around that time: Killing Floor.  
Of note to me because that's where Lou Martin (pianist with Rory Gallagher) came from.  Check out the RG Irish Tour '74 movie.  Lou is killer on electric piano.

But here's a track from a Killing Floor LP that features Lou.



Funny thing about Chicken Shack is that Christine Perfect only came on board after several years.  Stan Webb was the main attraction in that band and he was a really good guitarist.  They also had one other high profile member (maybe in a later iteration), but I can't recall and I'm too lazy to look it up.
Thanks to everyone for their great posts and lists! Looks like I've got a lot of exploring to do.
Meanwhile here's a few more to chew on.
Fates Warning
Porcupine Tree
Hello again, Marty - so I did look up Chicken Shack on Wikipedia.  You are thinking of Chris Wood maybe who joined Traffic? OR possibly others (including Webb) who joined Savoy Brown.  The Chicken Shack/Savoy Brown connection I did not know about.

If you aren't already familiar with 'em, check out Cuby and The Blizzards on YouTube.  Dutch blues band from the same era as Chicken Shack and Killing Floor.  A couple of great old vids on YouTube from back before MTV and fashion poisoned things.  Worth noting Eelco Gelling co-founder of C & the B was guitarist in Golden Earring after joining them in '77. 

Speaking of Golden Earring, they were fairly obscure except for of course "Radar Love" and "Twilight Zone".
A lot of people don't realize they have been around longer than the "Rolling Stones"!
Barry Hay and George Kooymans were masterful songwriters. They recorded at least 25 Studio albums and quite a few live albums.
Every album had its own personality.
Thier music was very unique and original and they will always be one of my favorite bands!
 As far as I know they are still together they released an album a year or two ago " Tits & Ass"
I have a massive record collection and decided to look through it for some more bands. The 70’s to 80’s era was the one that I focused on early on because I grew up in that time frame.

April Wine
Deacon Blue
Dr. Hook
England Dan and John Ford Coley
Hoodoo Gurus
Level 42
Northern Pikes
Red Rider
Savoy Brown

I love Ambrosia, April Wine, Blackfoot, Red Rider, Savoy Brown, Squeeze and Utopia!
I will check out the others.
Iceberg (Spain), Tantra (Portugal), Hawkwind (Australia)

+1 for Ambrosia & April Wine.

Thanks uncledemp ! Mother's Finest is great!
I checked out Henry gross "plug me into something" on YouTube. I really like it.
Do you know where I can buy it or download it?
I will be checking some of your other references😉

Arcam, glad you liked it! I have the lp of 'plug me into something'. I passed on an imported CD due to price and kick myself for it. Henry Gross has a website- you may drop him a line. He has other albums but 'plug me in' is my favorite. Good sounding as well in my opinion.

I'd be happy to burn you a copy of the album if I had the setup....

Maybe Henry's website can help.


Ambrosia is a great band, so is Blackfoot!

New Riders on the Purple Sage, Commander Cody, Toby Beau, Rossington Collins, UFO, Al Stewart, Allan Parsons, Buckingham Nicks, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Amazing Rhythm Aces. I second Atlanta Rhythm Section. 

Some of those are mainstream to some of but probably not all. 

Reminds of the engineering involved in getting an 8 track to play in the car without dragging. Matchbook folded and lodged under the left side and a gentle twist. And you were set to grab a kiss before the track changed in the middle of a slow song.

Then the Mindblower speakers would kick back in. 

Musk oil, lip gloss, earth shoes, and body shirts. 

Good times.

I guess I define obscure differently than some others. Commander Cody obscure? He had a giant hit record, fer Chr@st's sake! No, "kids" today haven't heard of them, but what have they heard of older than their current pair of Chuck Taylor's?

I guess to a lot of people Rockpile is obscure, and member Dave Edmunds himself, though everybody I know (or want to know ;-) loves them both. How about NRBQ, everybody's favorite Bar Band? Keith Richards asked NRBQ bassist Joey Spampinato to join The Stones when Bill Wyman retired, and Joey turned him down! Why quit the best Rock 'n' Roll Band in the world to join "The Best Rock 'n' Roll Band In The World"?

Here are some truly obscure Bands you might love as much as I do, should you ever hear them:

- The Skeletons: from Springfield Missouri, THIS is what a great Band sounds like. Dave Alvin (if he's not too obscure himself for ya!) stole his drummer from them. Great, great band, they had it all.

- The Lyres: My favorite Garage Band (and I'm from San Jose California, Garage Band ground zero in the 60's. I saw Buckingham & Nicks live in their Garage Band, Fritz, in '68), like The Kinks meet The Sonics (the great Seattle Band from the 60's who did the classic songs "Psycho" and "The Witch"). About as nuts as I've gone seeing a live Band, and I saw The Who with Keith Moon, twice.

- The Flamin' Groovies: Not at all obscure, at least by my standards. But I can not in all good conscience recommend other Garage Bands without including them. Their album "Shake Some Action" (produced by the great Dave Edmunds) is a stone classic, one that should be in the collection of every lover of true Rock 'n' Roll.

- The Leroi Bros.: From Austin Texas, a swingin' little combo I love. Drummer Mike Buck was the original in The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Buck Owens on them: "These guys play my kind of music...honest and unique. Listening to them is like you're sitting in the same room with them."

- The Notorious Cherry Bombs: again, not really obscure, but it seems like a lot of people missed them. A Country Rock 'n' Roll SuperGroup whose members include Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Tony Brown, and Hank DeVito. Wow!

I could go on all day (how about The Fraternal Order Of The All, Andrew Gold and Graham Gouldman's 90's Group whose "Greetings From Planet Love" album is a real trip), but that's enough outta me, I'm sure you'll agree!