My favorite musicians: 6-10

Some mostly sad musical news since my last post as we mourn South Africa legend Hugh Masekela and Mark E. Smith, as well as the retirement from touring of Niel Diamond, afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.

On that downbeat note, let’s move onto my favorite musicians in place 6 to 10, in no specific ranking order.

Saint Etienne: London hipsters who have been very prolific since 1991, and a part of my life for over 25 years. If one includes all their film soundtracks, B-sides and fan club music, there is a vast amount to enjoy. Not all of it is top notch, but much of it is very brilliant. And they love the Beach Boys.

Prefab Sprout: I’ve been teased for liking a group with that name, but anyone who has any ear for a great melody, and emotional lyrics will know that I will always have the last laugh. Paddy McAloon has been releasing music since the early 80s, and although not prolific, has been responsible for ten very worthwhile albums.

Scott Walker: A 60s musical idol who was more popular in Britain in 1966 than the Beatles, is now making the most difficult music released by anyone. The story of Scott Engel is stranger than fiction, and he is the archetype of someone staying true to himself. His five solo albums in late 60s and early 70s are the core of his brilliance, but there is much else to enjoy, even some of his “difficult” recent music.

Jam: Paul Weller started in the punk era but soon trod his own path, with many nods to classic 60s music. As a Jam member, in the Style Council and solo, there is much to enjoy, in many different styles.

Buffalo Springfield: In themselves a pioneering 60s group, even although they only released three albums. However, as the first group of Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richard Furay, their influence and new music continues to this day.


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