[This post is a stolen guest post by the great Jim Denham, of Shiraz Socialist - stolen from the comments here, with audio-visual added by me. - B.]
Bobby Darin would be my suggestion for an “underrrated” artist. Not entirely forgotten, obviously: his hard-swinging, key-changing ‘Mack The Knife’ still tuns up on pub juke boxes, but most folks these days don’t know who he was and/or mistake him for Sinatra.
I’m told, by the way, that Sinatra hated him, which suggests that Darin must have been an OK human being as well as a fine singer. And whilst Darin could out-Sinatra Sinatra on the Great American Song Book, he (Darin) could also turn in a crditable R&B, Rock’n’Roll and (towards the end) politically orientated Love’n’ Peace semi-folk (as “Bob Darin”) performance. Come to think of it, that’s probably the main reason Sinatra hated him.
To quote from the booklet notes (by one Joseph F. Laredo) to my only Darin CD (recommended: Capitol ‘Spotlight On…Bobby Darin’, 1995), “How can it be in a world where doddering tyrants hold entire nations under their thumb for decades that an awsome talent like Bobby Darin, so transcendentally capable of imparting joy and happiness to millions, was only given 37 years to strut his stuff? Surely if there was any justice at all, spontaneous combustion would be an occupational hazard common to dictators and Bobby Darin would today be well on his way to being a finger-snapping, toe-tapping sexagenarian.”
[So, here he is, singing “I’m Beginning to See the Light (Duke Ellington, Don George, Johnny Hodges, Harry James) followed by hom in folk protest mode.
Apologies to Jim if you’d have chosen totally different songs.]