The Friday Morning Listen: Les Dudek – Delta Breeze (2013)

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This is how it started:

Software-type person: “You’ve never seen Evil Dead?!!” (laughter ensues).

Me: “Have you ever seen 8 1/2?”

Software-type person: “Uhm…no.”

Me: “By Fellini?”

Software-type person: “Who?”

Me: “You’ve never seen 8 1/2?!!!!!!” (much laughter ensues).

This was just some chatter at the start of a project meeting at work. I’d had a conversation with one of my co-workers earlier in the day and the topic of movies came up. He mentioned this “Evil Dead” movie and I’d said that I’d never seen it. Later, he joked about that fact at the start of the meeting, triggering the reaction you see above (and my retort) from another co-worker.

Amazing, isn’t it? People can work together for years and yet their cultural circles can remain at unchanging levels of divergence. I’m used to this kind of thing with colleagues because most of the areas of entertainment known to be popular in the tech fields — horror, science fiction, fantasy — have no appeal to me. People are often shocked to discover this, as if I’m somehow defective because I don’t genuflect at the mention of George Lucas’ name.

The interesting thing here isn’t that I think “my” forms of entertainment are “better” than others’ (because really, it’s all opinion), but that what’s “famous” to one person can be a complete unknown to somebody else.

A few days later I had a listen to Les Dudek’s latest record “Delta Breeze,” and it got me to thinking about what we often call “Artists deserving greater recognition.” I don’t know about you, but there are a few artists who I love dearly, and yet I just know that most people have never heard of them. But in my mind they seem “famous,” as in: everybody else knows them too. It’s weird to hold those oppositional thoughts in my head but there you have it. When I mention one of them to somebody — and of course they’ve never heard of said artist — I’m just shocked. So what follows is a short list of artists deserving greater recognition. What are yours?

Les Dudek

Guitarist Les Dudek is probably the least well-known musician in this bunch, though I can pretty much guarantee you’ve heard his work. He’s played on records with Boz Scaggs, Steve Miller, and the Allman Brothers (co-wrote “Jessica,” added guitar to “Ramblin Man.”). That is an extremely truncated list. Of course, I knew none of this back in the late 70s when I used to blow my bedroom windows out with “Friend Of Mine” from Dudek’s album Ghost Town Parade. I’ve still got that record and give it a spin once in a while.


My college roommate’s band added a Bonnie Raitt cover to their set: “Me and the Boys.” “No,” I said, “That’s by NRBQ.” “Who?” To this day, I am still astonished to discover people haven’t heard of this band. They play quintessential American rock & roll. Apparently, only I know this.

Greg Brown

Discounting the current “folk revival” (or whatever you want to call it), folk music hasn’t been in the American mainstream for a long time. So it comes as no surprise that Greg Brown remains a relative unknown. The Iowa native has a big ‘ole baritone and a heart to match. That should be enough.

Bill Chinnock

In truth, I’m never surprised when somebody draws a blank on Chinnock’s name. He was one of the characters in the early Asbury Park scene and is probably known only to folks from that area or to people who lived in Maine in the late 1970s and into the 80s. A terrific guitar player and songwriter, Chinnock put on quite a show. I should know, I went to a ton of them.

Ronnie Earl

Blues music is American music and of course, nobody pays attention anymore. That’s too bad because what Mr. Earl can do with a guitar is a magical thing. I’m not talking about zillions of notes per hour. No, Ronnie Earl is an economical guitarist. He wastes not a single note and packs more expression in those phrases than you’re likely to hear in hours of Bonamassa-isms.

P.S. When I started writing this I remembered that I had in fact, seen “Evil Dead.” It was just last summer. I guess it didn’t make much of an impression. Oops.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at
Mark Saleski
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