I realized some time ago that the term classic is often bandied about like jelly beans in a candy store. People don't really understand the concept of what a classic album is. Most times it isn't something you may have heard or even heard about. It is recorded under the radar.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we were blessed, though many might believe cursed seems better, with a small "Indie" label back in the 1970's and early 1980's. Beserkeley Records was the creation of a band called Earthquake along with a man named Matthew Kaufman. The concept was to create a label that would highlight and focus on the local acts throughout the Bay Area though focused mainly on the live music venues that were abundance during that period in the "Peoples Republic of Berkeley".
Eventually the label did make some national and worldwide headway with Greg Kihn in the 1980's. I know this is really not telling the whole story. But I'm not a biographer... Well actually I am as I work with a plethora of great people on their individual stories. However, I don't have 300 pages here nor do I want to have that much time. Anyway, some of the other acts that came through made a few ripples in the tide along the way most notably the Rubinioos, Jonathan Richman and the aforementioned Earthquake.
Earthquake released a handful of albums during the 1970's. With a singer, John Doukas, who sported a very unique tonal quality within his voice, they were, for a period, much larger regionally than Greg Kihn. And to be quite honest, their "Leveled" album in 1977 is really to be considered a classic. The raw, basic recording that bordered on punk to some degree was, to be sure, in line with the new wave that was coming to the music world. The album featured a myriad of covers like Hot Chocolate's, "Emma" and Paul Revere and the Raider's "Kicks" as well as some original compositions like "Loving Cup" and "Trainride". It is, in all honesty, a truly classic work that has been overlooked far too long. Since I don't believe you can get it on CD, I'm sure it has been missed by many. Many of the cuts are on a compilation CD titled, "Sitting In The Middle Of Madness" which is culled from all their releases though the bulk of the material is from 8.5 and Leveled which were their best received albums.
I do wish those days would return. Being able to wander through the streets of Berkeley and find wonderful music in all sorts of places. It was a different day. Now all you would likely hear in that area would be gunfire and sirens. But still, I wish to always draw attention to that which I believe was and will forever remain classic.