I agree, the Silmarillion doesn't read very smoothly compared to LOTR and especially the Hobbit, but the story(stories) itself are very interesting, and above all: epic. It fills the gap between the creation of Arda and the end of the Third Age, which would have been awkward not to have read. Unfinished Tales is also pretty vital, as it ties the three stories together.
The 1968 BBC radio version of The Hobbit is brilliant - just the right atmosphere, not cinematic and overly-epic like the LOTR films (and the radio version of LOTR, to a lesser extent) were. I listened to the tapes of it all the time when I was younger and would highly recommend the CDs, especially as there's some extra music on them that's excellent.
Not sure about links, but there is a book that collects SOME of Tolkien's other Middle Earth poetry, along with two non-Middle Earth tales, an essay he wrote on the higher purposes and practice of Faerie and Fantasy, and his original drama/poem in the Old English style, based on a surviving fragment called the Battle of Maldon. The Tolkien Reader is the title, ISBN 0-345-29881-0.