If you like the singer/songwriter thing, Martin is one of the best out there. His album, Black Sheep, is awesome, but his live work is truly inspiring. When live, he plays with only a drummer, but his amazing vocal range combined with smarter-than-your-average-bear guitar playing fill the room with more quality sound than most full bands. Some of his records are available nationwide, but you should go to his Web site to get the good live albums.
· David Johansen and the Harry Smiths -- Live at the Bottom Line.
I had the great pleasure of running the sound system for a legendary club in Manhattan called The Bottom Line. While I got to work with many of the world's greatest musicians, David Johansen (one of the infamous New York Dolls) was by far the coolest and absolutely most "Rock Star" musician I've ever met. He does a show of songs exclusively from the Blues archives of rogue recordist Harry Smith. If you ever are in NYC and can catch this show, by all means drink half a bottle of scotch and check it out. His work is available on Chesky Records.
This is a band that is defunct as far as I know, but if you can find it anywhere, it is a miracle of sub-Pop sensibility. This was another band from NYC, so if you Google it, you might be able to find a copy.
· Minor Threat -- The Complete Recordings.
Dischord Records has released a CD that has all of the recordings made by the '80s band that set the bar for Punk Rock in the U.S. For 12 bucks you can experience all the rage and bliss of your youth.
Since I've never been particularly good at following instructions, my last pick isn't a record ... yet. Goose is a local band comprised of members from Len's Lounge, The Stapletons and Cari Clara. They are about to release their first album, and I can't wait! I have seen them live a couple of times and they are, to coin a phrase, fucking splendid! They tap into the world of Pop Rock that was sublimely captured by bands like The Kinks, The Clash and, yes, even The Beatles. And while I'm not sure Goose will be more popular than Jesus, I'm sure their record will be one of the best efforts from the Queen City this year.
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