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Lenny Kaye “Hmmm…best of’s have never been my strong suit since I’m all over the place genre wise….but here’s a random Top 5 to savor….guitarcentric, as I am….”

Talk Talk ‘Spirit of Eden’

An album where the spaces between instruments are as important as the fragile emotions adorning this voyage into the Garden.  Talk Talk followed their inclinations where they might, layering and removing and improvising until what they were left with was the essence of song, beyond verse and chorus.

Quicksilver Messenger Service ‘Happy Trails’

An extravaganza of improvised guitar led by my favorite player, John Cippolina.  A finest example of the San Francisco sound, filled with spiraling solos, spirituality grounded in a Bo Diddley beat and the possibilities of feedback.

Jimi Hendrix ‘Electric Ladyland’

Quite simply, the greatest guitarist of the twentieth century swimming the eternal seas of his art.  That he was able to take his vision to this ultimate form before passing on into the cosmos is a blessing, from the hoodoo of “Voodoo Chile” to the future past of “1983.”

Television ‘Marquee Moon’

The glory of their debut album hardly dims with time, in fact, it seems timeless.  Television were always the odd-band-out within CBGB’s first generation, moving against the grain of reductionism that characterized early punk; their ambition, and Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd’s phosphorescent guitars, cartwheeled into the werewolfism that is “Marquee Moon,” captured on an album that was recorded at the perfect moment of their arc.

Shivaree ‘I Oughta Give You A Shot in the Head For Making Me Live In This Dump’

A personal favorite, quirky and strangely arranged and compulsively listenable.  Ambrosia Parsley has a skewed melodic sensibility and a way with lyrics that turn them about and around themselves.  The instruments seem at once arcane and post modern; the songs are infectiously illuminating.