Television: Marquee Moon, Adventure, Live at the Old Waldorf
Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Blondie got all the ink, but Television was the first group to play CBGB's on Manhattan's Lower East Side, one of the first CB's bands to release a single (the double-sided ``Little Johnny Jewel'' in 1975), and a prime architect of an early '70s New York rock sensibility that led straight to punk and beyond. Television itself wasn't exactly punk, though. As evidenced in Rhino's remastered reissues of the band's first two albums, 1977's ``Marquee Moon'' and 1978's ``Adventure,'' the foursome was simply one of the great art-garage bands of all time, with fractious lead guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd duking it out in long, molten, furiously poetic solos. The majestic title cut of ``Marquee Moon'' alone - all 10-plus minutes of it - remains a seminal downtown rave-up, and the reissue's bonus cuts are pretty choice: the original ``Little Johnny Jewel,'' available at long last in its undivided splendor, and alternate takes of three tracks. (Actually, they appear to be the original rhythm tracks with alternate guitar solos, but since it's Verlaine and Lloyd playing, who's going to carp?) ``Adventure,'' the group's 1978 follow-up before the inevitable split, has been dismissed as inferior, but it's a lovely, tough album in its own right and nearly the match of its predecessor: Bonus tracks include the long-lost title track, a peppy, near-pop gem. The stage was where Television truly took off - you might even call it the primeval jam band if its improvisations didn't bristle with such angular urban energy - and the limited-edition, Internet-only Rhino Handmade release ``Live at the Old Waldorf'' rescues a thundering 1978 San Francisco concert from the bootleg murk. Or you could catch the group live: It still plays infrequent gigs and still has the power to stun.