Music Menu (3/5/09)

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The self-titled The Marshall Tucker Band, released one year after the band formed, is, to these ears, perhaps the single best non-Allman Southern Rock record ever released. Full of country/jazz interplay between guitarists (and Spartanburg, S.C., natives) George McCorkle and Toy Caldwell (check YouTube for some of Toy's pick-less workouts), the infamous melodic doodle of flautist Jerry Eubanks, and the combined vocal talents of Tommy Caldwell and Doug Gray, the record is the aural equivalent of a brisk walk through a Carolina pine forest, with the promise of a couple cold ones and a hot homemade meal at the other end. Unfortunately, time and toil took their toll on the group over the years to come – Tommy died from a car crash, Toy of heart disease and McCorkle of cancer. Like most of the compadres in the genre, the group has soldiered on (indeed, a few members were Vietnam vets) and still play triple-digit shows a year, despite Gray's lone wolf status as the only original member. Neighborhood Theatre

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Athens, Ga.'s Maserati, like the car they're named after, can accelerate and stop on a dime, and handle all the tricky curves in between. It's evolved from something of a post-punk, math-mad mob into something much deeper, both in depth of scope and squall of sound: a Krautrock-spiked, drone-drunk psychedelic stompbox with the smarts to know when to rein it in, and the stones to know when to put the pedal(s) to the (heavy) metal. With Fin Fang Foom, Kiss Kiss, Ultimate Optimist. The Milestone

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