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New CD Reviews: Another 'Moondance' with Van Morrison

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moondanceLINDA THOMPSON / WON’T BE LONG NOW

Despite having spasmodic dysphonia (a vocal disorder), the folk legend soars on her first album in six years. And it’s a family affair with ex-husband Richard Thompson and son Teddy. Check out: “Love’s For Babies and Fools,” “If I Were a Bluebird.” Hear here: lindathompsonmusic .com. GRADE: B+

VAN MORRISON / MOONDANCE: EXPANDED EDITION

His 1970 album is sheer perfection, from “And It Stoned Me” to “Glad Tidings.” Now it’s repackaged with 11 previously unreleased tracks. Also available in Deluxe Edition, with four CDs and a superior- sounding Blu-ray Audio disc, and on MP3. Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZv3ZW. GRADE: A+

FIFTH HARMONY / BETTER TOGETHER

This girl group was formed during the second season of “The X Factor USA,” so right off the bat you know there’s nothing organic about this five-song EP. It’s all generic beats, over-the-top vocals and dancefloor anthems. Hear here: fifthharmonyofficial.com. GRADE: C-

BACKSTREET BOYS / THE ESSENTIAL BACKSTREET BOYS

There’s no denying this two-CD, 29-song collection has the hits: “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” “I Want It That Way,” “Larger Than Life,” “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart).” As ‘90s boy bands go, they were the cream of the crop. Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZv3ZZ. GRADE: B

BRETT DENNEN / SMOKE AND MIRRORS

This folk-pop artist is cut from the 1970s singer-songwriter mold, with a breezy vocal and acoustic style. This is his fifth album, and it could be his most accessible yet. Check out: “Wild Child,” “When We Were Young,” “Sweet Persuasion.” Hear here: brettdennen.net. GRADE: A-

WOODY GUTHRIE / AMERICAN RADICAL PATRIOT

Not only is this a fascinating box set, it’s a historical document, capturing the folk pioneer visiting the Library of Congress in the ‘40s, recording songs and sharing stories with folklorist Alan Lomax. There’s also two radio dramas he helped write. Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZu4By. GRADE: A-

Last modified: October 23, 2013
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