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New CD Reviews: Kelly Clarkson is 'Wrapped in Red'

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Kelly-Clarkson-ChristmasKELLY CLARKSON / WRAPPED IN RED

On her first Christmas album, the original “American Idol” tackles the usual suspects, often going over the top unnecessarily. She shines brightest on two new songs, the title track and “Underneath the Tree.” Hear here: kellyclarkson.com. GRADE: B-

BOZ SCAGGS / THE ESSENTIAL BOZ SCAGGS

This two-CD, 33-song collection spans his entire solo career, from 1969 to now, featuring 23 Columbia Records single and album tracks (including five off the classic “Silk Degrees"), plus cuts from his Virgin and 429 catalog. Killer. Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZT8gv. GRADE: A-

BOY GEORGE / THIS IS WHAT I AM

The Culture Club singer’s first album of original material in 18 years is available on MP3 (for now) in the States. At first, his weathered voice is jarring, but when you hear the wall-of-soundish “King of Everything,” all’s well. He still has the touch. Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZT8fv. GRADE: B+

HUMBLE PIE / PERFORMANCE: ROCKIN’ THE FILLMORE — THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS

In 1968, powerhouse frontman Steve Marriott left the Small Faces to team with 18-year-old guitarist Peter Frampton for this bluesy-rock outfit. Here they are in their prime in four shows at the legendary San Francisco venue in May 1971. It’s a smokin’ box set. Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZT8hz. GRADE: A

MICK HUCKNALL / AMERICAN SOUL

The Simply Red singer is one of the few soulful singers left who could pull this off: covers of old-school R&B, like “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “Turn Back the Hands of Time.” Hear here: mickhucknall.com. GRADE: B+

JETHRO TULL / BENEFIT: A COLLECTOR’S EDITION

You can hear the roots of “Aqualung” and “Thick As a Brick” on this overlooked 1970 album, which is remastered and expanded to two CDs and one audio DVD. Enjoy Ian Anderson, guitarist Martin Barre and the standouts “With You There to Help Me,” “Inside” and “Teacher.” Hear here: http://tw.gs/RZT8hv. GRADE: A-

Last modified: October 31, 2013
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