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CDs by Radiohead, The Crudup Brothers, Barbra Streisand and Jim Peterik and World Stage

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Radiohead, "Kid A" (Capitol Records) - England's Radiohead is one of those rare bands whose music has the power to put me to sleep while not boring me to the point of doing so. That is, up until now. In the past, the group has always kept its music intriguing. But from the new album's lackadaisical opening number "Everything In Its Right Place," "Kid A" fails to hold my attention or even my interest. The record picks up steam slightly on its third track, "How To Disappear Completely," but even this surge of musical energy soon peters out, resulting in a return to the slow crawl that is "Kid A." Of the many ambient lullabies present, the only one I found to be remotely engaging was the song "Morning Bell." The title of the album's closing track best describes Radiohead's newest release as a whole: "Motion Picture Soundtrack." The lack of vocals on the album only reinforces my conclusion. The record simply lacks the gusto of past Radiohead efforts, even as recent as the group's 1997 album "OK Computer." It may be that this release has to grow on a person, but my regard for the record was stunted after my first few listens to it. — Angelo DeFranzo The Crudup Brothers, "Franktown Blues," (Warehouse Creek Recording Corp.) — This recently released CD is a fine example of the more unfortunate aspects of the independent recording business. Recorded in Virginia Beach by three sons of rock and blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, the album rocks with a funky looseness that reveals a group of players having a ball. Many of the tunes are Crudup standards such as "That's All Right Mama" and "Mean Old Frisco Blues." Some songs are Crudup Brothers originals while others are co-writes from Willie Dixon, Bob Dylan and J.J. Cale. James Crudup sings and drums with an earthy intensity while brothers Jonas and George add complementing vocals along with guitar and bass. The project was produced by former Cale and Neil Young sideman Tim Drummond, and guests include '60s guitar slinger Lonnie Mack and Greg "Fingers" Taylor from the Jimmy Buffett group on harmonica. The Memphis Horns — yep, the same guys that backed Otis and most of the Stax/Volt Memphis hit makers in their hey day — add great gobs of soul. But despite the positives that surround this fine blues package, apparently there's no intention to distribute the album and few will get to hear it unless it's picked up by a label. And, sadly, James Crudup died soon after recording wrapped. "Franktown" is a worthy effort that could serve as a loving testimony to a legendary father and a beloved brother and would likely find an appreciative audience. But the project languishes in a storeroom somewhere. It's a pity. — Ames Arnold Barbra Streisand, "Timeless — Live in Concert" (Columbia) — Barbra Streisand's latest brings back memories. Reminiscent of "Barbra —The Concert," which also coincided with a tour, "Timeless'" is a familiar journey through her career. The concept and many of the songs are the same. There are the Broadway tunes, the movie soundtracks, the duets, the classic ballads — all woven together in a captivating musical diary. The orchestra, led by Streisand's longtime conductor Marvin Hamlisch, provides the perfect accompaniment. One new discovery is young Lauren Frost, who steps in on several songs, including the stirring adaptation of "A Piece of Sky" from the movie "Yentl," to play Streisand as a child. Streisand also throws in a surprise with a duet with the late Frank Sinatra. Their rendition of "I've Got a Crush on You" is charming. Although timed for her recent, and "final," live performances, this double CD is a recording of her New Year's Eve concert in Las Vegas. On one track, the audience sings "Auld Lang Syne'" while Streisand sings a countermelody. However familiar the CD may be, Streisand's voice is as stunning and thrilling as ever. It's like butter. — A.M. Sradomski, The Virginian-Pilot Jim Peterik and World Stage, "From Here to Eternity"— A few of Peterik's past songwriting credits include such '80s hits as "Eye of the Tiger" for Survivor and "Hold On Loosely" for .38 Special, and his latest release continues a similar stylistic assault. So don't fail to check it out if returning to the days of upper-register, repetitive musical bombast is for you. Full of phony urgency and dubious emotion, Peterik swaggers through 14 cuts that could have come straight from MTV's earliest days. He does slow the '70s Ides of March chestnut "Vehicle" down to strip off some of the Blood Sweat and Tears vibe, but it's still an overblown mess. Many big-time stars from yesteryear including .38 Special's Don Barnes, R.E.O. Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin and Johnny Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd join Peterik on this voyage into musical glory. Tom Keller of Cinderella accompanies Peterik on "Zig Zag" and as they wail "It's a zigzag path on the road to freedom," I realize it's a very direct path to the "off" button on my CD player. Those wanting to relive '80s radio rock will, however, probably enjoy this journey through wailing guitars and lyrical cliches. — A.A.

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