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Going Dark with Adore (9/04/98) Write to CD Shakedown

Adore coverSmashing Pumpkins, Adore (Virgin 1998) - Chicago's highly acclaimed Smashing Pumpkins return with their fourth studio release, Adore. Featuring 15 songs, the new release marks a departure from the band's guitar-laden sound, such as the multi-platinum Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995).

Smashing Pumpkins is fronted by singer and guitarist Billy Corgan, who also wrote and produced all the songs. Corgan continues to have a dark view, and tracks like "Once Upon a Time" and "Crestfallen" reflect an end-of-the-century darkness.

Smashing Pumpkins photoThe band is rounded out by D'Arcy Wretzky on bass and James Iha on drums. While Corgan has broad control, the other band members help contribute to the guitar-drenched sound of "Ava Adore," the highlight of the album and the worthy successor to "1979," the hit single from Mellon Collie.

I still have a hard time getting a handle on Smashing Pumpkins: maybe it's the dark undertones. Yet the band is truly talented, and has produced some power-pop gems. Adore remains an album to be reckoned with.

Disney PlaytimeDisney Babies, Playtime & Lullaby (Walt Disney Records 1998) - Walt Disney Studios in Burbank California presents the Disney Babies Series: Disney Babies Lullaby and Disney Babies Playtime. These two CDS are wonderful tools to nurture your child's development.

Research shows that musical sounds are among the initial stimuli infants respond to, and that music enhances child development. Experts believe that music can stimulate imaginations and creativity, improve analytical thinking, and boost spatial reasoning.

Disney Babies Lullaby contains beloved sleepytime songs from Disney films and original melodies including "When You Wish Upon a Star," "Hush, Little Baby," "Rockabye Baby," and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Let these lullabies sooth and nurture your little ones to sleep.

As your baby grows into a toddler, share Disney Babies Playtime with your child. As a family, we found this to be a really an enjoyable experience while driving. This CD contains 20 charming activity songs, such as "Hickory Dickory Dock," "Following the Leader," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "The Wheels on the Bus," and "I'm a Little Teapot." My children and I have also improved our singing voices along with these tunes. :)

Introducing children to music is a fabulous way to keep the spirit alive and feed the soul. Take your children to your nearest CD store and let them choose a cassette or CD from the children's section and be ready to be treated to "Big Hugs and Kisses."

Donna the Buffalo coverDonna the Buffalo, Rockin' in the Weary Land (Sugar Hill 1998) - Having made music for more than a decade, the six-piece combo known as Donna the Buffalo has a devoted core of fans.

With their Sugar Hill debut, Rockin' in the Weary Land, the Ithaca, New York-based group should find new converts.

Since their founding in 1987, Donna the Buffalo has engaged in nonstop touring and festival appearances, and has shared the stage with such well-known acts as 10,000 Maniacs, Rusted Root, and Los Lobos.

Donna bandThe band features three lead singers: Tara Nevins (who also provides accordion, acoustic guitar, and fiddle); Joe Thrift (who also provides keyboards); and Jim Miller(who also provides acoustic and electric guitars). Rounding out the band are Tom Gilbert on drums, Jed Greenberg on bass, and Jeb Puryear on electric guitar.

Despite its name, Rocking in the Weary Land features a positive, uplifting sound that mixes reggae, rock, Cajun, zydeco, and folk. Like fellow touring stalwarts Widespread Panic (who just released a double live disc, Light Fuse, Get Away), Donna the Buffalo has a well-oiled sound.

While songs like "Mr. King" have a positive political message, my favorite cuts are those fronted by Tara Nevins, including the Cajun-oriented "Tides of Time," and the smooth country pop of "All the Time." With her gentle but sturdy voice, Nevins seems the emotional soul of the band, and "All the Time" is a terrific single.

For Donna the Buffalo, the hard work has its rewards, and Rockin' in the Weary Land is a pleasant treat.

- Randy Krbechek © 1998

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