Country pop or honky-tonk, it's heartfelt from Mark Collie


January 15, 1993|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic


Mark Collie (MCA 10658) With so many Nashville acts defining themselves either as country pop or hardcore honky-tonk, it's nice to know that there are still some singers who reject that sort of single-style approach. Hand Mark Collie a song as pop-friendly as "Even the Man in the Moon Is Crying" or the Eagles-ish "Born To Love You," and he puts the melody across with as much heartfelt confidence as any chart-topper; give something grittier -- a '50s-style number like "Shame Shame Shame Shame," say, or the aggressively swinging "The Heart of the Matter" -- and he shines even brighter. And what makes "Mark Collie" such a delight is that he handles both kinds of music with equal expertise.


Stereo MC's (Gee Street 314-514-061)

Contrary to popular belief, techno isn't the only kind of dance music they make in Britain these days. Indeed, listening to the Stereo MC's is enough to make most listeners believe that the heyday of Manchester Sound never passed. Yet as much as the group's bass-heavy groove recalls the funk-psychedelia of groups like Happy Mondays or the Farm, there's a real sense of soul to the material the MC's offer on "Connected." Even better, the MC's are savvy enough to augment Rob Birch's tart vocals with cameos by genuine soul singers like Mica Paris. And even though the loping basslines and vintage samples get monotonous at times, there's no mistaking the urgency of tracks

like "Fade Away" or "Don't Let Up."


Various Artists (Profile 1433)

Shabba Ranks and Mad Cobra may be the best-known exponents of dancehall in this country, but they're hardly the only Jamaicans to ply this fusion of reggae rhythm and hip-hop technology. After all, not only is "Dancehall Stylee" chockablock with irresistible examples of the genre, but it's the third such sampler in the Profile catalog. Casual fans will be immediately attracted to "Manhunt," a collaboration between Shabba Ranks and Jamaican crooner Lovindeer, as well as Cutty Ranks' cleverly edited "The Stopper." But there are plenty of surprises in store as well, ranging from "Ambition," on which Lady Patra reinvents Althea and Donna's "Uptown Top Ranking," to the bass-driven funk of Ninjaman and Flourgon's irresistible "Zig It // Up."


John Patitucci (Stretch 1101)

Electric bass virtuosos too often come across as frustrated lTC guitarists, emphasizing flash and volume over depth and groove. But not John Patitucci. When he takes on the Bach Prelude in G Minor (from the Suites for Unaccompanied Cello), he plays with the sort of grace and fluidity you'd expect of Yo-Yo Ma. And that's a standard he maintains throughout "Heart of the Bass," whether sailing through Jeff Beal's Concerto for Jazz Bass & Orchestra, dueling with Chick Corea on "Four Hands," or strutting his stuff on doublebass in Corea's Miniatures for Solo Bass, Piano and String Quartet. An amazing album.

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