Sound Bites Aterciopelados, Oye (Nacional Records). Colombia's Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago ably represent the aural traditions of their homeland even as they offer up grooves and melodies with plenty of appeal for the Americans to their north. Witness "Canción Protesta," in which Echeverri casts her lot with musical revolutionaries ranging from Ruben Blades to Bob Dylan. -- Roberts
Jeff Beck, Truth (Epic). The tsunami that was Jeff Beck's Truth provided the sonic template for all heavy music to follow -- most obviously Led Zeppelin. The ten original tracks and bonuses on this re-release illuminate not only Beck's incendiary talent, but also his visionary assemblage of a band of future mega-stars for its recording. -- Mark Bliesener
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Gladys Knight, Before Me (Verve Music Group). Gladys Knight's assured vocal command, in combination with the power of a fully horned jazz orchestra, validates the timelessness of great pop craftsmanship. Gladys takes no risks here, though: Even her ad-libs sound rehearsed. This is the one to play when your boss comes over for dinner. -- Tom Taylor
Sean Lennon, Friendly Fire (Capitol). No-longer-so-young Sean isn't driven by the urge to best his father in the rock-star sweepstakes -- and that's a good thing. Fire, his first CD in eight years, may frustrate listeners expecting urgency. But this tuneful, ornate song cycle will reward those who are in no more of a hurry than he is. -- Roberts
Stanton Moore Trio, III (Telarc). Drummer Stanton Moore plumbs deep Bonham bottom end on this explosive collection of acid-jazz grenades. Think instrumental Led Zeppelin gone Hammond B-3 bonkers, courtesy of Robert Walter's virtuosic organ tapestries. Will Bernard's raspy Jimmy Page-like slide guitar on "When the Levee Breaks" and the trio's hard-bop fury on "Chilock" and "Licorice" make the album worth III gold bars. -- C.J. Bahnsen
Dwight Yoakam, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. (Rhino). Expanded and remastered, Guitars includes a second disc that finds Yoakam deep in his Bakersfield roots, alongside the Babylonian Cowboys in a performance recorded at L.A.'s Roxy. No one squeezes honky-tonk juice out of June Carter's "Ring of Fire" and Hank Sr.'s "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" quite as convincingly as Yoakam. -- Bahnsen