BROADWAY BEAT

Harry Connick, Jr., Songs I Heard (COLUMBIA)
A funny thing happened to family man Connick while sitting at home with his two little girls watching Broadway shows made into movies. In the midst of Annie, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, and others, Connick realized how much his children loved the numbers and set to work on an idea to record them himself. With this, his tenth album, Connick and band add their own twist to familiar hits like “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Ding Dong (The Witch Is Dead),” “Oompa Loompa,” and 12 others.

Raul Malo, Today (Higher Octave)
The first solo record from former Mavericks’ front man Malo puts the focus on his powerful baritone and smooth style. The dozen songs feature horns, Latin rhythms, acoustic guitars, and heartfelt lyrics. But the main instrument that grabs you by the lobes is that voice. With songs bouncing between vocals in Spanish and English, this album has wide appeal.

The Cranberries, Wake Up And Smell The Coffee (MCA)
This fifth studio album (and first on MCA) from the Kilmallock, Ireland-formed quartet brings 13 savory tracks to the table. Even if you could take away the strong vocal performance from Dolores O’Riordan on this album, you still have one of the most solid guitar-driven rock bands around today. It’s easy to see how they’ve sold more than 33 million albums to date.