Only A Woman Like You
(Jive Records)

A trip through Bolton’s first release for Jive Records finds the 49-year-old soulful singer covering well-loved themes. The 11-track set opens with “Dance with Me,” a Latin-tinged dance number that Bol-ton calls one of his favorites. The romantic vibe continues with “All That You Deserve,” “Love with My Eyes Closed,” and “The Center of My Heart.” As a whole, Bol-
ton says this “is not a record that is meant to reinvent the wheel. It has melody and lyrics that my audience will relate to, but with a fresh treatment.”

When I Was Cruel

His first new record in seven years opens up with “45” and “Spooky Girlfriend” and sounds a lot like early Costello. The disc then travels through some interesting horn work on “15 Petals” and “… Dust” and distorted guitar on the two-minute “Dissolve” before going into one of the best songs on the album, “Alibi.” This is one of those rare, great albums meant to be
listened to in its entirety — all 15 tracks in order, over and over.

Deep Natural
(Mighty Sound)

Don’t be fooled by the name of this female singer-songwriter — this is not a heavy metal album. What it is, is a nice little mixture of blues, gospel, folk, and continuous groove in a double-disc package that includes an extra CD of dub mixes that the musicians made in the studio while recording the original album. If you went to Jazzfest in New Orleans this year, you may have run into Ms. Michelle on her home turf.

— J.E.M.