COOL CATS

LIONEL RICHIE
RENAISSANCE (ISLAND/DEF JAM)

Two years after his last studio record and what seems like forever since his last major hit, this silky-voiced R & B singer lives up to the name of his latest CD. A salsa tune here, a weepy ballad there, and a funk track to top it off. No genre, it seems, can’t be conquered. Welcome back, Lionel.

ERIC CLAPTON
Reptile (Reprise)

This new studio album, his tenth on Reprise, has Slowhand covering songs penned by the likes of Stevie Wonder and James Taylor, as well as his own original slick songwriting. With his standard Stratocaster licks, this 14-song disc demonstrates yet again how truly wonderful Clapton is tonight, and every night.

LOS SUPER SEVEN
CANTO (Columbia Legacy)

Fans of music that crosses borders, as well as genres, should check out the second effort from this Grammy-winning supergroup, made up of members of Los Lobos, the Mavericks, and various solo artists. Deeply rooted in the music of Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, this is hardly World Music. Call it All Over the World Music.

— MALCOLM MAYHEW