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Feast your ears on Drew and ‘cue

DANIEL BUCKLEY Citizen Music Writer

It’s Memorial Day weekend again, time to sear grill marks into hunks of fish, chicken, assorted red meats or anything else that can be heat-treated in open air for a group feed. It’s how we honor our dead here in America.

Certain supplies you know up front – charcoal, lighter fluid, a beverage of choice for the allimportant ”arm ballast” and maybe one of those aprons that says, ”The Chef is Hot!!!”

The right tunes are just as important. Mozart and ribs together is as intrinsically wrong as Leonardo DiCaprio slipping some tongue to Dr. Ruth.

The smoky aroma of grilled anything puts the world on the good foot. It’s up to you to extend the courtesy of returning the musical favor.

Rhino Records’ Bar-B-Que Soul-a-Bration (Buckley’s Grade: A- ) has you covered on all counts with the right tunes and a pound of extras to turn your backyard gathering into a debauched party from which embarrassing tales are yet to be told.

Two heaping discs of solid soul are stuffed into a ring binder chock-full of recipes, barbecue advice, party planning tips, games and such thoughtful ”extrees” as colorful sample invitations.

Disc one serves as musical hors d’oeuvres with such finger-licking favorites as King Curtis’ ”Memphis Soul Stew,” Booker T. and the MGs’ ”Green Onions,” Mongo Santamaria’s ”Watermelon Man” sharing disc space with Tony Joe White’s ”Polk Salad Annie,” The Meters’ ”Chicken Strut,” and James Brown’s ”Grits.” But like the stepping soul and R&B contained, the funky food theme never stops.

Side two struts off to Professor Longhair’s ”Red Beans,” along with fellow New Orleans pianist Fats Domino’s ”Jambalaya,” The Robins’ ”Smoky Joe’s Cafe,” Big Twist’s ”Too Much Barbeque” and Marsha Ball’s ”Mama’s Cooking” before winding down to feed the dishwasher with Betty Wright’s ”The Clean Up Woman.”

In between are slices of such classics as Aretha Franklin’s ”Rock Steady,” Ramsey Lewis’ ”The ‘n’ Crowd,” The Capitols’ ”Cool Jerk,” Archie Bell and the Drells’ ”Tighten Up,” The Spinners”’Rubber Band Man,” Les McCann and Eddie Harris’ ”Compared To What,” Wilson Picket’s ”Land of 1,000 Dances” and more from the likes of Albert Collins, Otis Redding, Billy Vera and the Beaters and The Clovers.

Gentlemen, start your grills!

‘Tis the season for cruisin’.

As the evenings become balmier, you’ll be looking for the right tunes for potential top-down fun.

Drew Carey is behind that notion. It’s just that he got a little distracted with his show on Rhino’s ”Cleveland Rocks: Music From the Drew Carey Show” (Buckley’s Grade: B).

Who could blame him. He has a show.

No doubt about it. Carey has integrated music into his sitcom with uncommon flair, serving up production dance numbers that haven’t been seen in decades. His taste in tunes for the gang-footwork has been eclectic but supreme, from The Vogues’ ”Five O’Clock World” and Tower of Power’s ”What is Hip” to Lee Dorsey’s ”Working in a Coal Mine,” ”The Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the theme to ”A Man and a Woman,” Peaches and Herb’s ”Shake Your Groove Thing,” Joe Walsh’s ”Rocky Mountain Way” and Iggy Pop’s

”Lust for Life.”

The good news is all of those are on this disc, with Rhino’s keen insistence on mastering perfection in full effect.

The bad news is that just about every other cut on the CD is a clip from the show. Carey singing his show theme, ”Moon Over Parma,” holds up. It is seconds long, after all. But after one listen, Carey’s singing of ”High Hopes,” a parody of Barry Manilow’s ”Mandy,” and ”God Bless America” plus Oswald’s stirring rendition of ”Tomorrow” grows thinner than Joe Beiden’s hair.

If you’re a Drew Carey nut, this disc is a dream come true. The accompanying booklet gives you the lowdown on every dance caper and song, with photos to boot.

If you’re just a music lover, there’s still plenty to like. Just review the programming chapter on your CD player or be able to find the ”skip-to-next-track” button in the dark.

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