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David Kersh
If I Never Stop Loving You

Willie Nelson has frequently talked of making a reggae album, and other country musicians must like the idea. Clay Walker's "Then What" and the title track on David Kersh's new album both feature an unusual Caribbean/country rhythm. Kersh also does a fast-paced cover of Nelson's "Hello Walls" and a country version of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." His first album offered the destined classic "Goodnight, Sweetheart"; this one is neatly polished with his deep, distinctive voice and memorable songs. On "Anything With Wheels" he sings, "If a dream had a motor / And wishes ran on gasoline / If desire just had tires / She'd be somewhere south of Abilene." It's hard to rave too much, however, because he doesn't write the material he sings. (Sarah Quelland)

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Killah Priest
Heavy Mental

The man of the camouflage cloth embarks on a lengthy Sunday-morning sermon that gets heads nodding, but not in the way you'd expect from a Wu-Tang member. Killah Priest fancies himself as the L. Ron Hubbard of hip-hop, a soothsayer ("One Step") with a third eye on the prize ("Atoms to Adam," "Blessed Are Those"). Yet when it's time to bring the pain, the guns of Heavy Mental are set on safety, not on stun. "Cross My Heart" and "From Then 'Til Now" (where he rhymes "Palestine" with "Ballentine") sound sloppy and unpracticed. On the plus side are the acrobatic "Tai Chi" and stripped-down "If You Don't Know" and "The Professional." The Wu-Tang Clan is known for creating monumental mind journeys. Heavy Mental is an arduous trek for Wu completists only. (Todd S. Inoue)

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All the Pain Money Can Buy

Fastball offers up dark pop in a vein similar to the Wallflowers. Pain is appealing right from track one, "The Way," a song about taking "an exit to eternal summer slacking." Fastball's three members (Tony Scalzo, Miles Zuniga and Joey Shuffield) have a gift for writing painful and serious songs that still manage to be fun to listen to. The dangerous sentiment on the bitter "Slow Drag" penetrates deeply when Zuniga sings, "I wanna see you dead / lying in the muddy ground / You're nothing to me," then segues into the peppy "G.O.D. (Good Old Days)" with perky trumpets, saxophones and a trombone. (SQ)

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From the date-date, 1998 issue of Metro.

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