Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now
Bringing together classic performances from the likes of Louis Armstrong, newly recorded tracks, and star-heavy collaborations -- all in the name of a good cause -- Hurricane Relief: Come Together Now is a standout among the benefit albums following in Hurricane Katrina's destructive wake. The mix of contemporary artists from all manner of musical genres is dazzling: Lenny Kravitz, Rod Stewart, Faith Hill, Harry Connick Jr., R. Kelly, Barbra Streisand, John Fogerty, and Elton John are among the disparate performers. The coming together of figures from across the wide terrain of pop, R&B, rock, and jazz mirrors the unified spirit of concern. (100 percent of the album's net proceeds will be distributed to the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and MusicCares Hurricane Relief 2005.) In this musical gumbo, diversity breeds pleasure. The mix-and-match encounters yield surprisingly effective results, among them: "Any Other Day," uniting Norah Jones and Wyclef Jean; "Heart So Heavy" with Aaron Neville and John Mayer; "Heart of America," for which Michael McDonald joins Wynonna Judd and Eric Benet; and "We Can Make It Better," bringing together Kanye West with Q-Tip and Common. From roots artists (Clifton Chenier, Professor Longhair) to R&B and blues legends (James Brown, B. B. King) to long-established pop stars (Gloria Estefan, Brian Wilson) and beyond, everyone pitches in, giving it their best shot.