* RHYTHM & BLUES
Al Green - Your Heart's in Good Hands (MCA): Soul legend Al Green (''Let's Stay Together,'' ''Tired of Being Alone''), who recently stopped the show at the concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, returns to the scene with his first album of secular music in 18 years. With the aid of such pop-music hitmakers as songwriter Diane Warren and producers DeVante (who has worked with Jodeci) and David Steele and Andy Cox (Fine Young Cannibals), Green, in stronger voice than ever, recaptures the greatness of his 1970s recordings. In the singer's typical fashion, he deals with the joys and heartbreaks of love. The album brings his '70s Memphis sensibility up-to-date with '90s rhythms and production.
- Frank Scheck
k.d. lang - All You Can Eat (Warner Bros.): The chocolatey-smooth vocals of k.d. lang make for easy listening, minus the country inflections of her previous CDs. This time, she's all croon and no twang. A different side to lang's personality emerges: She seems vulnerable emotionally, yet still willing to take romantic risks. But she hasn't abandoned wry humor. In her lyrics, she's torn between wanting to be ''Miss Congeniality'' and marching to her own drumbeat. The result is a well-produced CD that's moody but uptempo.
- April Austin
Joan Armatrading - What's Inside (BMG): For 20 years Armatrading has been recording and performing original compositions with a genuine honesty and soulful intimacy. ''What's Inside,'' her 14th release, is a mostly upbeat collection, wonderfully orchestrated, from the lead song ''Shapes and Sizes,'' backed by the Kronos Quartet, to the bluesy ''Lost the Love,'' and the slow, mellow ''Merchant of Love.'' Her ballad ''Trouble'' is particularly touching as a tribute to her mother.
- Deb Purington