Top Picks: Santana's 'Guitar Heaven,' Carlos the Jackal miniseries, 'The Queen' on DVD, and more

Santana's new 'Guitar Heaven' CD, Sundance Channel's dramatization of terrorist Carlos the Jackal in 'Carlos,' British TV's miniseries 'The Queen' on DVD, and more recommendations.

Santana's guitar heaven

What sounds like a pretty cheesy idea – "Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time" – turns out to be a hot idea after all. All credit goes to guitar hero Carlos Santana (who plays with taste and fire) and guest vocalists Joe Cocker, Chris Daughtry, and the criminally underrated India.Arie, whose quiet take on George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" transforms the classic into something soulful and intimate. Other stellar tracks include "Bang A Gong," "Little Wing," and "Sunshine of Your Love."

Clapton finds his groove

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It's great to hear from another guitar virtuoso, Eric Clapton, who has nearly abandoned his famous Fender guitar this time to show off his honeyed vocal chops. The eponymous album title "Clapton" indicates that he's comfortable with the results. Old buds J.J. Cale and Steve Winwood guest star, but it's the relaxed, nearly acoustic production and Clapton's audible delight that really define this collection of old country blues, Hoagy Carmichael's delightful "Rockin' Chair," and standards "Autumn Leaves" and "How Deep Is the Ocean."

Local-food heroes

If you are curious about where your food came from, how it was grown, and who loved it before it arrived on your plate, "Harvest to Heat," by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer, offers this kind of culinary kinship. Meet the artisans (farmers, butchers, chefs) who coax meals out of the land and sea, and then dive smartly into creative recipes made real with mouth-watering photos.

The many faces of 'Carlos'

"Carlos," a three-part dramatic series on the Sundance Channel, tells the real-life story of the international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, active throughout Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s and '80s. Hero, playboy, revolutionary – he was the most wanted man "on earth" for two decades. This is the channel's first scripted series and it is raw, depicting the chaos, sexuality, violence, and destruction that filled Carlos's life and the lives of his targets. Begins Oct. 11 and airs on three consecutive nights.

Three-legged women

Longtime Monitor contributor Robert Klose has a new book out, "The Three-Legged Woman," in which he takes a wry look at teaching in a "careworn" college in Maine, where the eclectic student body provides ample material for reflections on life – and the tendency to believe in the bizarre.

Long may she reign

"The Queen," a five-part miniseries that aired on British TV in 2009, now arrives in the US for the first time on DVD. This new drama combines historical footage with performances from five top British actresses, depicting one of the world's most powerful women over the sweep of her reign. Available Oct. 5 from Acorn Media.

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