THE CLASH ``The Story of the Clash, Volume I'' (Epic E2 44035) - An absolute must for fans of London's pioneers of punk, who were deemed by CBS Records in 1977 ``too crude'' to be released in the United States! Volume I traces the band's development backward from 1982 to 1977. The double-record set includes ``Rock the Casbah,'' the pop-ish ``I Fought the Law,'' ``London Calling,'' and 25 others. The entertaining liner notes by the band's former valet are replete with road memories. GREGORY ABBOTT ``I'll Prove It to You'' (Columbia FC 44087) - Solid follow-up to his successful ``Shake You Down'' debut album, from pop/soul singer Gregory Abbott. Abbott writes, produces, sings his own material, and plays drums. He throws in a couple of '50s-style rhythm-and-blues numbers, where he lets loose his Smokey Robinson falsetto. But the songs that best capture the Abbott sound are the ``groove'' ballads and medium tempo songs: the title cut, ``Unfinished Business,'' and ``Let Me Be Your Hero.''
PRINCE ``Lovesexy'' (Paisley Park Records 25720-1) - There's plenty of controversy about the title and the explicit album cover of Prince's latest, but the music is, as usual, some of the most original in pop/rock. Here Prince's lyrics are ambivalent: Sex and religion come out in the same breath - and it's hard to tell which one is a put-on, or if both are. But the music is great - the rap segment ``Alphabet St.,'' Sheila E's funky drums on ``Dance On,'' and the harmonies of ``When 2 R in Love'' are just a few highlights.
SUZANNE CIANI ``Neverland'' (Private Music 2036-2-P) - If you watch TV, you've heard Ciani's synthesizer work on hundreds of commercials. Here, on her third album, she continues in her romantic, simplistic New Age style, rooted in classical music, with its pretty melodies and rich sonorities. Some of it is a bit cloying, but overall pleasant, listenable music.
CHICK COREA'S ELEKTRIC BAND ``Eye of the Beholder'' (GRP GR 4053) - Corea has said that this new album is his first attempt to integrate the acoustic piano into his all-electronic group. Aside from possibly having to change the name of the band, Corea doesn't seem to have a problem with the new format. His piano blends easily with the funky grooves, Latin rhythms, and New Age-y sounds on this album. Best are his shimmering improvisations and some of his compositions. But overall, there's not much on this album to sink your teeth into.
HERBIE HANCOCK ``Perfect Machine'' (Columbia FC 40025) - Hancock, whose musical career has run the gamut from mainstream jazz to the groundbreaking fusion of ``Headhunters'' to his recent Grammy-winning score for the film ``Round Midnight,'' continues his flirtation with pop and rock on his latest. A curious concoction of New Age pop and gritty, driving funk (featuring former Ohio Players vocalist Sugarfoot and scratch-DJ-master DST), ``Perfect Machine'' is prototypical techno-funk for the '80s.