Picks and Pans Review: Quick Cuts

updated 03/24/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/24/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CHERI DENNIS In and Out of Love
Diddy's latest hip-hop soul protégée, signed to his Bad Boy Records, is no Mary J. We've heard all of this before—she even rips from MJB's "Love No Limit" on "All I Wanna Do"—and heard it done better.

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RAY DAVIES Working Man's Café
After finally releasing his first official solo album in 2006, the former Kinks leader is on a roll. While not quite up to Other People's Lives, this is another fine effort with tasteful, café-ready fare like "Imaginary Man."

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With a robust voice and rich songwriting (she wrote or co-wrote 10 of 11 cuts), this Alabama native makes an impressive country debut. Among the best: "Takin' Off This Pain," the feisty first single.

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Mixing new grooves and old faves, the bass guitarist lays down some note-popping, hip-shaking funk with help from guests like Lalah Hathaway, Keb' Mo' and Corinne Bailey Rae (on the Deniece Williams cover "Free").

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