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Our critics' picks in new releases


Some might regard his synthetic SoCal-style jazz and half-spoken song-style as music for wimps, but not me. I've always admired the streamlined logic of his poetry, which harkens back to the crafty lyricists of American Popular Song. He remains the master of the quick quip. "I understand flannel pajamas," Franks deadpans, "are not allowed in the Bahamas." That's "Island Christmas." In nine other originals, Mr. Romantic Rendezvous travels the world over--from a snowcapped hideaway cabin to a fuzzy-warm hotel room in Kyoto. A sophisticated make-out record available only at

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