Various Artists

Sing America [Warner]

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Sing America is a benefit album for Save America's Treasures, an institution that intends to preserve "our nation's glorious heritage -- our monuments, parks, archives and landmarks...from sea to shining sea." Since it's such a good cause, it's hard to criticize an album as weirdly incoherent as this. Any record that opens with Leonard Bernstein's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and closes with Cher's "The Star Spangled Banner" is bound to be a little confounding, but that's its charm. Like America itself, Sing America opens its doors to everyone -- Frank Sinatra ("The House I Live In"), Neil Diamond ("America"), Willie Nelson ("Living in the Promiseland"), Paul Simon ("Graceland"), Stevie Wonder ("Sir Duke"), Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong ("Summertime"), Judy Collins ("Amazing Grace"), James Taylor ("Oh, Susannah") John Denver ("Take Me Home, Country Roads"), Arlo Guthrie ("City of New Orleans"), Bob Dylan ("Blowin' in the Wind"), Elvis Presley ("If I Can Dream"), the Impressions ("This Is My Country"), Linda Ronstadt ("Back in the USA"), John Fogerty ("Centerfield"), Peter, Paul & Mary ("This Land Is Your Land") and LeAnn Rimes ("God Bless America"). It might not result in the most coherent listen, but in a curious way, that makes it feel more like America. Besides, it's an interesting curiosity that is for a good cause.

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