Joe, Dalvin DeGrate, 'Love and Basketball' Soundtrack Albums Due

Former James Brown sax player Maceo Parker, gospel a cappella group Take 6 also releasing LPs this week.

Two long-awaited albums and an eagerly anticipated soundtrack album will hit the shelves this week, when the new releases from R&B singer Joe, Jodeci member Dalvin DeGrate and the "Love and Basketball" soundtrack — featuring R&B artists Angie Stone, Lucy Pearl and Meshell Ndegeocello — come out Tuesday.

Also set for release this week are albums from former James Brown sax player Maceo Parker and gospel a cappella group Take 6.

Joe's single, "I Wanna Know," has been building steam since it first appeared on the soundtrack to the movie "The Wood" last summer. The ballad is at #2 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart and at #14 on the magazine's Hot 100 chart. The singer's new album, My Name Is Joe, will be his third full-length release.

The album will feature a duet with Mariah Carey on "Thank God I Found You" and a collaboration with 'N Sync on "I Believe in You."

DeGrate had multiplatinum albums when he was with Jodeci, including Forever My Lady (1991) and Diary of a Mad Band (1993). His first solo album, Met.A.Mor.Phic, finds him exploring new territory.

"I didn't want to put out an album that was a typical R&B record," DeGrate said. The album's first single, "Why Can't We" (RealAudio excerpt), is typical of the disc's urgent, almost paranoid feel, though it includes several Jodeci-style come-ons. It also features a cover of hard-rock group Def Leppard's 1987 ballad "Love Bites."

The film "Love and Basketball" stars Omar Epps and opens Friday; it focuses on a romance between an NBA-bound player and his NCAA-player girlfriend. The album also includes tracks from hip-hop artists Black Eyed Peas and MC Lyte.

Lucy Pearl is a neo-soul "supergroup" made up of Raphael Saadiq, formerly of Tony, Toni, Toné, Dawn Robinson, formerly of En Vogue, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed, formerly of rap act A Tribe Called Quest. "Dance Tonight," their contribution to the soundtrack, features male and female vocals over a minimalist funk groove. "Dance Tonight" will be the album's first single, according to the soundtrack's publicist.

Stone covers "Holding Back the Years," a 1985 hit for English blue-eyed-soul group Simply Red, while Ndegeocello contributes "Fool of Me," from her 1999 album, Bitter.

The cut from retro hip-hoppers Black Eyed Peas features harmony vocals from the French duo Les Nubians over wah-wah guitars and a stop-start rhythm track. A trio of old-school tunes from 1988 round out the soundtrack, including MC Lyte's "Lyte as a Rock" and Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock's "It Takes Two" (RealAudio excerpt) and R&B vocal group Guy's "I Like," from their self-titled debut.

Maceo Parker made his name blowing for James Brown in the 1960s and early 1970s, and working with George Clinton's P-Funk mob in the late 1970s. His latest solo project includes "Coin Toss," a funky collaboration with folk-rocker Ani DiFranco, as well as a version of The Artist's "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold," on which Parker plays sax and flute while The Artist supplies vocals.

Parker's flute also gives a '70s R&B vibe to the sultry "Black Widow," which features a rap by Corey Parker, Maceo's son. The rest of the disc is mostly old-school funk driven by Hammond organ, guitar and horns.

Take 6 leave the instruments behind altogether, save for the occasional piano accompaniment. The a cappella gospel-soul sextet first gained notice with its 1988 version of the gospel standard "Mary," which the singers give a particularly exuberant treatment to on their first concert disc, Live.

The album features their sacred take on "How Sweet It Is" — which was a hit in its original, secular form for soul legend Marvin Gaye and folk-rocker James Taylor — as well as their version of Miles Davis' classic jazz instrumental "All Blues" (1959). For the last track, the singers impersonate the sounds of a muted trumpet and trombone in improvised solos.