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Hope Springs Eternal

A northern suburb tops our third installment of rating greater Houston's taste in music

Every so often, we like to head over to Amazon.com and check out their "purchase circles." This feature allows you to see what sells particularly well in selected cities, companies and schools. As Amazon puts it, "no matter where you live, work, or go to school, we'll likely have a Purchase Circle for you."

Wherever possible, Amazon concocts two lists for these places -- one that compiles what sells best overall, and a second, more interesting, one that compiles what sells "uniquely well" in that place compared to the rest of the country. That's where you get the surprises. It's like sticking your nose in the collective entertainment centers of whole towns. Let's have a peek, shall we?

Spring

1. Heartworn Highways soundtrack

2. Rock Swings, Paul Anka

3. Los Lonely Boys

4. Verve Remixed, Vol. 2

5. Black & White Night, Roy Orbison

6. What I Really Mean, Robert Earl Keen

7. Ancora, Il Divo

8. High School Musical soundtrack

9. WOW! Hits 2006, various artists

10. Sticky Fingers, the Rolling Stones

11. The Who: The Ultimate Collection

12. It's Time, Michael Bublé

13. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood

14. Il Divo

15. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs: Derek and the Dominos

16. Memoirs of a Geisha, Yo-Yo Ma, et. al.

17. Heart: Greatest Hits 1985-1995

18. Pacific Coast Highway, Nils

19. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

20. REO Speedwagon -- The Hits

Spring's always got some killer stuff, and they always stand apart -- they have a bunch of stuff that sells well nowhere else in the area. And if I could grab just one of these stacks of CDs to take on a long car trip, it would be this one. Of course, I would hurl the Bocelli, Heart and High School Musicaldiscs under the wheels of an oncoming tractor-trailer before I hit the beltway.

Houston

1. The Plus and Minus Show, Michael Haaga

2. Para Gloria, Sisters Morales

3. Both Sides, Roger Smith

4. Heartworn Highways soundtrack

5. Will T. Massey

6. 3 'n the Mornin', Pt. 2, DJ Screw

7. The Purest Place, Watermark

8. What I Really Mean, Robert Earl Keen

9. Greatest Hits, Fat Pat

10. Live Across Texas, Roger Creager

11. Anthology, Maze

12. Outdebox, Soulhat

13. The Party Never Ends, Robert Earl Keen

14. Texas Fed, Texas Breed: Redefining Texas Music, Volume 1

15. Lucky Ones, Pat Green

16. Wave on Wave, Pat Green

17. King of Da Ghetto, Z-Ro

18. Three Days, Pat Green

19. Guerilla Warfare, Hot Boy$

Gratifying. At last a record I and damn near I alone championed in print topped some chart somewhere. And have I gone crazy, or does the title track to Pat Green's Wave on Wave sound exactly like Mike and the Mechanics' "The Living Years" or what? As much as I love Haaga, Z-Ro and the Heartworn Highways soundtrack, there's just too much Pat on here for a first-place finish.

Sugar Land

1. 50 Number Ones, George Strait

2. Josh Groban

3. High School Musical soundtrack

4. Strategic Grill Locations, Mitch Hedberg

5. Eagles: The Very Best Of

6. Michael Bublé

7. Hillbilly DeLuxe, Brooks and Dunn

8. The Best of 1980-90, U2

9. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback

10. Closer, Josh Groban

11. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

12. Songbird,Eva Cassidy

13. It's Time, Michael BublŽ

14. At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash

15. The Long Road Home: The Ultimate John Fogerty / Creedence Collection

16. Getz / Gilberto, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto

17. Feels Like Today, Rascal Flatts

18. Walk the Line soundtrack

19. When I Fall in Love, Chris Botti

20. Possibilities, Herbie Hancock

Like Spring, Sugar Land often has a few surprises, but theirs usually aren't as good. I would probably chunk about a dozen of these out the window -- starting with Rascal Flatts and Nickelback -- on my hypothetical car trip, and I am overly familiar with the Eagles, U2, Cash, Strait and Creedence stuff, so I'd be stuck with the Hedberg, Cassidy, Hancock and Getz/Gilberto when I wanted something new.

There's a lot of soccer-momcore here. What's that, you ask? Middlebrow pop-jazz and/or standards or pop classics usually sung by a hunky young man "with an old soul" or a suave Mediterranean type, here represented by the Botti, Bublé, Bocelli and Groban discs. Romance novels in syrupy song... Katy

1. The Movie Album: Classical Pictures, John Bayless

2. I Can Only Imagine: Ultimate Power Anthems of the Christian Faith

3. Black & White Night, Roy Orbison

4. The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack

5. Mercy Now, Mary Gauthier

6. Arriving, Chris Tomlin & Steven Curtis Chapman

7. High School Musicalsoundtrack

8. One Tree Hill, Volume 2

9. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback

10. WOW! Hits 2006, various artists

11. Modern Day Drifter, Dierks Bentley

12. Behind the Levee, Subdudes

13. The Road and the Radio, Kenny Chesney

14. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson

15. The Essential Willie Nelson boxed set

16. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

17. Possibilities, Herbie Hancock

18. At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash

19. Monkey Business, Black Eyed Peas

20. The Joshua Tree, U2

There are always a few "worship music" CDs on Katy's lists -- it seems to be far more of a Bible-thumping burb than most of the others. Both Gauthier and the Subdudes are from Louisiana -- did Katy take in lots of (white) Katrina exiles?

Cypress

1. High School Musical soundtrack

2. At Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash

3. At San Quentin, Johnny Cash

4. Grey's Anatomy soundtrack

5. Singalongs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, Jack Johnson

6. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, Arctic Monkeys

7. Greatest Hits, Volume 2, Tim McGraw

8. Andrea Bocelli -- Amore

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