November 07, 1994 12:00 PM

Various Artists

Red Hot + Country” is the latest in a series of compact discs benefitting AIDS education and relief (previous ones have covered Cole Porter songs, dance music and the alternative scene). This heavily folk-tinged album was spearheaded by singer Kathy Mattea and includes some of country’s heavy-hitters (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brooks & Dunn) along with some talented fringe-dwellers (Alison Krauss, Nanci Griffith). It opens on an uplifting note with Mattea singing “Teach Your Children” with harmony by Krauss, Suzy Bogguss and Crosby, Stills & Nash, and then Sammy Kershaw offers a soulful take on James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” But just when the mood gets too mellow, Carl Perkins joins Duane Eddy and the Mavericks on a six-minute-plus rockabilly workout of Perkins’s own “Matchbox.” The closing cut is a spirited instrumental (“Keep on the Sunny Side,” by an all-star cast that includes Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs and Randy and Earl Scruggs) that ends the album on much the same note as it began—warm and friendly with a touch of hope. (Mercury)

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