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"The long-awaited Jill Scott release obviously didn’t suffer from the time between LPs. And the final recordings of Ray Charles enjoyed huge word-of-mouth."
——Jerry Suarez, Virgin Entertainment Group

HATS OFF TO SCOTT, RAY, LL COOL J

McGraw’s Still #1, But Jill Scott, Ray Charles, LL, Insane Clown Posse Bow in Top 10

Curb’s Tim McGraw is still living large at #1, but he’s got company this week, as Hidden Beach/Epic’s Jill Scott (#2), Concord’s Ray Charles (#3) and Def Jam/IDJ’s LL Cool J (#4) debut in this week’s Top 5.

The posthumous Charles album of duets with the likes of Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Natalie Cole and James Taylor, was a surprise, with total sales of more than 186k. Industry sources say the 4,000 Starbucks stores nationwide carrying the album through its Hear Music imprint could be responsible for up to 40k of that number.

Remarkably, it's Charles highest-charting pop album in 41 years, since Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul reached #2 in 1963.

Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez downed a caramel frappuccino and issued the following caffeineted reply: "We had a very nice sales week in spite of the fact that Hurricane Frances closed stores in both Orlando and Miami. Two records in particular had surprisingly great weeks. The long-awaited Jill Scott release obviously didn’t suffer from the time between LPs. And the final recordings of Ray Charles enjoyed huge word-of-mouth. LL Cool J had a nice week, too."

Psychopathic’s psychopathic rap-rock duo Insane Clown Posse is the other Top 10 newcomer, as their two separate releases combine to finish #10.

The rest of the Top 10 includes UTV’s Now Vol. 16 (#5), Jive/ZLG’s R. Kelly (#6), Geffen’s Ashlee Simpson (#7), G-Unit/Interscope’s Young Buck (#8) and Bad Boy/Universal’s Mase (#9).

Other chart newcomers include DreamWorksPapa Roach (#14), Elektra Entertainment’s Bjork (#15), Epic’s Lamb of God (#20), Roadrunner/IDJ’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse soundtrack, Wind-up’s Passion of Christ: Songs of Inspiration album (#39) and Mercury Nashville’s Terri Clark (#49).

Added Suarez: "As always, we had a great week with Bjork… but I misplaced my lyric sheet. Does anyone know what the heck she’s singing about?"

Double-digit increases are registered by Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Kanye West (#45-27, +36%), J RecordsAlicia Keys (#37-30, +18%), SRC/Universal’s Akon (#29-26, +17%), Capitol’s Yellowcard (#36-28, +16%) and Epic’s Garden State soundtrack (#23, +14%).

It would appear that West, Keys and Yellowcard all showed spikes from their performances on the MTV Video Music Awards.

Next week, it’s all about Arista Nashville’s Alan Jackson, who appears ready to displace fellow country superstar McGraw at the top of the chart.

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