Billboard Bits: Cream, El Tri, Connick

News on Cream, El Tri, Connick

Cream's recent live album "Royal Albert Hall London: May 2-3, 5-6" will be released as a triple-vinyl set Dec. 13 via Reprise. The set debuted earlier this month at No. 59 on The Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 19,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

As previously reported, the rock trio will tonight (Oct. 26) conclude its three-night stand at New York's Madison Square Garden, and, presumably, its reunion after a 37-year-hiatus. Highlights from the Royal Albert Hall shows will air as part of PBS' "Great Performances" beginning Nov. 30.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Fonovisa Records has teamed up with Mexican rock icon Alex Lora to launch a joint venture label. Lora Records' first release will be "Mas Alla del Bien y del Mal," an album by Lora and his longtime group, El Tri. The 11-track set will be EL Tri's 40th album and is due Nov. 22.

As the charismatic leader of El Tri, Lora has been a controversial voice in Mexican rock, tackling thorny issues that often include dirty politics. The new album's first single, "Todos Somos Piratas," deals with piracy. It is due to impact Latin radio outlets early next month.

-- Leila Cobo, Miami

Harry Connick Jr. narrates the new holiday special "The Happy Elf," due to premiere Dec. 2 on NBC. Based on a song from his 2003 album "Harry for the Holidays," the hour-long animated story of Eubie the Elf features a score written and performed by Connick, as well as two new songs.

"The Happy Elf," which also features the voices of Carol Kane, Lewis Black, Mickey Rooney and Rob Paulsen, will be released on DVD Dec. 6 via Anchor Bay Entertainment. boasts a sneak preview of the special, holiday games and a contest with a weekly $500 prize and a chance to meet Connick at an upcoming concert.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.