Soul To Squeeze

Ahead of the release of the mostly covers "Soul Speak," due this week via Universal Motown, Michael McDonald accomplished the rare feat of hitting three separate charts with a trio of tracks from the

Ahead of the release of the mostly covers "Soul Speak," due this week via Universal Motown, Michael McDonald accomplished the rare feat of hitting three separate charts with a trio of tracks from the project.

His rendition of Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" debuted at No. 21 on the Adult Contemporary survey, while his take on Teddy Pendergrass' "Love TKO" bowed at No. 39 on Adult R&B and a version of Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By" opened at No. 28 at Hot Contemporary Jazz Songs.

The Pendergrass and Warwick covers mark McDonald's first entries on those charts, although guest appearances with Chaka Khan and Fourplay have made the jazz tallies.

For McDonald, having the three songs out gives people a wide sample of "Soul Speak," which includes three new compositions as well as covers of other songs by Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Marley and Van Morrison. "I just thought all these records had ... some element about them that speaks to your inner being, your soul," he says. "Typically they're those kinds of records you loved before you even knew what the words said. You just want to hear them over and over again."