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2 new CDs will help keep alive spirit of the Lilith Fair

VARIOUS ARTISTS; "Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women In Music Vol. 2" (Arista). 3 stars

VARIOUS ARTISTS; "Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women In Music Vol. 3" (Arista). 3 starsSarah McLachlan's critically acclaimed music festival is back in the news.

This is the last year the all-day event will tour. And the Rev. Jerry Falwell has been attacking the fair, saying it promotes abortion, birth control and "celebrates lesbian imagery," according to Entertainment Weekly.

Falwell forgot to mention the fair also tries to help victims of such terrible crimes as rape, assault and incest. And then there's the issue of child abuse.

Well, what about the music? Wasn't that the main draw? Wasn't the Lilith Fair one of the better touring festivals this decade? And wasn't it a nice, welcome balance to all those hard-metal, testosterone-driven rock festivals that featured mainly all-male mean-guy posers?

Well, here are a couple more CDs that are going to keep the Lilith Spirit alive.

After releasing "Volume I" last year, the Lilith Fair camp decided to let loose some more live compilation recordings.

"Volume 2" and "Volume 3" are actually very good. They are also a bit more dramatic because some of the songs aren't blockbuster hits. They are the lesser known ones.

That is, except for Lisa Loeb's "I Do" from "Volume 2."

The mix on both albums is tight and clear. Even the dynamics of Angelique Kidjo's "Never Know" and Queen Latifah's rumbling "Life" is crisp on "Volume 2."

As for "Volume 3," Luscious Jackson's "Naked Eye" is placed next to Liz Phair's "Never Said." And Sixpence None the Richer's rising hit "Kiss Me" finds itself on the track, as does the Indigo Girls' "Get Out the Map."

And, getting back to issues, Suzanne Vega appears and does her heartbreaking breakthrough single about child abuse, "Luka."

Those who loved Lilith Fair will reminisce with these two releases. And those who didn't experience the fair will get a glimpse of the fair's unity and freshness.