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Country thrush a close 2nd to Usher

Marie returns to chart with No. 6 debut 'Dona'

Country newcomer Gretchen Wilson made a healthy bid for the No. 1 slot on the nation’s album sales chart but fell 1,300 shy of Usher’s “Confessions.”

“Confessions” (LaFace) retained the top spot in the week ended Sunday, moving 228,000 copies. However, Wilson posted the best sales ever by a country rookie, selling 227,000 copies of “Here for the Party” (Epic). (Disc landed atop the country albums chart, too.)

Third place went to Dirty South rappers 8Ball and MJG, whose “Living Legends” (Bad Boy) sold 121,000 albums.

Teena Marie, the Rick James protegee who first charted in 1979 and hasn’t been in the top 200 since 1990, saw her “La Dona” debut at No. 6 on sales of 75,000. The Cash Money/Universal release is the highest charting disc of her career.

D12’s “D12 World” (Shady/Interscope) slid to 117,000 in its third week to land at No. 4.

Other debuts included Killswitch Engage’s “End of Heartache” (Roadrunner) at No. 21 on sales of 37,000; DreamWorks’ “Shrek 2” soundtrack (No. 36; 26,000 sold); and tyro modern jazzer Jamie Cullum’s “twentysomething” (Verve), which sold 11,000 to land at No. 93. Latter disc is the No. 2 jazz album behind Diana Krall’s “Girl in the Other Room” (Verve), which sold 55,000.

Los Lonely Boys’ 9-month-old self-titled album made its first appearance in the top 40, moving to No. 35 on sales of 26,000.

And Wynonna’s “What the World Needs Now” (Curb), released in August, returned to the chart at No. 48 on sales of 21,000. Country thrush appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” during the sales period, and a number of her catalog items were reissued.

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