The Aqueduct winter track opened for business yesterday, which, of course, begs the question: So what about that new Eagles CD, anyway?

Looking for value? Who isnt? Then how about 20 new songs for the bargain basement price of $11.88? Plus tax, of course. Where? Only at Wal-Mart, unless youre willing to pay an exorbitant mark-up in a few other places.

As Don Henley and Glenn Frey explained on 60 Minutes last weekend, this is their first new release in 28 years. Finally, after the success of Hotel California and their own egos tore them apart, The Eagles went back to the drawing board to write and back into the studio to record.

Wal-Mart is the distribution arm for the album they produced for and by themselves. The times demand it. The music business might even be in worse shape than the racing business. Country is the only genre that sells in the mainstream anymore.

But The Eagles secured a significant payday when they sold 3 million copies of Long Road Out of Eden to Wal-Mart, who then marked them up and marketed it to the public. Thus far, its been a great deal for both parties.

If you werent an Eagles fan before you will be now.

Song 1, side 1, No More Walks in the Wood, is a four-minute piece featuring the sweet harmonies of Henley, Frey, the irrepressible Joe Walsh, and Timothy Schmitt. Compare it to CSN, America, The Mamas and Papas, Seals and Crofts, to any contemporary artists whose voices make sweet music together. Combine their virtuosity with Henleys and Freys writing talents and the result is easy listening for people who think.

The song getting the most play and featured recently in the bands appearance at the Country Music Awards, How Long, was written by veteran singer/songwriter J. D. Souther. Its good fun, featuring turns by all the band members, including the unmistakably soulful, whiney Henley riff.

But there are half dozen better songs, something for every ear. If, for instance, you like Delbert McClinton, youll love Guilty of the Crime with its breezy boogie-woogie piano. If it got the airtime of How Long, it would be a bigger hit.

Paul Carracks I Dont Want To Hear Anymore evokes some familiar, comforting Motown phrasing. The vocals in Fast Company are reminiscent of a time when Michael Jackson wasnt mentioned in the same sentence with pedophilia. Think Thriller. In Waiting In The Weeds, the band inadvertently pays homage to CSN; great lyrics, great hook. And youll think your hearing the Big Man from E Street when you hear the sax chords on No More Cloudy Days.

If side one is fun, side two is the message, Eagles style, thought provoking but not heavy handed. The title track, a seven-minute concept piece, is about the fall of the American Empire.

Somebody, the best rocker on the disk, snaps the listener back. Then, after the You-Get-the-Government-You-Deserve protest of Frail Grasp of the Big Picture, Joe Walsh, bless him, recalls his experiences on Last Good Time In Town, its Mexi-Cali sensibilities seeming to come right out of Steely Dans playbook.

All the contemporary genres are present on Long Road, from country to rock to folk-protest to modern ballads. The final song, Its Your World Now, seems a reassuring, perfect conclusion to the Eagles love affair with whats still right about America.