With a little insurance from an extra week of sales, Michael Jackson's "Bad" entered Billboard's album chart in the No. 1 spot this week, replacing the sound track to "La Bamba," which had in turn succeeded Whitney Houston's "Whitney." Industry observers are curious about how long "Bad" will stay atop the charts with corporate labelmate Bruce Springsteen set to release his "Tunnel of Love" album Oct. 6. Retailers hope that album, reportedly a collection of songs about personal politics, will turn around the moribund sales of last year's live sets, which have been crowding many warehouses and stores around the country. CBS has been trying various moves to deplete the oversupply, most recently offering a $5 credit for every set retailers have in stock and rolling over the billing to January. That's good news for consumers, who can look forward to some aggressively promoted discounting between now and Christmas.

Meanwhile, industry scuttlebutt suggests that CBS Inc. is getting closer to selling the CBS Records Group to a group headed by Records President Walter Yetnikoff and financed by Japanese electronics giant Sony to the tune of $1.8 billion to $2 billion (which would be a record for a label deal). Yetnikoff tried to buy the label last year for $1.25 billion, but CBS, which had just sold its Magazines division for $650 million, said the Records division was not for sale. CBS CEO Laurence Tisch reportedly wants to sell, while CBS founder and Chairman William S. Paley does not, but a CBS insider says talks between CBS and Sony have already begun. CBS Records accounted for 37 percent of CBS Inc.'s operating profits last year, but industry observers note that Sony may have an even better reason to buy in: It would provide the Japanese with a stateside entry and major software for the controversial DAT (Digital Audio Tape).

Carpenter's 'Hometown' Hit Mary Chapin Carpenter's CBS debut album, "Hometown Girl," is getting a lot of home-town support (with airplay on WMAL, WBMW, WETA, WHFS, WMZQ and WLTT), while also picking up strong reviews around the country. The first single, "A Lot Like Me," was released last week. Carpenter will make an appearance Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. at Olsson's in Old Town Alexandria; Olsson's and CBS are giving away a "free trip to your home town" (or the home town of your choice within the continental USA). Ballots are available at all five Olsson's (with a Friday cutoff) and Carpenter will draw a winner on Saturday.

The Black Caucus' Jazz Weekend The 17th annual Congressional Black Caucus Weekend kicks off tomorrow with a jazz program in the Washington Hilton's International Ballroom East. From 6 to 8 p.m., New Orleans' first family of jazz, the Marsalises, will sit on a "Family Tradition" panel with their Philadelphia counterparts, the Heath Brothers (Jimmy, Percy and Albert); Ornette and Denardo Coleman; Thelonious Monk Jr. and John Handy Jr. The panel will explore how the tradition, creativity and artistry of jazz have been transferred and cultivated through generations, a variation on the weekend's theme of "Educating the Black Child." From 8:15 to 10, the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet and the Washington Allstars will perform. Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is the son of pianist Ellis Marsalis and younger brother of trumpeter Wynton and saxophonist Branford. This will be his Washington debut. Both events are free and open to the public. Today the House is expected to pass a resolution offered by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who will also introduce the panel, expressing the "sense of Congress that jazz be designated a national American treasure."

Remembering a Harp Pioneer On Saturday, the Folger Shakespeare Library will host a memorial concert for jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby. Ashby, a Detroit native who died last year, was a pioneer in bringing the harp into the jazz idiom, work that's being continued by Patrice Kafi Nossoma. Nossoma, cofounder of Black Women Making Music, an organization that will produce concerts and create an archive of works by black women composers and instrumentalists, will be joined by flutist Frank Wess, a frequent Ashby collaborator, bassist Keter Betts and the Duke Ellington School Jazz Ensemble in the Folger's Great Hall. Proceeds will be used to provide for a harp teacher at Ellington, and the Ashby family has already donated a new harp to the school. Tickets are $25, $50 for patrons and $12.50 for students. For more information, call 589-0340.