Little did the great songwriters of popular music realize that part of their heavenly reward was to have Bobby Short interpreting their material back on earth. Unlike Beethoven, Messrs. Porter, Gershwin, Coward, Harburg, Rodgers and Hart needn't roll over in their graves; they can sit back like the folks at Charlie's this week and next, listening to that ever-elegant cabaret singer tickling the ivories and gracing the lyrics with his genial spirit.

Forget the New Wave. How about that First Wave that crashed on California's beaches in 1960 with "Walk Don't Run?" Well, the Ventures are back with the classic guitar-based instrumental sound that kicked off the whole surf music craze. Surf's up with "Pipeline," "Telstar" and others Monday at Desperado's.

Sexy soul balladeer Teddy Pendergrass is as smooth as syrup running into a bucket, and that bucket will undoubtedly flow over tonight when he performs at Constitution Hall; but the big girls understand, which is why TP needs a strong sound system to overcome the screams of approval.

Don McLean deserves better than to have to sustain a career doing other people's oldies (like "Crying"). Best known for "American Pie," he'll hopefully unthaw some of his other intelligent originals at the Door on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sweet Honey in the Rock celebrate another anniversary Friday and Saturday at Dumbarton Chapel at the Howard Law Center; these Washington women brilliantly explore the a capella traditions in Afro-American music in a way that opens the mind as well as the ears.