By Devon Jackson
Updated October 21, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Two and a half years ago, Victoria Williams discovered she had multiple sclerosis. Last year, friends like Pearl Jam and Lou Reed put together Sweet Relief, a tribute album to help cover her medical bills; that release created newfound interest in the somewhat eccentric Louisiana-born singer-songwriter. Inspired by Sweet Relief, and feeling healthier, Williams lays down her own version of ”Crazy Mary” on Loose, her third disc. Whether singing the psychedelic folk rock of ”Sunshine Country” or the bluesy ”Waterfall,” Williams is equally winning, but she’s especially effective in her duets with Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner, particularly ”My Ally,” which highlights her unique gifts: lyrics with pathos and humor (”Standing on the pavement looking like an accident”), made even more touching by her high and oddly appealing tremolo-tinged voice. A-