It’s The Best View Yet Of A Tawny, Toned Toni

For a soul singer, Toni Braxton has been baring a lot more than her soul lately.

First she showed up at the Grammys in a see-through white gown. Then she wore a flesh-flaunting dress at the American Music Awards.

Now there’s the cover of the new Vibe magazine, in which she shields just enough of her anatomy with an arm and a towel to keep the morality police at bay.

Inside, she’s wearing a clingy, cream-colored slip in one shot, black panties and a sheer black top in others.

Braxton, a 29-year-old preacher’s daughter, says she decided to start showing more skin when she lost some weight after giving up nuts and beer.

“As far as wearing revealing clothes, I gotta wear them now before my booty goes flat,” she says in the magazine.

Loose talk

Tom Jones, on rumors that he’s “very, very well-endowed” (in US magazine): “I’m very, but not very, very.”

He’s what you might call a monumental talent

Taj Mahal turns 55 today.

But it’s what they do with it that counts

U2’s stage props for its current “Popmart” tour include a 100-foot-tall decorative arch, a 35-foot mirrored disco ball that opens like a spaceship, a huge martini olive spiked by a 100-foot toothpick and a 50-foot-tall video screen. As lead singer Bono tells Rolling Stone: “Sometimes, size matters.”

So, she thinks hose makes the woman?

Oprah Winfrey fulfilled a fantasy by joining Tina Turner onstage in Los Angeles to belt out a rousing rendition of “Simply the Best.” But something was missing, Winfrey said on her talk show Friday: “I’ve been wearing Hanes every day, and I still don’t have legs like Tina.”

It’s so much sweeter to just stay a baby

At age 49, following two divorces and the deaths of his father, brother and best friend, James Taylor says he finally feels grown up. “It just takes a long time to get here,” Taylor told Time magazine. “Recovery is part of it. Death is part of it. Love that goes bad is part of it. Failing to be a parent is part of it. You have to fail over and over in order to become a man.”

There might be a kernel or two of truth to it

A biography of Col. Tom Parker, the former carnival barker who helped guide Elvis Presley to stardom, is being written by his widow, Loanne Parker. “We plan to detail the true story behind the incredible relationship between the colonel and Elvis,” she said.

His ears, of course, are out of the question

Prince Charles was quite the hit with Britain’s latest pop stars, the Spice Girls, at a charity gala. “You know, I think you are very sexy,” Geri Halliwell said after planting a kiss on his cheek. But the prince politely declined Victoria Adams’ suggestion that he have his tongue pierced.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by staff writer Rick Bonino

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