For me xmms-cdread plays audio cd's better then smplayer, because with smplayer the audio stops and starts. With xmms-cdread the audio is on all the time.
My experiences are a little mixed: Xmms-cdread, skipped quite a bit as did smplayer (once I found it, thanks Melodie)----- I thought VLC was going to be my answer as it worked great, for a few minutes, no skips-- but then stopped working altogether. I'm beginning to wonder if 384 MegRam is just not enough with graphical interfaces.
However, cdp works great once I had the commands list jlf001 provided.
Strange though, how Open Office and Firefox work so well on this machine- but not a simple graphical CD player. For my uses the two great programs far outweigh the fancier CD players.
thanks all- I'll mark it [solved] (and play with it a bit more down the line).