Recording of September 1983: Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones: Rickie Lee Jones
Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs MFSL 1-089 (LP) (originally on Warner Bros. LP, 1979). Nick DeCaro, Johnny Mandel, orchestral arrangements; Lenny Waronker, Russ Titelman, prods.

This is actually a nice record. I was somewhat surprised to find myself really enjoying it. All the songs were written by Miss Jones, who does share the credit with Alfred Johnson for two: "Weasel And The White Boys Cool" and "Company." Her lyrics are fresh and entertaining, and her music quite good. The only jarring note to me was her inept-sounding efforts to assume the lowah-class South'n accent that is apparently considered essential for success in popsingin'. It only muddles her diction and makes the lyrics even more difficult to understand.

But there are hints of a good voice here. Ms. Jones uses her unusually wide-ranging voice extremely well; at times it seems almost like another instrument, as she switches from energetic love songs to wistful ballads. I especially enjoyed "Chuck E's In Love," "Easy Money," and "Danny's Ail-Star Joint."

The re-pressing is typical Mobile Fidelity, which after all these years should say it all. The balance of the accompaniments was excellent, and nothing seemed to be lacking. I imagine Miss Jones performs live frequently, and I would love to hear a recording of a live performance. The studio seems to detract from the impact of her music.

Even if you are not a pop-record fan, I think you might like to hear this one.—Margaret Graham

Osgood Crinkly III's picture

Have had this Mobile Fidelity for eons. Chuck E made it to FM AOR in the '70s, when pop was reeling from the one two punch of disco, but independent FM still managed to breath. Last Chance Texaco only tune I like & still on my iPod (wav). This is LA slick jazz, soft pop, in the same vein as Miles of Aisles & Aja, a long defunct, dated genre. Jones basically = a one-hit wonder. Album definitely a trip down memory lane.

Mobile Fid a mixed back: super clean, too clean, more than slightly anal, yet still better than standard releases & worth the extra bucks (e.g., Clapton, 461 Ocean Blvd). Tighter detail, dynamics and frequency extension, but not exactly rich in musicality, midrange or imaging. An ENGINEER's sound. And not nearly as good as Japanese P-Vine reissues of Chess, which showed what could be done with remastering of REAL music on heavy, high-quality vinyl (as opposed to Reference Recordings or Sheffield schlock).

Will never forget New Orleans' reception of Jones, with her candles, carpet and grand piano, during Jazz Fest, at an evening concert, where she shared the bill with Dr. John and the post Lowell George Little Feat. It wasn't pretty: They heckled and booed. They roundly rejected her affectations, her tiny, "cute" voice. I cringed, but understood. No room in the Crescent City for such LA fluff.

Osgood Crinkly III's picture

accidentally posted twice

Karl Landgren's picture

Listened to "Last Chance Texaco" on my friend's Linn LP12/ Benz Glider (and other great components) over 10 years ago, and still remember being transfixed. It was beautiful, simply beautiful.