Rickie Lee Jones
Millions were introduced to Rickie Lee Jones via her hit single “Chuck E.’s In Love,” a slinky hipster valentine, but those who dug into her 1979 self-titled debut album discovered that Ms. Jones offered more than flirtatious beatnik jive. Her serious intentions as a vocalist and composer are evident throughout these tracks, produced with care by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman. Jones’ persona — by turns coy, street-smart and vulnerable — is delineated in lyrics filled with evocative slang and visionary poetry. She’s an especially deft story-teller, catching the pathos of a down-and-out mother in “Night Train” and the charm of neighborhood con-men in “Easy Money.” Her jazz-drenched vocal style and innate sense of swing make her words jump, swoon and bite. Tracks like “Young Blood” and “Danny’s All-Star Joint” are musical caffeine jags alive with nervous fun. Edgier tunes like “Coolsville” sketch the dark side of bohemia. And her ballads — particularly the heart-melting “Company” — are rich with uptown elegance. Throughout, Jones inhabits her world of penny-ante hoods and sass-slinging chicks with such authority that you can’t help but be drawn in, too. A genuine singer/songwriter classic.