Crate Skimmers #14 Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones

Owned since: 2009

Genre: Night club jazz-pop

Where I bought it: Thrift store

Year: 1979

Label/pressing: Warner Brothers

In dEUS’s Hotellounge singer/guitarist Tom Barman goes “and I’m in love with Rickie Lee Jones voice”. Worst Case Scenario is a bit of a forgotten record worldwide these days but still a massive indie mammoth in the Netherlands and Dutch-speaking parts of Belgium. The debut of the Antwerp based band is pretty inescapable here, and it’s quite good. Also the Rickie Lee Jones shoutout is the only one of its kind on there, which makes it even more odd. Even more since if there was one thing not cool in 1994, it was Rickie Lee Jones.

Jones oozes this kind of night club jazz and 70s singer-songwriter stuff that pre-gravely weirdo Tom Waits got famous for. It is full of smooth keyboards, stand-up bass and drums by a who’s who of jazz players and just oozes a cigarette filled lounge at 2 a.m. Not a bad sound at all, but one that already felt old in 1979, honestly. Even down to the cover which shows Jones wearing a beret, smoking and looking like a regular beatnik. The music is always so close to including scatting also, which boy is a mood for sure. Still, I absolutely adore this record. Jones is a tremendous vocalist whose jazzy, smokey voice fits so well with the piano led jazz backing that goes in and out of cool night club and string sections. Also the backing is insanely good; it is what happens with Dr John, Micheal McDonald, Randy Newman, jazz session greats like Tom Scott and even keyboard pioneer Michael Boddicker. Such an odd gang of people, but it makes this record sound so well done and calculated. There is literally no kind of rough edge on this, like it was recorded in some kind of vacuum.

The Joni Mitchell compression is one made to death with this record, and while it is there Jones’s music has always been a lot more classic jazz fueled then Mitchell’s love for free jazz. Even vocally they are in the same range, but Jones’s (earlier) songs are a lot more poppy then most of Mitchell’s stuff. Something like Young Blood sounds like it wandered straight out of a yuppie movie soundtrack with its saxophone solos and Micheal McDonald backing vocals. It’s absolutely clean in every way and the most 20,000 dollar chairs stuff ever, but man I just love it. So unbelievably uncool these days that it turns out to be cool again.

Not a lot here honestly to say. Got a lot more stuff for the follow up Pirates which I also own and is absolutely the superior record to this. But still, if you like jazzy 70’s pop this is an essential.

Sloothoughts: I feel like I should be taking a bike ride through some bucolic meadow and making daisy chains with my beau. Good stuff.