Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

JONES, Rickie Lee

(b 8 Nov. '54, Chicago) US singer, songwriter. 'Easy Money', a low-life tale of good-time girls, was recorded by Lowell George on his solo LP Thanks I'll Eat It Here '79, brought her to WB's attention; she was unfairly categorized as West Coast soft rock when her first (eponymous) LP '79 was prod. by Larry Waronker (Randy Newman, Maria Muldaur), though she was accompanied by a big band incl. many fine jazzmen; that she had roots wide and deep in '40s pop, folk, jazz etc soon became obvious. LP incl. no. 4 hit (top 20 UK) 'Chuck E's In Love', also depth in songs like 'On Saturday Afternoons In 1963'. That album and Pirates '81 were top five USA, but her widely-spaced output reduced public profile. Girl At Her Volcano '83 was a 10]im[ LP with covers: Left Banke's 'Walk Away Rene', Drifters' 'Under The Boardwalk'; also Rodgers and Hart's 'My Funny Valentine'. Her between-songs monologues show infl. of Beat poets, which she shares with former boyfriend Tom Waits (cover of whose Blue Valentine '78 she adorned); with her ability to move from jazzy croon to scat to energetic pop, The Magazine '84 got mixed reviews, par for the course for an artist like her; she's too good for the pop charts. She switched from WB to Geffen for Flying Cowboys '89, Pop Pop '91, Traffic From Paradise '93; to Reprise for Naked Songs -- Live And Acoustic '95; Ghostyhead '97 brought together more ghosts from her machine.