Rickie Lee Jones (born November 8, 1954) is an American vocalist, musician, songwriter, and producer. Over the course of a career that spans five decades, Jones has recorded in various musical styles including rock, R&B, blues, pop, soul, and jazz.
After touring through much of 1982 following the release of Pirates, Rickie Lee Jones released the Girl at Her Volcano EP. It contains three live recordings, a few new studio ones and recordings left over from earlier studio sessions. “Hey, Bub” was the first song originally written by Jones for Pirates in September 1979.
The live recording of “Something Cool” was not included on the original vinyl EP release, but on the Musicassette release of the same year. Earlier recordings of this song can be found on June Christy‘s 1954 album Something Cool, and Julie London‘s 1960’s Around Midnight (which features also “Lush Life“).
I have been a fan, collector and follower of Rickie Lee Jones most of my adult life. Although there are many favorite songs in her vast catalog, this EP remains my favorite body of work from her. It shows catastrophe, vulnerability and a raw edge to the the princess.
Lush Life—-Perhaps a nod to the alcohol struggles Jones was experiencing at the time, this live rendition puts me smack in the middle of a smoky piano bar sitting around being thoroughly entertained by the ‘dame’ at the piano. Jones delivers a raw and naked vocal that runs through the notes and word inflections with an outstanding clarity and emotion. This gives me a peaceful and serene feeling…and a longing to have been in this crowd. Just brilliant.
Letters From The 9th Ward/Walk Away Rene—-Coming at you from a silence and developing into a grandiose beauty, this remains one of my favorite Jones tracks in her history. the vocal is sweet and serene with an almost child like quality to it. The music swells around your head and sucks you into the magnificence of the piano strikes and the lazy drawl of the sometimes slurry vocal. This is just fantastic….never have i heard anything this superb. I love to sleep to this album…..it gives me an almost out of body sleep experience……and that folks…..is what music is all about.
Hey, Bub—-Minimalist with just a stark piano and the sweet jazzy vocal from Jones makes this song a pure masterpiece of music. Although there some some double tracked vocals here and there and strings that enter into the song….it is the pure tormented vocal from Jones that makes this song an ethereal track of pure magic…I could never ask for more from one artist. This is magnificent.
My Funny Valentine—-Returning to the smoky dark bar feeling of the first track, this rendition of this song is brilliant. Stroked only by the piano, the voice is rough and full of natural beauty. The notes that require Jones to soar…are never missed….this slight jazzy feel to the song makes me long for a nice show tune bar where I can sip martinis and forget the world we live in. Such a simpler time this was……
Under The Boardwalk—-This is a brilliant cover version of The Drifter’s classic. Jones is joined by a male vocalist…and the vocal delivery is everything you could ask for. The slow and lazy drawl of Jones is a perfect match for this song…you can almost feel the sun on your shoulders and the sand beneath you feet. This literally transports me somewhere else. Just fantastic. You have to check this out!!!
Rainbow Sleeves—-A gentle piano introduces the song and sets the tone for the heartbreaking vocal that only Jones can deliver. This is magical…..minimalist but full of beauty…Jones sings in that alto voice of hers that manages to convey so many feelings in just a few words. I can not say enough good things about this release…when Jones really lets loose….tears flow down your cheeks…..just magical.
So Long—-Light and full of an airy vocal, Jones manages to paint an entire picture with her voice alone. I’m not sure instruments are even necessary with a performance like this. The delivery sounds heartbreaking and tortured….the notes are just perfect. The heart wrenching feel to the song makes me shake my head in amazement….I can’t believe we are blessed with such greatness.
Something Cool—-The slow and lazy drawl of Jones vocal here matches the jazzy piano almost perfectly. This is fantastic…every word and vocal inflection paints the picture of the song. I love the way the song makes me feel…..it tends to remind me of Drag Queens I have heard deliver this song….huge…..flamboyant and a bit flip…..just brilliant.
***** out of 5