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Duchess of Coolsville: An Anthology

34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 28, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Newly remastered and compiled for the first time, Duchess Of Coolsville brings together 26 year's worth of the uniquely talented Rickie Lee Jones. With over three hours of music on three inspired discs (including one full disc of rare and unreleased tracks), this collection serves as the ultimate introduction to an essential artist. Rhino. 2005.

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Career overviews programmed by the artists themselves are generally inconsistent affairs, usually due to the musicians' own eccentricities. For Duchess of Coolsville, this long-overdue Rickie Lee Jones compilation covering the years 1979-2003, she decided to sequence most of the songs in alphabetical order. It's a unique, yet rather bizarre, concept that dispenses with all sense of continuity, either chronological or musical. While this randomness behooves an artist as willfully eclectic as Jones, it also makes for a rollercoaster listening experience. Selecting tracks from 10 albums that alternately focused on folk, jazz, pop standards, and even electronica makes putting together any compilation of Jones's work a tough assignment, especially since each of her records has a distinctive flow. The 34 selections on the first two discs hit most, but not all, of the highlights from her often patchy releases. Disc 3 unearths seven demos, some live tracks, and several collaborations, few of which are revelatory.

Long in need of a sonic shining, these songs sparkle with fresh remastering, revealing production details most listeners will hear for the first time. While not the best or most coherent collection of Rickie Lee Jones's work that could have been assembled, this anthology provides a reasonably good overview of the Duchess of Coolsville's diverse, distinctive, and often dynamic career. --Hal Horowitz

Disc: 1
1. A Tree On Allenford - Rickie Lee Jones
2. Altary Boy - Rickie Lee Jones
3. Beat Angels - Rickie Lee Jones
4. Bitchenostrophy - Rickie Lee Jones
5. Bye Bye Blackbird - Rickie Lee Jones
6. Chuck E's In Love - Rickie Lee Jones
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Satellites - Rickie Lee Jones
2. Scary Chinese Movie - Rickie Lee Jones
3. Skeletons - Rickie Lee Jones
4. Stewart's Coat - Rickie Lee Jones
5. The Horses - Rickie Lee Jones
6. The Last Chance Texaco - Rickie Lee Jones
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Sunshine Superman
2. Makin' Whoopee! -- with Dr. John
3. Autumn Leaves -- with Rob Wasserman
4. Evening of My Best Day (Live)
5. Atlas Marker (Aviator) (Live) -- with Bill Frisell
6. Easter Parade -- with Blue Nile
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 28, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0009CTUS2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,214 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Thomas W. Altizer on January 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A unique artist of the highest caliber, Rickie Lee has been making me smile and cry and dance and be glad to be alive for a long, long time. (You'll get a feel for how long listening to this essential collection.) From her eponomyous first record to the "new" works on this set, Rickie has never done anything without putting everything she has into the delivery of every single song. Her voice is a pleasure, though an acquired taste to be sure. Nevertheless, her influence on today's roster of performers is immeasurable. That "Juke Box Fury" is missing is a shame, but to have Rickie's "Easter Parade" with the fabulous Blue Nile is another reason to be grateful that this lady still cares to perform. As someone stated, she is without peer as a live performer and you get a taste of that here. Check her out the next time she is appearing anywhere near you. You will fall in love, I promise.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Anderson on January 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Technically, you could buy RLJ's first and second albums and you'd have the best of Rickie Lee Jones. Rickie Lee never again equalled the orchestrated hipster pop of the eponymously titled Rickie Lee Jones and her sophomore effort Pirates. There were flashes of such energy and brilliance elsewhere, but no other album was a sustained success from start to finish.

It was probably a wise business decision for Rhino records to attempt this collection instead of simply remastering those first two masterpiece albums. I don't consider it an artistic triumph, however.

On the plus side, Rhino has equalized or otherwise processed the original material so carefully that songs from different recording venues using different techniques of recording (digital and analog) sound now sound organically whole and integrated with each other. Mainly this involved cutting down a lot of the high frequency content of the originals, rendering Rickie Lee's voice less piercing, but also de-emphasizing the percussion and the brilliant overtones of the guitars. That's not an unreservedly good thing, but it works in the context of making an anthology album.

The alphabetical organization of the tracks does not really work, either. Normally such collections are laid out chronologically, and that probably would have been a better choice here, except that it would have made the falloff in the quality of RLJ's recordings more evident.

The bonus tracks, demos, and miscellaneous on disc three are interesting for the RLJ fan. I don't see them as having lasting replay value.

Listening to this set has lowered Rickie Lee Jones' art in my estimation. I already own most of her records in one format or another. But if this is supposed to RLJ's best, then one must admit that the best of albums like Magazine and Ghostyhead are a bit overrated. Rhino should just get on with remastering her first and second albums.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Remaster Bob on July 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Hi. The people who review reviews on the British site seem not to have noticed a very wise change in amazon's guidelines which now allows for comments on the sound quality of discs. Maybe I'll have more luck here in the States....

Because the remastering standard of this Anthology is absolutely superb. Hats off to Dan Hersch at Digiprep and his latest equipment. Superb sound. I can hear tom-toms reverberating, bass strings resonating, it's just delicious, Dan. Thanks to you and Rhino for this invaluable update of Rickie Lee Jones music.

The music! Well, she, RLJ, is a unique, gifted, and truly American artist and her eccentricities are well represented here. Listeners who seek consistency of style and tempo might get frustrated by the alphabetical sequencing on discs 1 and 2, but if you are prepared to go with the flow then relax and let this terrific selection wash over you. Particularly if you only know a few of her albums, in which case surprises will pop out at you all over the place. For me, new friends included the old Sinatra number "Cycles" and the haunting "Sailor Song", blending in successfully with absolute classics like "Flying Cowboys" (a massive favourite), "It Must Be Love", "Living It Up", and of course "Chuck E's In Love".

The third disc is far better than most of these "odds and sods" appendages, with wonderful demos of "Easy Money" (developed thereafter by Lowell George) and "Satellites" for example, and rarities like Donovan's song of romantic determination "Sunshine Superman" (performed in her most cheerful uptempo style, from the movie 'Party Of Five') and "Easter Parade" with equally unusual Scottish band Blue Nile (who are well worth separate investigation, by the way). Everyone will enjoy different items here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucas_M. on April 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Where does one begin with this body of impeccable work? Maybe with the vinyl record of 'Pirates' that your mother gave you (in my case), or the first time that you cried to 'Stewart's Coat," or got chills listening to the account of 'Bird's' fate in the song, "Skeletons," or maybe the first time that you danced around the room to "We Belong Together" or "Satellites."

Whatever the case may be, this is a remarkable collection. Of course, there are a few more songs that I would have loved to have seen on this collection; but as an introduction, it excels.

Hers is music to live with. It grows with you. If you are a newcomer to the full and rich world of Rickie Lee Jones, this is a terrific (and inexpensive) intro. For seasoned fans, there are enough rarities to satisfy and then some. The demo version of 'Satellites' is so interesting-almost like a different song and mood altogether. 'Making Whoopee' with Dr. John is gorgeous and light. 'Atlas Marker' live is amazing.

A gift to any music lover/searcher. Her music heals, pleas, raises questions (and the hairs on your neck), rages, and elevates us all. This music is so private and confessional that at points, one almost feels guilty listening to it. But, like any good writer, Ms. Jones leaves the space for the listener to bring his or her experiences into the words.

MAGNIFICENT WOMAN!!! Do yourself a favor and order this today.
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