Critics struggled to categorize Rickie as her 1979 debut soared to #3; they'd never be able to. She slithers from jazz to R&B to folk as you hear her hits Chuck E.'s in Love and Young Blood plus Coolsville; Easy Money , and more!
The breezy melodies and jazz stylings of Rickie Lee Jones's debut album are usually found in the works of more mature pop artists. It's only the exuberance of Jones's often cackling voice that reminds you that a 23-year-old is at the controls. And Jones's "little girl lost" perspective, while hanging out in mid-1970s Los Angeles with neo-Beat songwriters-barroom troubadours Tom Waits
and Chuck E. Weiss
, makes for colorful storytelling. In fact, her tale about Weiss, "Chuck E.'s in Love," hit the Top 10. But there's a lot more elegant stuff here: "Last Chance Texaco" is a soaring ballad about automobiles and broken hearts, and the Sinatra-esque "After Hours" features a lonely Jones singing to a lamppost. --Bill Crandall