Rickie Lee Jones was born 50 years ago today in Chicago, November 8, 1954. If you have any interest in popular music, you really should have at least her eponymous first album.
That Rickie Lee Jones album came out when I was 16. I completely bought her smart jazzy street poet thing. And why wouldn't I? Besides being honest to who she really was and appealing to every red-blooded romantic element in a teenage boys' soul, she every bit had the songs to back it up.
"Chuck E's in Love" made a fine, clever and sweet hit single. The imagery, personality, tuneful development and pure joy of "Easy Money" and "Danny's All Star Joint" just cannot be denied.
But the secret weapon for the likes of me was "Last Chance Texaco." The pure dramatic yearning of this classic composition just did me in. Did you see her performance of this on SNL? Then throw in the dramatic weight of "Coolsville" and "Night Train." Resistance would have been futile.
Obviously, Rickie was THE ultimate romantic fantasy object of any cool guy my age (along, of course, with "Precious" Chrissie Hynde). The time less spiritual of my classmates were spending concentrating on the Farrah Fawcett poster or some such, I spent enthralled with that album cover with the beret and chewing on the pigtail.
She only had the one actual hit single, but she's gone on to make quite a bit of outstanding music. The second album, Pirates, was nearly as good as the first. Nothing could have quite that impact of discovery, but just as a collection of songs it ran head to head. You couldn't very well argue against "We Belong Together" or "Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking."