Sunday, October 5, 2008

for love of songs and an unsung songstress ...

Okay, so we all know Chuck E was in love; or something like that. It was quirky in its lyrical undulations -- a snappy tune for sure -- and Rickie Lee Jones' 1979 debut album seemed (at the time) as unassuming as it would be relatively unheralded. With a crisp and overly-tightly polished production, the debut record seemed to suggest that the established record industry was sure it could pluck this gem from the gritty earth and set her in a mount of burnished 24K gold. The cover of her self titled debut belies a muted truthfulness and frank non-conformity -- in the rather stark portrait, a young Rickie Lee Jones in her red beret could seem to care less; couldn't give a shit really. The halls of dank dorm rooms would suit her music just fine -- it seemed the world was just going to have to catch up to Rickie. And it nearly has -- well, at least by proxy. She remains aloft, standing apart from the rest; defined only by a rugged individuality that is as radiant as it is rare. And now, as I listen to "The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard" I am convinced that Rickie Lee Jones has enigmatically re-defined what it means to be a female singer-songwriter for at least the next thirty years--

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