In the summer of 1982, I saw Rickie Lee Jones live, touring behind her second record "Pirates." It was an almost three hour performance and for many years later, I was calling it the best concert I had ever seen. That's when I fell in love with Rickie Lee.
I fell out of love with Rickie Lee after a series of uninspired releases beginning with 1997's trip-hop affair, "Ghostyhead", though I will admit, Miss Jones sure knows how to spin a cover, which she has done three times in her career, first on 1991's brilliant "Pop Pop," and again on 2000's "It's Like This" and 2012's "The Devil You Know."
But a songwriting drought and some bad juju with record labels (never heard that one before) pushed Rickie Lee Jones out of the west and into the south. With a new home in New Orleans and inspiration that can only come from the Crescent City, Rickie Lee Jones has started a new label and released a new record. Both are named "The Other Side Of Desire" and this record is Rickie Lee's best release since the aforementioned "Pirates." Of course, you will have needed to already be a fan of Miss Jones, as "The Other Side Of Desire" will not necessarily break new ground and certainly won't change the minds of those who never quite got her style of singing.
For fans of New Orleans and its musicians, the following names will mean something to you: James Singleton, Jon Cleary, Matt Perrine, Doug Belote, David Torkanowksy and the Lost Bayou Ramblers. For those unfamiliar, trust me. These are the guys you want playing on your record.
While songs like the Cajun beauty "Valtz de Mon Pere," the Fats Domino swamp of "J'ai Connais Pas" and "Christmas In New Orleans," have an obvious nod to the city, "TOSOD" is not all waltzing and second-lining. The opener "Jimmy Choos" is the obvious single, having an upbeat, pop-feel like Rickie's first single "Chuck E's In Love." But it is the trio of songs, "Infinity," "Haunted" and "Feet On The Ground" that stand-out, with the latter sounding like some sparse soul hymn, with help from Jon Cleary on vocals.