Rickie Lee Jones – “Haunted”

Yesterday was a looooong Labor Day on the road driving back from good old Telluride, Colorado.  We spent a good chunk of the day listening exclusively to SiriusXM’s The Loft channel – the most eclectic and “up my alley” station they offer. Lots of great tunes powered my drive – a lot of them new to me: songs by the likes of James McMurtry, Ula Dara, One Eskimo, and Banditos.

But this new Rickie Lee Jones cut hit me the hardest. Her new album, The Other Side of Desire, came out just a couple months ago. It was produced by John Porter, and Mark Howard, who, combined, have a résume a mile long, including Roxy Music, the Smiths, Ryan Adams, BB King, John Mayall, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, U2, Lucinda Williams – you get the idea.

“Haunted” is buried deep in the album, track 8 of 11. Listen to how it kicks in: first drums & guitar, then vocal, then bass, then keyboards.. As always, it’s Rickie Lee’s voice that helps make the tune – meandering, sweet and unique. The second half of the tune turns downright dark and, well, haunting – with Rickie Lee moaning admonitions about L-O-V-E among the ominous atmosphere of the track.

You better be careful
Or all the bluebirds will stop flying
You better be careful
Or all the stars will stop flying
You better be careful
Or all your dreams just stop dying
You better be careful
Or all your heart will stop stinging

Great tune! Check out The Other Side of Desire on Amazon.

Two from Rickie Lee

Howard Stern had a great interview this morning with Carly Simon. Howard drilled down into her icy relationship with ex-husband James Taylor. Their mutual son – Ben Taylor – was in the studio as well, which made for an interesting dynamic. Long story short, Howard and Ben are joining forces to talk some sense into JT and at least get the former couple talking again. Howard is a great shrink, I’m telling ya.

Hearing Carly Simon made me think of Rickie Lee Jones. Natural progression, right? I don’t know why, but I just associate one loosely with the other. Now let’s go back 15 years, shall we? I have exactly one Rickie Lee Jones album: Traffic From Paradise. It was her last record with Geffen, released in 1993. There’s some wonderful collaborations on the album with the likes of Leo Kottke, Brian Setzer, David Baerwald and Ickmusic hall of famer David Hidalgo. Kottke especially pervades the album, playing 6-string, 12-string, and slide acoustic guitar. Master of the session drummers (and drummer for the Traveling Wilburys) Jim Keltner pounds the skins.

Two songs stand out on the album for me. The first is the crushingly beautiful “Beat Angels”. The background vocalists you hear are Hidalgo, Setzer, and Syd Straw. Hidalgo is also on eight string electric guitar.

The second track is the Jones/Kottke-penned “Running From Mercy”. Providing backing vocals here are Lyle Lovett, Kottke, Teresa Tudury, Sal Bernardi, and John Leftwich. Another one that reaches down into the soul…

Traffic from Paradise (click to check it out)

Rickie is still going strong. Check out her tour dates along the East Coast this June and July, and check out her latest, The Sermon on Exposition Blvd.