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Duchess of Coolsville: An Anthology

Duchess of Coolsville: An Anthology

by Rickie Lee Jones
It's fitting that Rickie Lee Jones, one of the most mercurial figures in the rock pantheon, would choose to anthologize herself with a collection that's every bit as charmingly capricious. Two of the discs that make up Duchess of Coolsville take on the cast of a "greatest hits" compilation, but rather than presenting the tunes chronologically, Jones offers them


It's fitting that Rickie Lee Jones, one of the most mercurial figures in the rock pantheon, would choose to anthologize herself with a collection that's every bit as charmingly capricious. Two of the discs that make up Duchess of Coolsville take on the cast of a "greatest hits" compilation, but rather than presenting the tunes chronologically, Jones offers them up in alphabetical order. That leads to some fascinating juxtapositions, such as nestling her cover of the Victrola-era standard "Bye Bye Blackbird" between the recent jazz foray "Bitchenostrophy" and her best-known tune, "Chuck E's in Love." Ultimately, Jones offers an evenhanded view of her entire career, peppering the set with both sparse piano pieces like the ethereal "On Saturday Afternoons in 1963" and finger-snapping bohemian forays like "Weasel and the White Boys Cool." Another plus is her eagerness to spotlight her more expansive work, notably the winding, eight-minute "Traces of the Western Slopes." Diehard fans will be particularly drawn to the collection's third disc, which brings together 15 rarities -- the vast majority of which are genuinely obscure rather than merely somewhat off the beaten path. That translates into a smattering of live tracks -- highlighted by a lovely cover of "My Funny Valentine" -- as well as plenty of demo material, including a radically revamped version of "Satellites" and a jittery jaunt through the off-kilter "Rondo for the Three Apartments on 34th Street." Jones may be claiming the title of duchess only for this aural biography, but the evidence presented here proves she's clearly the queen of this particular sonic universe.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Duchess of Coolsville is Rhino's three-CD career retrospective of the work of singer and songwriter Rickie Lee Jones, an artist who changed the face of pop in the 1970s in her own way beginning with her surprise hit "Chuck E's in Love." Since that time she has continued on a highly personal, often idiosyncratic path; one that does not always give the marketplace its due. Critics have celebrated and vilified her. Her hardcore legion of fans has scratched their collective head more than once in the last 26 years, over her changes in direction, her sporadic activity, and even at some of her live performances. But Jones has always been stubbornly true to the restless, sometimes tempestuous heart of the artist she is. Thank goodness. This collection, co-produced by Jones and Karen Ahmed, is an example of what every career retrospective should be. The three discs contained here feature generous helpings from all of her studio recordings, as well as live material. Discs one and two present her catalog from Rickie Lee Jones to The Evening of My Best Day. In addition, there are some real rarities, such as "Easter Parade," performed with the Blue Nile, and the live version of "Something Cool," released only on the cassette version of Girl at Her Volcano. Jones' cover of Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" is here from the Party of Five soundtrack, as is "Atlas' Marker (Aviator's Song)," her contribution to Century of Song with Bill Frisell. But there's much more. For starters, the set includes a whopping total of eight unissued demos, including one of "Young Blood" and another of "Satellites." The sequencing is another plus. While it may be irritating for those who like the "same old same old" of chronological style, or those who wish all album's tracks were kept together, this method, as free-ranging as the artist herself, makes for a much more engaging , poetic, and surprising listen. It's a complete yet utterly wonderful jolt to hear "Vessels of Light" from Ghostyhead followed by "We Belong Together" from Pirates, or "Bitchenostrophy" from The Evening of My Best Day preceding her read of "Bye Bye Blackbird" from Pop Pop. The package itself is elegant. It's not only full of photographs, but has essays by Hilton Als and Lee Cantelon, and Walter Becker; there's a long introductory poem by Jones, and testimonies from peers such as Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris, Chuck E. Weiss, Quincy Jones, and others, as well as people Jones has influenced such as Stina Nordenstam and Tori Amos. It's everything a career retrospective should be and then some, and it places the artist in her proper context: as an adventurer with a fiery yet tender heart that expresses itself in song without reservation, artifice, or guile.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rickie Lee Jones   Primary Artist,Dulcimer,Synthesizer,Guitar,Mandolin,Drums,Rhythm Guitar,Horn,Keyboards,Recorder,Vocals,Background Vocals,Kalimba,sleigh bells,Wurlitzer,Bowed Dulcimer
Leo Kottke   Acoustic Guitar,Slide Guitar
John Doan   Harp Guitar
Dr. John   Keyboards,Vocals
Donald Fagen   Synthesizer
Michael McDonald   Background Vocals
Randy Newman   Synthesizer
Syd Straw   Vocals
Peter Erskine   Drums
Victor Feldman   Percussion,Keyboards
Robben Ford   Acoustic Guitar
Joe Henderson   Saxophone
James Newton Howard   Synthesizer
Marty Krystall   Clarinet,English Horn
Vince Mendoza   Trumpet
Rob Mounsey   Synthesizer
David Sanborn   Alto Saxophone
Tom Scott   Horn,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Rob Wasserman   Acoustic Guitar,Double Bass
Chuck Rainey   Bass
Ralph Grierson   Keyboards
Jim Keltner   Drums
Brad Dutz   Percussion,Marimbas,Bodhran,Udu,Bowls,Tarkas
Michael Ruff   Piano,Background Vocals
Walter Becker   Synthesizer,Bass
Alex Acuña   Conga,Drums
Sal Bernardi   Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Michael Boddicker   Synthesizer
Rick Boston   Bass,Guitar,Piano,Drums,Recorder,Kalimba,Various,sleigh bells,Wurlitzer,Bowed Dulcimer
Randy Brecker   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Bobby Bruce   Violin
Red Callender   Bass
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Nick DeCaro   Accordion
Jeff Dellisanti   Bass Clarinet
Walfredo Reyes   Percussion
Kevin Dorsey   Background Vocals
Howard "Buzz" Feiten   Acoustic Guitar
Russell Ferrante   Keyboards
Chuck Findley   Horn
Bill Frisell   Electric Guitar
Steve Gadd   Guitar,Drums
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Jerry Hey   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
David Hidalgo   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,8-string Guitar
Dan Higgins   Flute,Tenor Saxophone
David Hungate   Bass
Paul Jackson   Acoustic Guitar
David Kalish   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Randy Kerber   Keyboards
Jay Lane   Cymbals
Neil Larsen   Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano
John Leftwich   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Cello
Arno Lucas   Background Vocals
Steve Lukather   Guitar
Clarence McDonald   Keyboards
Pascal Nabet-Meyer   Synthesizer
Andy Newmark   Drums
Michael Omartian   Piano
Michael O'Neill   Acoustic Guitar
Jeff Porcaro   Drums
Dean Parks   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Greg Phillinganes   Keyboards
Grant-Lee Phillips   Vocals
John Pizzarelli   Acoustic Guitar
Tony Scherr   Bass
Leslie Smith   Background Vocals
Neil Stubenhaus   Bass
Fred Tackett   Guitar,Mandolin
Martin Tillman   Cello
Efrain Toro   Percussion
Joe Turano   Background Vocals
Ernie Watts   Horn
Willie Weeks   Bass,Bass Guitar
Matthew Weiner   Background Vocals
Kenny Wollesen   Percussion,Drums
Paul Nowinski   Acoustic Bass
Eric Benét   Vocals
Craig Eastman   Mandolin,Violin
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Trombone
Robert Devery   Rhythm
Jeffrey Parcaro   Drums
Art Rodriquez   Drums
Doug Lyons   French Horn
Cougar Estrada   Drums
William McLeish Smith   Organ
Rene Camacho   Bass
John "4 Daddman" Robinson   Drums
Mark Stevens   Drums
Phillip D. Feather   English Horn
Larry E. Williams   Synthesizer
Carol Es   Drums
Jeffrey Pavar   Guitar
Cindy Wasserman   Vocals
Bob Zimmitti   Percussion

Technical Credits

Donovan   Composer
Rickie Lee Jones   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Vocal Arrangements,Horn Arrangements,Audio Production
James Newton Howard   Producer
Rob Wasserman   Producer
Ralph Burns   Horn Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements
Jim Keltner   Drum Effects
Gayle Caldwell   Composer
Walter Becker   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Blair Aaronson   Orchestration
Larry Alexander   Engineer
Steve Berlin   Producer
Michael Bernard   Programming
Sal Bernardi   Composer
Rick Boston   Composer,Programming,Producer,Loop
Bruce Brody   Producer
Paul Buchanan   Composer
Nick DeCaro   Orchestral Arrangements
Walter Donaldson   Composer
James Farber   Engineer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Ray Henderson   Composer
Jimi Hendrix   Composer
Lee Herschberg   Engineer
Jon Ingoldsby   Engineer
Gus Kahn   Composer
David Kalish   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Julie Last   Engineer
Tommy LiPuma   Producer
Mark Linett   Engineer
Johnny Mandel   Orchestral Arrangements
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Pascal Nabet-Meyer   Composer
Roger Nichols   Engineer
Greg Penny   Engineer
Jacques Prévert   Composer
Allen Sides   Engineer
Ben Sidran   Producer
Russ Titelman   Producer,Audio Production
Lenny Waronker   Producer,Audio Production
David Weiss   Producer,Audio Production
Lee Cantelon   Art Direction
Steve Woolard   Annotation
Loyd Clifft   Engineer
Robert Devery   Programming
Joseph Kosma   Composer
Mort Dixon   Composer
Alfred "Snuff" Johnson   Composer
John Nelson   Engineer
Jason Wormer   Engineer
Andy Brohard   Engineer
Mark Johnson   Engineer
Ian Cross   Engineer
Barry Goldberg   Engineer

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