Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones

Three times a charm for Rickie Lee Jones. Back in the 1980s, Mobile Fidelity released the eponymous album as one of its earliest productions. While the original Warner Bros. pressing is pretty damn good, the reissue quickly became the record that many audiophiles dragged into their favorite high-end audio shop. Between radio stations playing the hell out of “Chuck E’s In Love” and customers at the local hi-fi store that signed my paycheck, I came to dread anyone I saw walking in the door with the record under their arm.

But like Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, time heals all wounds.  A 25-year hiatus has made this debut record listenable for me again, and last year, Mobile Fidelity produced a single-LP remaster.  Remarkably similar to the original Mobile Fidelity version, albeit slightly noisier, the recent LP offers a bit more dynamic range. However, because the grooves now go almost all the way to the label, increased inner-groove distortion arises on the last track of each side.

This new 45RPM version takes care of the problem and boasts a more solid foundation, with a solid bass groove that doesn’t exist on the other MoFi pressings or WB original.  No substitute for sheer groove volume, this copy really swings, with significantly more drive and a more expansive soundstage, to boot.

While a tad noisier than the original, the delicacy by which the acoustic bass gets reproduced on “Easy Money” should surprise those who have heard this record countless times. The percussion floats in with a gentleness that comes damn close to the experience provided by tape.  All the acoustic instruments tout more space and shape. Yes, this is analog done to perfection.

For those wondering, “Chuck E’s In Love” still gives me an anxiety attack, but it sounds better than ever.  If you love this record, you will not be disappointed.  – Jeff Dorgay

Mobile Fidelity, 180g 45RPM 2LP box set