Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones

Back in the beginning of 1979, when this record made its debut, it became a demo staple in every hi-fi store. Even the original pressing sounded decent, and budding vinyl enthusiasts can usually find a clean copy for a few bucks about anywhere.

Both the original MoFi and the current MoFi remasters have more dynamics and quieter surfaces than the original WB pressing, and each will set you back about $30.  However, the current MoFi release exceeds its predecessor in every way but one: the “smiley face” EQ. (For those unfamiliar with this term, it means that the upper treble and lowest bass frequencies have been slightly boosted in the attempt to gain some listenability, more excitement, if you will.) Pressed on the original JVC “Super Vinyl,” the original is still a smidge quieter than the current pressing, which is excellent.

It’s up to you whether you bypass the first track, “Chuck E’s in Love,” since it was played to death on the radio and MTV. The rest of the record still holds up after all these years, with great arrangements and a stellar cast of musicians, including Dr. John, Tom Scott, Randy Newman, Jeff Pocaro and Neil Larsen, to name just a few.

Bass response is now sorted, there is more midrange palpability and ambience throughout, and the record now reveals a higher degree of low-level detail.  Jones’ voice possesses more decay on all tracks, and those that have frequently listened to this record will notice more nuance from beginning to end.  And, while this album has grooves going almost all the way to the center label, MoFi did a much better job of cutting this copy. The inner-groove distortion creeping in on the label’s original is eliminated, another bonus.  -Jeff Dorgay

Mobile Fidelity, 180g LP