Rickie Lee Jones – It’s Like This – Analogue Productions

by | Jul 15, 2008 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Rickie Lee Jones – It’s Like This – Analogue Productions CAPW 51056 SA–Stereo SACD, 38 min. **** [Distr. by Acoustic Sounds]:

Rickie Lee Jones released a series of albums of mainly cover tunes over about a ten-year period that Started with the classic EP Girl At Her Volcano and included the equally classic Pop-Pop and the source of this SACD reissue, 2000’s It’s Like This. In a very similar vein to those other highly regarded albums, the disc highlights an eclectic mixture of Rickie Lee’s unique stylings and re-imaginings of pop, rock and Tin Pan Alley classics. The songs receive the usual (for Rickie Lee Jones) sparse arrangements and accompaniment; paring everything down to the basics only seems to increase the individual songs’ effectiveness. Kevin Gray handled the all-analog remastering of this one for Acoustech, and the resulting SACD disc offers these classic recordings in the closest to analog sound your going to find with digital source material.

The album opens with the Becker/Fagen classic observation on Hollywood and fame, “Show Biz Kids;” the acoustic bass line is just stunning, and Joe Jackson sits in to add piano and an accompanying vocal that help lift the song to an even higher level. Jackson also adds piano on the Lennon/McCartney chestnut “For No One,” and Rickie Lee exercises her singular talent here for taking an often covered tune, elevating it and making it her own. She does the same thing with the standards “Smile,” “On The Street Where You Live” and “Someone To Watch Over Me;” all of these songs are very much in the vein she established with Pop-Pop, but the pared down presentations here really help these songs to stand out. She works similar magic with Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man,” and her darkly-hued take on Traffic’s “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” is for me, one of the album’s many high points.

The sound quality is very, very good; this may not be an absolute audiophile classic, but it does offer an exceptionally analog-sounding presentation of performers occupying a very realistic space, and Rickie Lee’s voice comes across with absolute clarity. The SACD layer is miles beyond the Red Book CD layer in terms of resolution, clarity and dynamic impact. My only real caveat with this otherwise excellent disc (and the only thing keeping it from getting five stars) is the rather skimpy 38-minute playing time. But when the sounds are this good, why complain? Highly recommended.

TrackList:
Show Biz Kids; Trouble Man; For No One; Smile; Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys; On The Street Where You Live; I Can’t Get Started; Up A Lazy River; Someone To Watch Over Me; Cycles; One Hand, One Heart.

— Tom Gibb

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