Rickie Lee Jones

Girl at Her Volcano

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Rickie Lee Jones released her auspicious self-titled debut album in 1979 and its equally impressive follow-up, Pirates, in 1981. By the spring of 1983, she apparently was not close to having a third full-length collection of all original songs ready, so Girl at Her Volcano appeared instead. The assemblage of live and studio cover songs and original outtakes was pressed up as a 10" vinyl disc containing seven tracks, while the simultaneously issued cassette version boasted one bonus track, a live performance of June Christy's signature song, "Something Cool," recorded in Amsterdam in 1979. This was, then, an EP or a "mini-album"; in any case, it was not to be considered Rickie Lee Jones' third album, but rather a stopgap to give fans something to chew over while waiting. Jones' choice of covers was more interesting for what it said about her tastes and influences than for the performances themselves. While it was nice to have her versions of "Lush Life," "Walk Away Renee," "My Funny Valentine," "Under the Boardwalk," and "Something Cool," she was unlikely to come up with definitive readings of such standards, and she didn't, although she did demonstrate that she had an affinity for jazz and 1960s pop. You could have told that by listening to her regular albums, of course, but she spelled out her antecedents here. Otherwise, there were a couple of songs left off Rickie Lee Jones ("Rainbow Sleeves" and "So Long") and what she pointedly noted was the first song written for Pirates, "Hey, Bub," each of them a moody if minor Rickie Lee Jones number. Given the quality of her first two LPs, Jones certainly was entitled to take some extra time in fashioning her next one, but Girl at Her Volcano made for a tasty snack and a reminder of her abilities.

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