Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

RICKIE LEE JONES

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

2012-09-12

While the Great American Songbook has gotten lots of action from the likes of Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett and others, the Great American Rock Songbook hasn't yet received the same attention. Rickie Lee Jones takes a crack at it here with covers by everyone from the Stones, "Sympathy For the Devil" and "Play with Fire", to Neil Young, "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", to The Band, "The Weight", and Van Morrison, "Comfort You". With her low key, unhurried readings of these classic tracks, Jones escapes the curse of trying but failing to capture the sound and feeling of the originals and, instead, reinvents them enough to allow them to be heard in an entirely new light. The results are a mixed bag with tracks that have always been somewhat low key, such as Morrison's "Comfort Me", simply dragging while numbers that typically rock such as "Sympathy For the Devil" or Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe" reveal sentiments and words that have long been buried beneath the backbeat. Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" gets the straightest reading with Jones successfully channeling the fragility of Young's lyrics. Overall, the disc has a jazzy ambiance that will transport you to a small smoky after hours club where the singer lingers over the words lest the night end too soon with everyone thrust back into the hustle of daylight. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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