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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Pirates [VINYL]
Format: Vinyl|Change
Price:£96.02+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 17 August 2017
The 2nd best Rickie Lee Jones' album only bettered by her debut though its a close thing ! . This contains 3 of my all time favourite songs - We Belong Together, Living It Up & Lucky Guy (100/100) the sprawling Traces of the Western Slopes is also amazing (90/100). It really is a brilliant album Pirates and Woody & Dutch are great (85/1000 and Skeletons and The Returns are both good (80/100). Quality always floats to the top and this album is right up there.
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on 27 October 2017
super vinyl
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on 2 September 2002
This is an amazing l.p. The songs resemble 'suites' rather than verse/chorus - rather like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or Roy Harper at his best. Some of the changes are breathtaking. It is quite a sad l.p. but, like all good sad l.ps it takes us through the experience and leaves us better off for having taken the journey. The melodies are beautiful and the arrangements are very brave and incredibly rewarding.
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on 30 December 2003
Rickie Lee Jones' eponymous debut album hit the streets in 1979 and immediately established her as a main contender to steal the crown of Joni Mitchell. Her unique phrasing, offbeat style and perfectly savvy compositional skills confirmed her as an artist to watch out for.
Indeed, Jones was nominated for a clutch of Grammy Awards, and at the 1980 ceremony picked up Best New Artist. However, she would not be pushed into making a rushed follow-up.
Instead, she took more than two years to deliver PIRATES, her second album. But the wait was more than worth it, and when it appeared in the summer of 1981, it was a breath of fresh air when the hits of the day came from post-punk rebels, New Wave pretenders and the invasion of the New Romantics.
PIRATES is undoubtedly one of the essential Rickie Lee Jones albums, if not THE essential Jones album. It appears to be short, with only eight songs, but they all act almost as musical suites. The work is not easily accessible like her sultry jazz-pop debut, but she sounds so confident and professional you are sure to be entranced.
Her vocals are obviously an acquired taste, and when she launches into unstoppable Beat rap on "We Belong Together" or the squeals of "Traces of the Western Slopes," it can be a little disconcerting on first listen.
But as you play PIRATES more and more, its magic works on you and it is truly a classic album to have in your collection (see the five-star Rolling Stone review). Jones uses piano here more than on her debut, as on the beautiful "We Belong Together," which changes pace from waltz to bopping jazz funk in an instant.
She reprises the mellow, subdued sound of "Company" and "After Hours" (from her debut) on "The Returns" (strikingly similar to "After Hours"), and "Skeletons" is a simply heartbreaking tale of murder for mistaken identity.
"A Lucky Guy" is probably the easiest composition to take, with its recurring drowsy piano line and slow, slurry melody (indeed, it was the album's only mainstream hit single). "Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue)" is also a brilliant tune, changing from funky bebop to slow singer/songwriter ode and back again, and the epic eight-minute "Traces of the Western Slopes" displays her talent at long musical suites with plenty of tempo changes and shifts in mood.
The real standout here, however, is "Living it Up," quite possibly the finest tune of her entire career. It has as many tempo changes as you can think of, but the multiple hooks and forlorn piano melodies are beguiling, and it is one of Rickie's best vocal performances.
A lot of the tempo changes here owe a lot to Laura Nyro, an artist Rickie herself acknowledges as a favourite, but the daring compositional skills Rickie employs here are all her own. PIRATES is one of the most individual and rewarding records of all time, and you can never tire of its dazzling storytelling vibe and dark imagery. It is simply a masterpiece, and deserves to be on those fabled '100 Greatest Albums of All Time' lists. It established Rickie Lee Jones as a formidable artist, and she continues to be one of the most visionary composers of our time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 20 September 2011
I first discovered "Pirates" over 20 years ago. At the time, it sounded like nothing else I'd ever heard - achingly beautiful songs of loss and longing, in one of the most unique voices in music. As a student, I spent countless evenings sitting with it turned up loud in a darkened room. Since then I've explored all the rest of Rickie Lee Jones' catalogue, and while she has recorded other excellent pieces of music, "Pirates" is the high point of her career by miles.

When I saw that this was available on SACD, I didn't hesitate to order it. This is the only stereo SACD I own - everything else I have bought to hear surround mixes, but with this, I wanted to hear just how good "Pirates" could sound. And I wasn't disappointed...

The normal CD doesn't sound bad, but the SACD is noticeably better - the bass and vocals, in particular, are much clearer. Bear in mind I've listened to this album hundreds, if not thousands of times, over the last 20 years, and yet on the first playback of the SACD, I noticed I'd been mishearing a lyric for all that time - the SACD really brings Ricki Lee's voice into the room with you.

If you've never heard "Pirates", buy the CD immediately! If you already know and love it, and have a decent system with an SACD player, this version is well worth the money.
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on 6 January 2000
Pirates is a cinematic musical landscape of life and lost loves from an artist at the peak of her powers. At its best it can fill you with joy, or make you feel like weeping, sometimes both at the same time. The genre of American singer/songwriter is one I generally hate, but Pirates is just so good that it transcends musical barriers. Just let the soaring melodies and the bittersweet songs carry you away!
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on 18 May 2014
I first heard this in 1982 and was instantly captured from the very opening bars of the first track. Listening to this album is an experience that should savoured, and repeated on a regular basis. I have perhaps five or six albums in my 50 years of life that I know I will never tire of hearing. This is very much one of those. Each track is beautiful in its own right, but listening to the whole album creates an experience of more than the sum of its parts. You will be drawn in by the music, lyrics, and Rickie Lee's voice, to a world of joy, sadness, melancholy, and sheer beauty, the likes of which will never be matched.

I was not a particular fan of Rickie Lee Jones before I heard this album. Like most people I was only familiar with Chuck E's in Love. That's why everyone should listen to this albu!m once in their life.....beauty like this should be shared!!!
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on 8 May 2004
You simply cannot go wrong at this price. This record is like nothing else and comparisons would be pointless but I am a longtime Joni fan who chanced on this late in life and, other than the incomparable J.M. (siquomb) I have never been so entranced. Each song seems to cast its own magical spell and because the mood changes are so frequent and convincing the whole is much greater than the sum of its not inconsiderable parts. Great writing, great playing, great singing and - above all - great feeling. Just buy it.
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on 22 March 2014
I don't know how many CDs I have, somewhere between one and two thousand I guess. Being a nerd, I often rate them track by track in my media player. Only three times have I rated every track on an album at five stars, Blue Valentine and Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits, and this one. Oddly, back in the 70's, Tom Waits and RLJ were an item, so there's a thing.
Her eponymous first album was also stunning, and contains two songs that will break your heart, 'Last Chance Texaco', and 'Coolsville'. My biggest regret is missing an opportunity to see Rickie live in Birmingham a couple of years back. I found out the day after the gig.
In music, all is subjective, but in my opinion, whether you consider the songs or the performance, this is a totally brilliant record.
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on 28 October 2011
If you want an excursion into one of the greatest female singer-songwriter collections, then get this. Rickie's debut album was superb and set the bar for any folow-up very high - yet Pirates exceeds all expectations. What is incredible here is the simple range and beauty of the contents, from the tenderness of We Belong Together and Skeletons, to the jazz-boogie of Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking, and everything in-between like the gorgeous title-track. One great track follows another, with no waste. Shame Rickie was never able to match this standard again. By the way, if you love this then investigate some Laura Nyro - her early stuff provides much of the influence for this album.
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