Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 10 years old.
First off, I moved the Classics back to releases 10 years or older - not five. David (my cousin) thought 20 years would be better, and maybe I'll get there. I'm just not there yet.
Released in 2002 (oops, guess it is not 10 years. Ok, next month!), My Tidy Doily Dream would be, currently, the last full-length release by Marti Jones.
You might recall me writing about a few local concerts I've seen her perform with her husband, Don Dixon (producer to R.E.M, Smithereens and a host of others). Jones started out as more of an interpretive singer, and picking some incredible song selections along the way. Around her third disk, she started slowly inserting her own writing into the disks - and they were actually quite good.
Her second to last release, My Long Haired Life, was ok, but just ok. Even the songs she picked seemed fair at best. Still, it was better than most releases at the time. She recovered with My Tidy Doily Dream.
Granted, it is not as stellar as her Unsophisticated Time or Match Game (my fave), or Used Guitars (all currently out of print), Dream is still a strong disk.
Jones is the owner of an incredible alto that I don't see replicated anywhere else on radio or in other artists. And while the music is not truly complicated ("Innocent Kiss"), Dixon uses his production skills to still make it complex and yet pure at the same time ("Slave").
Dream is a very cohesive album and not just a collection of songs. If you're looking for a huge variation of style, save maybe for "Celebrity in Exile", you're looking in the wrong place and the wrong artist. Jones works with what she has and she does it well, but studio trickery or radio-friendly song selection (read: disposable) is not her game. Had it been, with her skill, she could have had a career as a pop artist a long time ago. (fun fact: she sang the demo to the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian".)
Like her other disks, this one was produced by Dixon, who also had a hand in the writing. While Dream might not be as creative as her earlier disk of the 80s and 90s, the style and talent are there.
What's great about Dream is that with all of Jones' great back catalog songs, this one now has some of my favourite songs, not just of hers, but that make the bigger list of great songs. I do love "Slave" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Fly", "Once in a While" and "Innocent Kiss", but the best of the best is "Lifeboat". That is one that will make my all-time best songs list.
The rest of the disk is good too. I would highly recommend it. It's on iTunes at least. Most of her back catalog is not. Is this her best disk? No, but it's still better than most anything out there.