Once again, a perfectly charming pop album that will never grace the commercial airwaves. Too adult for alternative rock, too pure pop for adult alternative, too smart for Top 40. If that weren’t enough, My Long-Haired Life is on a label best-known for bluegrass. Banished to eclectic public radio shows forever.
After collaborating with husband Don Dixon on six full-length albums, Marti Jones has hit a confident groove. Aside from a recent live album, this is Jones’ first album in five years. It reflects on her personal transition during the interim, a period that included motherhood and obvious relationship issues. The songs fit together like a tapestry. The three co-written by Jones and Dixon are woven among eight carefully selected covers.
On the covers, Jones unearths some hidden gems and enhances them with her beautiful, silky voice. Nick Lowe’s “Breaking Glass” is lilting, spunky and percussive. Squeeze’s “Black Coffee In Bed” is a note-for-note match of the original. “Sleep Of The Just” is a smooth, longing, tribute to everything great about Elvis Costello’s songwriting. Aimee Mann’s “Put Me On Top” and Joni Mitchell’s “Songs To Aging Children Come” add to the thematic texture. Most surprising and satisfying are soulful covers of Otis Redding’s “Champagne And Wine” and Joe Tex’s “You Got What It Takes”, the latter a duet with Don Dixon featuring a very funky groove and guitar solo a la Steve Cropper. Jones’ enthusiastic pipes on these songs suggest she should consider doing an album full ’60s soul classics.
And the three originals are more than filler. They hold their own both musically and lyrically, and serve to put the whole of the album in perspective. Jones deserves to be considered in a league with pop iconoclasts such as Sam Phillips, Graham Parker and Mitch Easter. Together they could sit around the table and mourn over lack of airplay, consoled only by the appreciation of a small, dedicated following of pure pop fans.