is the third album by Marti Jones
, released in 1988
Marti Jones' best effort to date, Used Guitars expands on her folk-pop foundations to stretch into soul ("Twisted Vines") and piano ballads (the stunning "Ruby," co-written by Janis Ian). Again, the songs are astutely chosen and feature contributions from John Hiatt, Graham Parker, and Jackie DeShannon; Jones' own compositions, penned with Don Dixon, are especially strong -- the breezy opener "Tourist Town" is a stunner.
Her first solo album, 1985's Unsophisticated Time, was produced by Don Dixon
. Marti covered songs by The dB's, The Bongos, Elvis Costello, and Dixon
. The album featured Anne Richmond Boston (vocalist for The Swimming Pool Q's) and Mitch Easter (guitar; REM
producer and Let's Active frontman).
Marti Jones and Don Dixon married
in 1988, and Dixon produced and wrote songs for all of her subsequent albums.
She recorded two more albums: Match Game (1986) and Used Guitars
(1988) -- featuring a wide range of supporting musicians (including Marshall Crenshaw, Mitch Easter, Paul Carrack, T Bone Burnett). These albums featured original material (written by Dixon, or Dixon and Jones together), and covers of songs by Janis Ian, Elvis Costello, John Hiatt, and Graham Parker. Jones' sound encompassed jangle pop, ballads, and southern-style soul.
Her voice and singing style reminded some observers of Dusty Springfield
, who mined a similarly eclectic field of pop music; others compared her voice to that of Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, or Annie Lennox.
Great Overlooked Albums
It’s not so much a guilty pleasure as a true pleasure and few people probably know about it. MARTI JONES’ “Used Guitars” is a great album that came out in a year (1987), in a decade really, that many argue does not have it’s share of great albums. If you were to have hopped into the Starlet in 1987 you would have had to pop my copy of “Used Guitars” out of the stereo in order to put your “Substance” or “Document” cassette in. I liked it that much! I had just discovered DON DIXON and then found his wife made equally cool indie rock. (Was that even a word then?). This album doesn’t sound like the thin 80’s recordings of the time and the songs (a mix of DIXON/JONES and excellent covers) hold up better than most of my other favorites from this time. It’s chock full of great musicians (MARSHALL CRENSHAW, JAMIE HOOVER, SONNY LANDRETH, MITCH EASTER). It’s worth adding to any collection.