September 17, 1990 12:00 PM

Willi Jones

Put Jones somewhere on the pop-rock continuum, between the ethereal, above-it-all Edie Brickell and the impassioned, bluesy Melissa Etheridge. Just put her there.

A 30-year-old who was born in Rhode Island and grew up in a nomadic military family (her father was a Navy captain), Jones flaunts her versatility—with abandon—on this debut album. She sings the peculiar urbanologist’s lament “Where My City Stood,” with the backing of only the tune’s composer, John Glover (not the actor) on guitar and vocals. She duets with that walking blues institution, Willie Dixon, on “Long Legged Goddess,” a gritty, funny call-response tune the two of them wrote with David Batteau and Darrell Brown.

She goes entertainingly countryish on her own “Southern Hospitality” (“You think we’re blind, ya’ll, behind the times because we talk so slow/ But you don’t know what we all know”). And she goes all intemperate and botherable on “Love Me Up.”

The album, mostly produced by Niko Bolas (Etheridge), is not overflowing with warmth, a quality that’s at something of a premium these days. It’s long on sizzle and smarts, though, and they’re not overflowing the place either. For those of us who hadn’t met Miss Jones before, this is a promising introduction. (Geffen)

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