Alison Fensterstock

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Calling Fats Domino an architect of rock and roll almost sounds like faint praise. Indeed, the amiable country boy from the Lower Ninth Ward, with the help of bandleader impresario Dave Bartholomew and one of the world's truly legendary gangs of sidemen, dug the hole and laid the actual foundation.

In South Louisiana, a great deal of formalized effort goes into the preservation and celebration of the state's Francophone culture; food, music, other crafts and folkways, and particularly language.

At 46, Ben Jaffe is almost exactly the same age as Jazz Fest. Like a lot of New Orleans natives, he has memories of the annual event stretching back to childhood, though his experience is a little more rarefied than most. "That's where I got to sit on Fats Domino's lap and then hear him play," he says. "It's where I heard Allen Toussaint play for the first time as a child.

As part of NPR Music's Turning the Tables, we are looking closely at some of the albums on our list of the 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women. Today's feature is Pirates, the second album by Rickie Lee Jones. She will perform the album in full at Lincoln Center Out of Doors on Wednesday, July 26.


The pirates first announced themselves to Rickie Lee Jones in New Orleans, in the fall of 1979, with a delivery of mysterious gifts.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.