Unintentionally continuing the theme begun in my previous posting about the power of the human voice to convey emotion I feel I must mention another artist whose work has this power, whose lyrics tell stories of a romantic America, and whose voice is an incredible instrument that runs the gamut from scream to lullaby, speech to sound effect.  The emotion in her vocals can occasionally render the lyrics unintelligible, but no matter.  She haunts me nevertheless.  I refer to Rickie Lee Jones, and one of the songs from her eponymous debut album has become a favourite of late.

My father owned a garage, selling and repairing cars so the imagery she uses in this metaphorical tale of the final opportunity someone has at finding a redemptive relationship is all too familiar.  Trying to find a Texaco station to shoot wasn’t easy, they seem to be few and far between these days, which of course only adds to the layers of meaning.  I found this one at Rainhill off the M62.


A long stretch of headlights
Bends into I-9
Tiptoe into truck stops
And sleepy diesel eyes
Volcanoes rumble in the taxi
And glow in the dark
Camels in the driver’s seat
A slow, easy mark


But you ran out of gas
Down the road a piece
Then the battery went dead
And now the cable won’t reach…


It’s your last chance
To check under the hood
Last chance
She ain’t soundin’ too good,
Your last chance
To trust the man with the star
You’ve found the last chance Texaco


Well, he tried to be Standard
He tries to be Mobil
He tried living in a world
And in a Shell
There was this block-busted blonde
He loved her – free parts and labor
But she broke down and died
She threw all the rods he gave her


But this one ain’t fuel-injected
Her plug’s disconnected
She gets scared and she stalls
She just needs a man, that’s all


It’s her last chance
Her timing’s all wrong
Her last chance
She can’t idle this long
Her last chance
Turn her over and go
Pullin’ out of the last chance Texaco
The last chance

Last Chance Texaco – Rickie Lee Jones



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