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This song is from Rickie Lee Jones' eponymous first album, released in 1979. I bought a copy way back then on the strength of the track 'Coolsville', which I heard somewhere and liked. Although it was never a favorite album of mine, I absolutely loved this one song, "The Last Chance Texaco", and played it to destruction, which of course was an easy thing to do with vinyl.

That was a long time ago. I no longer have any vinyl records at all, and I hadn't heard this album in perhaps 15 years. In fact I'd forgotten all about ever owning it until I came across a CD copy recently and decided, for old time's sake, to give it a listen.

It hardly needs saying that times change, and that some music does not age well. That's how I felt about the first few tracks that I heard: time had been unkind to this music. Disappointed, I skipped ahead to my old favorite, and well, it still sounded good to me — after all, it’s a well structured and well executed song. But I found myself smirking at the lyrics. I had thought them particularly clever in the dim past, but now they seemed to me to be a series of weak plays on the names of gas stations and an overextended engine maintenance metaphor, the sort of thing Morrisey would do for a joke. And when it came to the line, "She just needs a man, that's all", I sort of cringed inside, wondering how she feels about that line now...

...and then, of course, her voice suddenly opens up on the next line, and something raw and jagged and beautiful happens, suddenly there's this almost unbearable honesty in her voice, and she reaches the line, "turn her over and go", and she sucks it all back in on the word "go"... it’s like seeing someone swallow pain... and 15 years closed up to the space of a heartbeat, and I was suddenly on the edge of tears.

True beauty never ages. Oh Rickie.

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