I had my iTunes on “random” in the car the other day, and this song came on….. Last Chance Texaco by Rickie Lee Jones. It had been a while since I had heard it. I was a huge R-L fan in the 80’s. I loved everything she put out. This song is especially clever: putting love & relationships into motor car terms…..


It also brought back a vivid memory I have of the only time I met her.  It was the summer 1979, and her eponymous debut album had just come out.  I was on (my first ever) tour in North America: with the Tom Robinson Band. We were officially classified as a “Punk Band” although I prefer to label us as more of an “Angry Young Man Melodic Rock Band.”  In the USA we were playing mostly smaller venues, and in Chicago we played a fashionable night club in the downtown region.  Such was our popularity here that were were booked for a couple of nights, I believe.

The first night was (apparently) attended by a lot of Chicago’s artistic/intellectual elite.  We were at the end of our show, and about to do our first encore, but I badly needed a towel & a drink, so I dashed back into the dressing room.  There, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, was a familiar figure. I stood in the doorway, transfixed for a moment. “Hi, I’m Rickie!’ she said, in that little-girl-lost way. Knowing I was needed back on stage, I blurted out: “I know!  I love your album!  Wait here, I’ll be back in a few minutes! Don’t leave!” Well, maybe I was a little too insistent, or she simply got an attack of shyness, but when we came blundering back into the dressing room, she was gone. I searched the group of well-wishers and celebrity figures that streamed into the room later, but – she wasn’t there.

We only ever had that brief two-sentence conversation.  But I’ve been a fan for years.  She always had a unique outlook on life, and a great way of telling the story.