Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Best Lyrics Ever

When I visit Indiana, I always end up listening to country music on the car radio. I don't know why. It just seems fitting.

I heard this gem sung by Reba McIntire and just about chewed the steering wheel off in my frenzied delight. It was written by Bobbi Gentry (Same person who wrote "Ode to Billie Joe." Anybody remember that?) and has the most deliciously cheesy lyrics in the history of country music. I've highlighted my favorite parts.

If you know of any worse/more scrumptious country lyrics, please tell me.


Well, I remember it all very well lookin' back
It was the summer that I turned eighteen.
We lived in a one-room, run down shack
on the outskirts of New Orleans.

We didn't have money for food or rent
to say the least we was hard-pressed
when Momma spent every last penny we had
to buy me a dancin' dress.

Well, Momma washed and combed and curled my hair,
then she painted my eyes and lips.
Then I stepped into the satin dancin' dress.
It had a split in the side clean up to my hips.

It was red, velvet-trimmed, and it fit me good
and standin' back from the lookin' glass
was a woman
where a half grown kid had stood.

She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!
Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
God forgive me for what I do,
but if you want out girl it's up to you.
Now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

Momma dabbed a little bit of perfume
on my neck and she kissed my cheek
Then I saw the tears welling up
in her troubled eyes as she started to speak

She looked at our pitiful shack and then
she looked at me and took a ragged breath
She said, Your Pa's runned off, and I'm real sick
and the baby's gonna starve to death.

She handed me a heart-shaped locket that said
"To thine own self be true"
and I shivered as I watched a roach crawl across
the toe of my high-heeled shoe

It sounded like somebody else was talkin'
askin', "Momma what do I do?"
She said, "Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy.
They'll be nice to you."

She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!
Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
God forgive me for what I do,
But if you want out girl it's up to you
Now don't let me down,
now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

That was the last time I saw my momma
when I left that rickety shack
The welfare people came and took the baby.
Momma died and I ain't been back.

But the wheels of fate had started to turn
and for me there was no other way out.
It wasn't very long after that I knew exactly
what my momma was talkin' 'bout.

I knew what I had to do.
Then I made myself this solemn vow:
I's gonna to be a lady someday
though I didn't know when or how.

But I couldn't see spendin' the rest of my life
with my head hung down in shame.
You know I mighta been born just plain white trash.
but Fancy was my name.

She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!
Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
God forgive me for what I do,
but if you want out girl it's up to you.
Now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."

Wasn't long after that a benevolent man
took me in off the streets
One week later I was pourin' his tea
in a five roomed penthouse suite.

Since then I've charmed a king, a congressman
and an occasional aristocrat
and I got me an elegant Georgia mansion
and a New York townhouse flat.

Now I ain't done bad

Now in this world there's a lot of self-righteous
hypocrites who call me bad.
They criticize Momma for turning me out
No matter how little we had.

But I haven't had to worry 'bout nothin'
now for nigh on fifteen years
But I can still hear the desperation
in my poor mommas voice ringin' in my ears.

"Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!
Oh, here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
God forgive me for what I do,
but if you want out girl it's up to you.
Now get on out, you better start sleepin' uptown."


  • At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh yeah! I've heard that song before! Great. Now I'll have that stuck in my head the rest of the night.

    Why do you do this to me, Candy?

  • At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So I was just thinking how funny it is that the last post was about your mom calling you queer for not liking mayonnaise....and this song is about a girl's mom advising her to turn tricks. And as you can see, Fancy really led a great life because she LISTENED TO HER MOMMA! Just imagine how much better *your* life would be if you would just EAT THE DAMNED MAYONNAISE!

    Listen to your momma, Candy. Don't let her down.

  • At 7:51 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    HAAAA! You're RIGHT! The whole "momma" thing has come back to haunt me.

    I bet Fancy only ate fancy condiments. Like that grey poop-on stuff.

    Also, happy birthday, Futuresis! You, the new owner of a puppy, who is still a puppy herself.

  • At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Reba is SO not the first person to sing that. Unfortunately, I remember the original, though not the artist's name (a function, I'm told, of uncontrollable chemicals).


    (Scout's mom, not the other one)

  • At 8:10 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    lol. whoa. the saddest part is that the song's gotta be true for more than one person, cheese and corn or not. I'm glad you shared. = ]

    ps: listen to futuresis.

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    E., I knew it had to be pretty old if Bobbi Gentry wrote it! I'll have to look up the even twangier versions of it!

    I think the band who did the punk version may have been called "Uncontrollable Chemicals!"

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Citlali, I can't take your advice. You're on the wrong side of the Mayo Fence. :)

  • At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks, Candy! (Although, I sure don't feel like a puppy anymore!)And I think you're right. I think Fancy ate that grey poop-on by the vat. But with one of those little demitasse spoons. Because she was fancy. And I'll bet she also ate fancy catsup. Not "ketchup" like the rest of us poor slobs.

    You know what else I just thought of? Well, two things, actually. First, I have never heard of a high society lady named "Fancy." So her idea of living up to her name actually shouldn't have led her any further than a trailer park. Not that there is anything wrong with living in a trailer park. I'm just saying...."Fancy" isn't exactly a name that you hear often associated with the wealthy. But then again, I don't associate with the wealthy, so maybe I don't know what I am talking about.

    And second, I remember that when my daughters were little, if I wanted them to try a new food, or re-try one that they previously rejected, I would tell them that it was a "fancy" whatever. For instance, "Oh, well I know you don't normally like carrots, but these are *fancy* carrots." Or, "Here. Have some *fancy* roast. It's special." It's amazing how much more attractive you can make just about anything if you stick the word "fancy" in front of it.

    Here, Candy, have some of this *fancy* pork.

    (Did it work?)

  • At 9:49 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Actually laughing out loud here, futuresis.

    You are so right.

    You're like, totally a social anthropologist and you don't even know it.

    Fancy Pork? She dances at the club down the street on "Full Figure Night."

  • At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fancy Pork!!! Full-figure night!!!! I'm dying here! I'll make a sketch for you.

    Okay, this song is really bugging me. I mean, I'm sure that being from a low-income family that Fancy would have been eligible for some sort of tuition assistance. Why didn't her momma tell her to apply for a student loan and get an education? Or, she could have joined the Armed Forces and taken advantage of the educational opportunities and seen the world.

    I suppose neither would make a very good country song....

    She said, "Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down!
    Here's your last chance, Fancy, don't let me down.
    God forgive me for what I do,
    but if you want out girl it's up to you.
    Now apply for a Pell Grant
    and get a degree,
    over at the uni-vers-itee...."


    "Go see the recruiter and enlist to serve your country. Yes, I think you'd do well in the Navy...."

    Now I have The Village People stuck in my head.

    Anyway, I guess once a roach crawls across your high-heeled shoe, a sense of desperation probably sets in and you just look for the quickes fix to your situation. Much less paperwork, being a hooker.

  • At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    futuresis, I thought you meant to type "quickies" there, which would have worked well too.

  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I'm starting to piece this all together, Futuresis.

    You were in the military.

    You like purty high heeled shoes.

    You have delved quite deeply into the "story" of Fancy and how she could've parlayed the military stint into a bright future.

    This is like one of those "Really, I need the pregnancy test for my FRIEND."


    I knew it! Except for the full figure part.

    Come out of the closet.

  • At 3:51 PM, Blogger Jenni said…

    Once again, these comments have me rolling on the floor more so than the lyrics to this song.

    Although the lyrics frightened me more than just a little bit. I'm such a sheltered young thang.

    What I really want to know is, why is this song so damn LONG?

  • At 4:06 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jenni, I think that must be a country music trait: Pound the ungodly long, sad story into the brainwaves of the listener long enough for them to:

    1. Finish a 40 oz.

    2. Then not to care so much about tragedies like Fancy's anymore. They can go back to pettin' their three-legged dog out back of the trailer.

  • At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I could never get anything past you, Candy. Yes, I am Fancy. I confess. I am ashamed that I took Momma's advice for so many years before writing to Dear Abby and getting some REAL advice. Of course, it was hard, taking the pay cut. Prostitution really pays much better. And my work week was much shorter. WHY did I enlist?

  • At 11:11 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Awww, futuresis, you know you can't hide your true identity from me.

    Remember that time you went into the Witness Protection Program and moved to Dubuque and started working at the Jiffy Lube, posing as a small Asian man? I found you even then.

  • At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So true. What were the odds that you would just so happen to be passing through Dubuque when you hit that 3,000 mile mark? And that you chose MY Jiffy Lube was even more incredible. I mean, there's an oil change joint on every corner! But nevertheless, you saw right through my Mr. Yin Cho disguise. I never did find out: What gave me away?

  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Simple: It was your very poor pronounciation when you suggested I go to the diner next door and get some "flied lice for runch."

  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger Monique in TX said…

    The lyrics to the *quintessential" Country song can be found here:

    It has all the required elements.

  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Wow, Monique! That one even has Jesus and the Final Judgment Day in it.
    Country is so much better when there's a little gospel tossed in.

  • At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Fancy" is OK--reminds me a bit of Keats' Ode to Melancholy" with just a little whiff of "J. Alfred Prufrock."

    But for the real tragic sense of life, well--listen to this:
    Everytime I come to town,
    The boys all kick my dog around.
    Now I don't care if he is a hound,
    They gotta stop kickin' my dog around."

    Plaintiff? You bet! Could be sung by just about anyone I suppose--Hank Williams, Jr. comes to mind--but I really'd like to see Placido Domingo do it in the original Italian, with a full orchestral score. Wouldn't be a dry eye in the place.

  • At 5:04 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Forget the music, Tony! You've got the name of the Next Big Thing in perfume:

    "A Little Whiff of Prufrock"

    That there is some FANCY toilet water.

  • At 7:25 PM, Blogger prairie biker said…

    I guessin by all the cool stuff she made off with, she didn't really do much "sleepin" uptown. Those must have been some really fancy happy endings.

  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Poor Fancy didn't have no choice, PB. And she probably had to wear a change belt over that nice dress.

    That can totally ruin an ensemble.


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