Wednesday, 17 June 2009

If My Car Could Only Talk

I'm not gonna try to cover all of Lou Christie's hits here, just touch on two of my very favourites, which I happen to have been singing along with recently. Darn it if you don't find yourself doing the same, perhaps not with Cryin In The Streets, which might be an acquired taste for some, but surely the glorious tones of If My Car Could Only Talk will shake your vocal cords into action?.

I've had three Lou Christie singles for thirty years now, which is an alarming thought; and repeated listens to crackly old vinyl have cemented some mis-heard lyrics in my head - "... Since I've been home, I've found ornaments of a love affair..." rather than evidence for example, although actually I much prefer the former, it's a great, if imagined line, which deserves a poem or lyric all of its own.... Ornaments Of a Love Affair - what a fine set of words, I should make something of it, who wants to buy a band-name?.

I count If My Car as a story song too, even if more in the mental images it produces, than lengthy lyrics portraying a series of events. I can see him there, in uniform at the station, E-type Jag gleaming, seeds of doubt sown by a surprised look & more from Sarah Jane.

If My Car Could Only Talk - Lou Christie
If My Car Could Only Talk/ Song Of Lita (7" single - July 1966 on MGM - produced/arranged by Jack Nitzsche)

She met me at the station 'cause I'm coming home on my leave
I let her use my XKE cause she could drive around & think of me
Baby I'm home, you look surprised, it's written on your face
Where's the old crowd? Do they still hang out at the pizza place?
A flash of suspicion, you learned a new way of kissin'

(Watch your step, Sarah Jane, he'll catch you yet) Sarah Jane
(Watch your step Sarah Jane he'll catch you yet)
Sarah Jane, if my car could only talk to me
If my car could only talk to me
It would tell me ‘bout you baby
(Where you are, baby)

When I cleaned my car I found pictures from the penny arcade
In my ashtray
Underneath the seat I found a cigarette lighter
Engraved "Love, your baby Sarah Jane"
Since I've been home, I found evidence of a love affair
Tickets to the drive-in show; a fool but once, this I swear
Don't make excuses & cry; I can't stand girls that lie


(These eyes, these eyes, these eyes these eyes)

So, to red, white & blue
I spent my leave finding out that we were through
Breakin' up is so hard to do
Walk away before I start crying too
Baby, I'm gone

Don't be put off by the start of this one - it picks up big time in my opinion, although I'm sure the horns weren't so prominent on vinyl -I must dig out the 45's & see if memory serves me well.
Cryin' In The Streets - Lou Christie
Lightnin' Strikes / Cryin' In The Streets (7" single - 1965 on MGM)

Now if this ain't one of the oddest promo videos around at the time - umm, I'm very much mistaken.

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