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Single Serving 
Song: Hit the Road Jack
Artist: Ray Charles
Reviewed by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT

Phantom Tollbooth readers: To get a flavor of the song Ray Charles planted permanently in our souls, listen to and download (for free) this cover version by yours truly:

Hit the Road, Jack
Dr. BLT
http://www.drblt.net/music/theRoadJack.mp3

The lyrics are exceedingly simple.  The story is simple, and its what weíre not told that makes the story so interesting.  The missing pieces jump start the imagination with hypotheses.

(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
Initially, the lyrics are quoting those very words that sting the soul of the man we end up being sympathetic towards.  Perhaps he has cheated on the woman one too many times.  Perhaps he has been branded a bum for his pervasive indolence.  Perhaps there are a confluence of factors that led the woman in the story to finally become fed up.  In the verse that follows the chorus, we find that the abandoned party ďainít too proud to beg.Ē
old Woman, old woman, don't treat me so mean,
You're the meanest old woman that I've ever seen.
I guess if you said so
I'd have to pack my things and go. (That's right)
The inflections in the voice of Ray Charles, and the passion with which he engages in the song, serves to beg the listener to take his side.  And we do, whether male or female, without hesitation.  
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
The repetition of the chorus accents the determination, and unyielding insistence on the part of the woman who is giving him the pink slip. The abandonee is every bit as insistent on getting the woman he has come to depend on to change her mind
Now baby, listen baby, don't ya treat me this-a way

Cause I'll be back on my feet some day.
(Don't care if you do 'cause it's understood)

(you ain't got no money and you just ain't no good)

Well, I guess if you say so
I'd have to pack my things and go. (That's right)

Still, there is no sign of a change of heart in the woman we are beginning to resent for her cold-hearted, intractable stance:
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
What you say?
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.)
(Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more.)
Well...
As the song continues, the woman appears unmoved, even disgusted with his vehement pleas.  The back and forth begging and rejecting replies continue until it appears the abandonee does just as he was told from the beginning.  He hits the road, and I donít think heíll be coming back no more.

As for Ray Charles...well, though he recently hit the road to heaven, he will keep coming back with all of those timeless, passionately delivered genre-busting ballads that we know and love him for.  

Phantom Tollbooth visitors: Help yourself to this free tribute to the original artist who made this song a timeless classic.

Mr. Charles
Words and music by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT ©2006
http://www.drblt.net/music/Ray.mp3 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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