Rickie Lee Jones has been on the edge of my vision for most of my life. She scored a massive hit with "Chuck E's in Love" off her first album and received occasional airplay and award nominations over the following decades. Her duet with Dr. John performing "Makin' Whoopie" has always been one of my favourites.

But I knew very little about her. I became curious after I saw Rickie in concert last month, so I picked up her autobiography "Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of An American Troubadour," which tells Ms. Jones's story from her childhood to the beginning of her successful recording career.

Rickie Lee grew up in a troubled home. She was raised primarily by her orphaned mother; her father drank; her brother lost his leg in a motorcycle accident; the family moved frequently; authorities removed her sister from the home; and her parents divorced. Rickie ran away multiple times, living on the road in Arizona, California, and Mexico. As a young adult, she wrote songs and sang until she received her big break with her breakthrough debut album.

When fame arrived, her rise was meteoric. Within two years, Jones received four Grammy nominations, recorded what many credit as the first music video, appeared on Saturday Night Live, and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine twice!

Rickie tells of her numerous liaisons with men in and out of the music industry, including the times she lived with Lloyd George and Dr. John. But her most intense relationship was an on-and-off affair with singer Tom Waits. She talks of her battle to recover from heroin addiction and of her struggle to deal with the rise and fall of her fame, both of which occurred with startling speed. She talks about reconciling with her parents near the end of their lives.

She puts the same lyrical talent into her prose that she puts into the stories of her songs. The book's title comes from a song on Rickie Lee's first album - a song about struggles while traveling as a metaphor for struggles with life's journey. "Last Chance Texaco" is a story of a rollercoaster life, told with the passion of a woman who lived it fully. Jones tells it with honesty and vulnerability.