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I remember it all very well lookin' back, it was the summer I turned eighteen.
We lived in a one-room rundown shack on the outskirts of New Orleans.
We didn't have money for food or rent, to say the least, we were hard-pressed.
And mama spent every last penny we had to buy me a dancin' dress.
My mama washed and combed and curled my hair, and then she painted my eyes and lips.
And I stepped into a satin dancin' dress that had a slit on the side clean up to my hip.
It was red velvet trimming and it fit me good.
Standin' back from the lookin' glass, there stood a woman where a half-grown kid had stood.
She said, "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
She said, "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
Mama dabbed a little bit of perfume on my neck, then she kissed my cheek.
And then I saw the tears wellin' 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 siad "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 that was talkin', askin' "Mama, what do I do?"
She said, "Just be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy... they'll be nice to you."
She said, "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
"Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down"
"Lord, forgive me for what I do, but if you want out, then it's up to you.
So don't let me down, now, your mama's gonna move you uptown."
Well, that was the last time I saw my ma, when I left that rickety shack.
The welfare people came and took the baby, Mama died, and I ain't been back.
But the wheels of fate had started to turn, and for me, there was no way out.
It wasn't very long 'til I knew exactly what my mama'd been talkin' about.
I knew what I had to do, and I made myself this solemn vow.
That I's gonna be a lady some day, 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 might've been born just plain white trash, but Fancy was my name.
She said, "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
She said, "Here's your one chance Fancy, don't let me down."
It wasn't long after a benevolent man took me in off the streets.
One week later I was pourin' his tea in a five-room hotel suite.
I charmed a king,a congressman, and an occasional aristocrat.
And then I got me a Georgia mansion and an elegant New York townhouse flat, and I ain't done bad.
Now, in this world, there's a lot of self-righteous hypocrites that call me bad.
And criticize mama for turnin' me out, no matter how little we had.
But though I ain't had to worry 'bout nothin' for nigh-on fifteen years, well I can still hear the desperation in my poor mama's voice ringin' in my ears.
"Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
"Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."
"Lord, forgive me for what I do, but if you want out, then it's up to you.
So don't let me down, now, your mama's gonna move you uptown."
Well, I guess she did.

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