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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Freedom Ain't Ever Free

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
Nothin', don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free, no no
And, feelin' good was easy, Lord, when she sang the blues
You know, feelin' good was good enough for me"

Kris Kristofferson (By way of my girl Janis)

Must be the week for songs by Kristofferson. It's raining hard again and it just seems right. Ms. Joplin covered that tune for me a lot of years ago and it's still one that gets right down to where I live. 

I'm still here but Janis burned out back in '70 when her friends left her lonely in a hotel room with nothing and nobody to talk to but heroin and a bottle. I remember listening to her ripping out her voice and pouring out her soul on some scratchy vinyl when I was a kid. Her voice was as raw as a rusty saw blade and she sang like she'd dipped her toes in Hell just long enough to bring the fire back with her. I was only about 12 but something crackled out of the old Wards Airline console, took hold and stayed along for the ride.

All these decades later, and so much further along the road, she still sings it straight to my heart. 

"One day up near Salinas Lord, I let her slip away
She's looking for that home and I hope she finds it" 

A song means something when it works its way into your life over and over again. When it never fades to black like so many other things do, like so many people do...you know it's something that will never stop being your own. And you know it'll always bleed where it touches you. 

So Janis...thanks for the 27 years you gave us. And for that one song you tore out of your heart and tucked in mine. 

I'm still "...waitin' for a train and I's feelin' near as faded as my jeans" after all these long years. Guess maybe that's how it goes.

"Windshield wipers slappin' time..."


4 comments:

tim joe comstock said...

we played that record until the grooves wore out. As a carpenter we always have music on the job. And I am continually amazed that even today we are listening to the same songs we were listening to when I started out in the trades around 1973.

But then again, I too have been busted flat in Baton Rouge (building an Outback) and once found myself stranded in Salinas. I was hitchhiking through and a trucker picked me up. I ended up loading his rig with fresh picked artichokes and got a fistful of dollars and a ride to Santa Cruz.

So there ya go.

It is good to have you back Wayward. Your writing is as good as ever...maybe better, in fact. What have you been reading?

tj

Wayward Son said...

Hey TJ - There's a few songs in my head that never go away...and a few I never want to hear again. I heard a lot of them on an AM radio bolted to a tractor fender turned up as loud as it would go. It wasn't windshield wipers keeping time but the sound of 'Delta Dawn' still makes me itch from field dust and smell dry oat straw. Funny how that works...

I'm not reading much except history these days. Guess I'm really getting old.

My bike misses me.

WW

Brian in VA said...

I, too, wore out a bunch of Janis' vinyl back in the day. It's amazing to me how music immediately takes me back to the time, place, and people that are associated with the song.

Good to see you two!

Wayward Son said...

Music is pretty cool like that Brian. A song sometimes is like a photograph...it might be old and scratchy but the picture is still there.

BTW...Hope Matthew left you high and dry!

WW