♫ Me & Bobby McGee ♫

Me_and_Bobby_McGee_-_Janis_JoplinI know I just played this one in July of 2021, but tonight as I seethe over the latest mass shootings and the uncaring attitude of our elected officials, this one is stuck in my head.  Why?  Well, we are told over and over and over again, ad nauseam, that the daily mass shootings, the murders of our children at school, and of friends and family in the grocery store, churches, and street corners are “the price of freedom”.  When I hear that, I automatically think of one line in particular in this song … “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  WHOSE freedom is valued more highly than the life of a child?  Not mine, certainly.  I don’t usually use my music posts to make a statement, but sometimes I do and tonight I am seething by the uncaring of people who are paid top dollar to care about us, but care more for their bank accounts.  I am enraged by the John Does of this nation who stupidly believe that owning a gun is their “right” and that it somehow makes them “safer”.  Yes, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, and in the U.S. today, we are hitting rock bottom when it comes to humanity.

Written by Kris Kristofferson and songwriter Fred Foster, it was originally sung by Roger Miller.  Often misinterpreted as a love song for Janis Joplin, the real inspiration behind Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ was his producer and co-writer Fred Foster and a young secretary named Barbara McKee. Joplin’s version was released after her death from a heroin overdose in 1970.  The song has been recorded by many since, including Waylon Jennings, Grateful Dead, Kristofferson himself, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Gordon Lightfoot, and Miranda Lambert.  But in my mind, none do it justice so well as Janis Joplin.

Me and Bobby McGee
Janis Joplin

Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin’ for a train
And I’s feelin’ near as faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbed a diesel down, just before it rained
It rode us all the way to New Orleans

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
I was playin’ soft while Bobby sang the blues, yeah
Windshield wipers slappin’ time, I was holdin’ Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew

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 he sang the blues
You know, feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

From the Kentucky coal mine to the California sun
There Bobby shared the secrets of my soul
Through all kinds of weather, through everything we done
Yeah, Bobby baby kept me from the cold

One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away
He’s lookin’ for that home, and I hope he finds it
But, I’d trade all of my tomorrows, for a single yesterday
To be holdin’ Bobby’s body next to mine

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’, that’s all that Bobby left me, yeah
But, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
Hey, feelin’ good was good enough for me, mm-hmm
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

La da da
La da da da
La da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da
Bobby McGee, yeah

La da da da da da da
La da da da da da da
La da da da da da da
Bobby McGee, yeah

La da La la da da la da da la da da
La da da da da da da da da
Hey, my Bobby
Oh, my Bobby McGee, yeah

La la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
Hey, my Bobby
Oh, my Bobby McGee, yeah

Well, I call him my lover, call him my man
I said, I call him my lover did the best I can, c’mon
Hey now, Bobby now
Hey now, Bobby McGee, yeah

La da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la la
Hey, hey, hey Bobby McGee, yeah
La da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la da, la
Hey, hey, hey, Bobby McGee, yeah

Songwriters: Fred L Foster / Kris Kristofferson
Me and Bobby McGee lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

24 thoughts on “♫ Me & Bobby McGee ♫

  1. Thank you for playing some Janis, Jill. You made my day.
    But you made me want to hear some Kris Kristofferson, so I am giving you my favourite Kristofferson song. You probably cannot relate to it, but it says for me the exact way I felt the day after a night of tripping. For me, “coming down” defined that feeling like no other…

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  2. Jill, there is only one like Janis. This is a terrific song, but she had several great ones. Seeing her live on the Dick Cavett show where she sang so forcefully she was out of breath when Cavett tried to talk with her. We saw a tribute concert to Joplin where the lead singer stayed in character throughout. It was quite the thrill.

    I remember from the concert she had singers who acted out her various influences – Nina Simone, Bessie Smith and Aretha Franklin. Plus she and her mother would sing show tunes while they cleaned the house every Saturday.

    She died way too early. What a talent. Keith

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    • PS – Take a listen to these song versions:
      – Piece of my heart
      – Cry baby
      – Move over
      – Summertime from Porgy and Bess
      She was the real deal. Keith

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      • Cry Baby is my very top favourite of hers, Keith, but her rendition of Ball and Chain as sung at Monterey Pop Festival is unforgettable.
        Clive complains about her voice, but to me she is the best female blues/rock singer ever to grace this world. Yes, she died too early, but we all knew she would. She gave every performance her all, and she never held anything back. I saw her in Winnipeg and cried when her performance ended. This world was never good enough to her!

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          • As am I, Keith. It was supposed to be an outdoor concert in the afternoon, but the weather did not cooperate. The concert was moved inside the Winnipeg Arena, which was the largest available indoor site in Winnipeg. It took hours before the equipment was all moved, But Winnipegers are persistent, and very few went home. There were about ten acts slated to play, including The Ides of March (who stole the show), Iron Butterfly (who bombed), Led Zeppelin before they took off, and others I don’t remember anymore (maybe the Blues Magoos, but I think that was a different concert). But Janis was the main act, and she did not disappoint. She started 5 hours later than scheduled, but that didn’t phaze her one bit. She thanked the audience for sticking around to see her, and then sne blew the top off the arena.
            (My memory might be somewhat faulty on details after all this time, but that’s okay. It was still one of the best days of my life.)

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    • Wow! It sounds like she really put on a great show! Yes indeed, another one who died far too soon … we can only imagine what great music she might have contributed had she lived, but nonetheless, she left a legacy.


      • So true. There were too many that died young in that era, many at age 27, as if it was a ceiling age. Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Cass Elliott, Jim Croce, Tami Tyrell, Otis Redding, Harry Chapin, Marvin Gaye just to name a few. Keith

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  3. I recognized Janis Joplin only when she had already died but this song and “Mercedes Benz” are classics that have a very special spirit about them. I think they mirrored the time so well. I love the underlying country style of this song which makes it such a cool song to listen to in the car on a longer trip. Thank you for sharing, Jill!

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  4. Pingback: ♫ Me & Bobby McGee ♫ | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  5. Never been a Janis Joplin fan – couldn’t stand her screeching and shouting style. This is one of the few of hers that I can bear to listen to – but I prefer Kris’ own version 😊

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